At the recent World Energy Innovation Forum (WEIF), Tesla CEO Elon Musk said:
“Half of all cars produced in seven or eight years will be fully autonomous.”
This info was Tweeted out by Arcimoto, a new start up that premiered a three-wheeled car at the recent New York Auto Show.
There is no doubt of the future of autonomous technology. It is dominating auto news these days. The only questions lie in “when” and “what level”?
The WEIF event actually happened at the Tesla Factory in Fremont, CA, with Musk himself as the host. It was said to be a meeting for
“Who’s-who in the energy innovation sector to discuss the important energy issues and opportunities of our time.”
Tesla is already becoming a major player in vehicle autonomy. Its Autopilot mode is currently a Level 2 system with Level 3 capabilities. Musk has said that the upcoming Model 3 will have fully autonomous features, and by the fourth or fifth Tesla model, full autonomy will be in place. Thus, the Model 4 (Y) may be the first to be considered fully autonomous, likely hitting the roadways in about 7 years or so.
Although the technology will be available sooner than 7-8 years from now, infrastructure and government regulations will play a key role. Perhaps this is why Musk is looking at the longer timeline. Many would say that this is actually far away compared to some recent press, but others firmly believe that this is much too soon.
For Musk’s vision to come true, other automakers will surely have to delve into this technology deeper. Some companies like Ford, Google, Fiat Chrysler, and Volvo are already underway. We don’t know for sure if the Apple Car will be autonomous, due to mixed reports. If it arrives by the 2019-2020 expectation, this will be ahead of Musk’s timeline, but we can expect that Apple will push to be a huge player in this market.