Self-driving cars might be on the roads faster than most people think, says Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk. Musk told reporters in Tokyo that Tesla is developing the technology for “full autopilot” consumer cars in just five years.
This new timeline is faster than some experts–even Musk himself–had anticipated. IHS, a research firm, previously predicted self-driving cars would not be on the road until 2025.
Around this time last year, Musk was skeptical of this concept, telling the Financial Times, “My opinion is it’s a bridge too far to go to fully autonomous cars.” Now it appears the ultra-competitive entrepreneur, who is also CTO of SpaceX, is trying to outdo competitors like Google and Volvo who are also working on autonomous cars.
“I think in the long term, all Tesla cars will have auto-pilot capability,” Musk said Monday.
Self-driving cars could save thousands of lives per year; in 2012 alone, 33,561 people in the U.S. were killed in motor vehicle accidents. To learn more about the development of this technology, check out Fast Company’s January feature: “Inside the Road Revolution.”