Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) will update Model S cars of few owners with a hands-free driving version by the end of this month to test the feature. CEO Elon Musk revealed the test launch during Tesla’s annual meeting on Tuesday. During the event, Musk discussed the potential of the self-driving cars, and how auto-pilot cars are becoming road ready.
Convincing regulators will be a challenge
In the first phase of the autopilot plan, the Tesla Motors CEO mentioned that drivers need to be fully alert and ready to take over, even while the car drives itself. The feature is being developed to relax the drivers, but not replace them.
The CEO of the Palo Alto-based company said that the feature is pretty much in the ambit of the legal framework as the driver, who will be in the driver’s seat, would be fully responsible for the controls.
“This is not an abdication of responsibility for steering,” Musk said. The company is looking to bring a fully autonomous system in about three years. Mr Musk said that the car company is aiming at a fully operational autopilot, equipped with all things required “for someone to go to sleep and wake up at their destination.” However, he did acknowledge that it is an extremely difficult engineering project.
According to Musk, Tesla is targeting a self-driving car that is at least 10 times safer than a human driven one. And, Musk said it would even harder to get regulators to agree to such a product.
Tesla Model X, safest sports utility on road
Separately, Musk said that it failed to get through with its plan of developing a battery swapping network for the electric cars, and also re-confirmed that Model X deliveries will be initiated in the next three to four months.
While talking about the Model X, the Tesla Motors CEO said that it will be the safest sport utility on the road as the design of the car requires the heavy battery pack to be on the floor, bringing down its center of gravity. That will make the vehicle almost impossible to roll over.
Speaking at the meeting, Musk talked about the possibility of using vegan materials for seating and other surfaces in the Tesla cars. Additionally, he said that CFO Deepak Ahuja is taking retirement, but will stay until a suitable replacement is found.