Elon Musk: Tesla Cars Could Drive Across The Country Autonomously By 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that a new self-parking feature, called “Summon,” is “just a baby step.”

Elon Musk: Tesla Cars Could Drive Across The Country Autonomously By 2018
[Photo: SUSANA BATES/AFP/Getty Images]

In two years, a Tesla car could feasibly steer itself to its owner from thousands of miles away, according to Elon Musk. The Tesla CEO recently unveiled a beta feature called Summon, through which a Model S electric sedan or Model X electric crossover can park itself in a garage or on the street. At a press conference on Sunday, Musk noted that the introduction of Summon was “just a baby step.”


“I actually think, and I might be slightly optimistic on this, within two years you’ll be able to summon your car from across the country,” Musk said.

According to The Verge, Musk claims a Tesla vehicle would be able to charge itself along the way, using an automated system that will be made available at supercharger stations.

While a fully functional self-driving Tesla may not be ready for commercial use in two years, Musk seems confident the technology will be in place. “In that timeframe of 24 to 36 months, it will be able to drive on virtually all roads at a safety level significantly better than human,” he told reporters, The Verge wrote.

Summon is part of Tesla’s most recent software update, which means that owners of the Model S or Model X can enable the feature upon updating their cars’ software. In a blog post, the company explained that Summon could shave minutes off a Tesla owner’s driving time:

Using Summon, once you arrive home and exit Model S or Model X, you can prompt it to do the rest: open your garage door, enter your garage, park itself, and shut down. In the morning, you wake up, walk out the front door, and summon your car. It will open the garage door and come to greet you. More broadly, Summon also eliminates the burden of having to squeeze in and out of tight parking spots.

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[via The Guardian]


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Pavithra Mohan is an assistant editor for Fast Company Digital. Her writing has previously been featured in Gizmodo and Popular Science magazine.