Elon MuskEnlarge Photo
It's no secret Tesla CEO Elon Musk is a pretty ambitious guy who likes to look to the future, and his latest prediction keeps pace with those of the past.
In only two years, Musk believes, fully self-driving cars will be on the road. Musk made the prediction during a recent TED talk where he also divulged details on a Tesla semi-trailer truck as well as plans for his new startup, The Boring Company, according to The Drive.
Two years away certainly isn't far, but Musk thinks that's enough time to get the software in place to enable fully self-driving cars. You'll recall that Tesla's cars are already equipped with all the necessary hardware. Thus, Tesla could create a "Level 5" self-driving car without actually upgrading the existing cameras, radar, and sensors.
Tesla AutopilotEnlarge Photo
If Musk's vision comes true, drivers would effectively become passengers in 2019 and could be confident in knowing the vehicle could manage all duties human drivers are currently responsible for when piloting a car. It's a stark contrast to conventional automakers' thoughts, which peg fully driverless cars to arrive in five years or more. Even then, the technology may be limited to ride-sharing services until consumers cozy up to the idea of letting the car do the driving.
There's also one other major factor in Musk's timeline: regulations. States currently don't hold to one set of standards regarding driverless cars. Some states have given autonomous vehicles free rein, while others require that autonomous cars must be supervised by state police like in New York. By 2019, no one knows if the federal government will have stitched together cohesive standards for driverless vehicles to travel across the U.S.
And there are still quite a few kinks to be ironed out with driverless cars. There's no denying the technology has come a long way, but a handful of Autopilot accidents and hiccups keep many pessimistic about when the perfect autonomous vehicle will actually arrive.