Tesla Motors has long worked towards producing the car of the future, and the Model S may well be the perfect electric vehicle for the middle class. If getting 265 miles per charge wasn’t enough to certify the sedan as an example of cutting edge technology, CEO Elon Musk recently told Bloomberg that he was in talks with Google to develop an autonomous driving system. Musk could take advantage of Google’s 500,000+ road miles to develop the technology, which he refers to as “autopilot” instead of “self-driving” to assuage fears of malfunction.
Musk sees reducing the human element in driving as a natural step in transportation. “Autopilot is a good thing to have in planes, and we should have it in cars,” he told Bloomberg. The Tesla Model S already contains a hidden configuration page that possesses features such as Adaptive Cruise, Blind Spot Detection, and Lane Departure Warning, although all three are currently disabled.
Taking the driver out of the equation is just one more tool to contribute to the comfort and safety of the passenger. Musk told Bloomberg that he would not be using Google’s Light Detection and Ranging system (Lidar) as it was too expensive, and would most likely be implementing a cheaper camera-based system. Keeping the price-point low would assist in the company’s goal to keeping the sedan affordable and promote the technology for a wider market. While the self-driving technology is firmly still in the development phase and may be a few years out, the commitment has now been officially made public. Tesla now joins other automakers such as Nissan, Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo, and Lexus in their pursuit of developing an autonomous car.