• 07.20.16

Elon Musk says delaying autonomous cars would be “morally reprehensible”

Entrepreneur extraordinaire Elon Musk published part one of his self-proclaimed “master plan” 10 years ago, when Tesla Motors and SpaceX were fledgling companies with heady ambitions. Today he unveiled part two, laying out the full extent of his vision and using the opportunity to argue for the rapid adoption of self-driving vehicles and solar power.

“When used correctly,” he wrote, Tesla’s Autopilot software “is already significantly safer than a person driving by themselves and it would therefore be morally reprehensible to delay release simply for fear of bad press or some mercantile calculation of legal liability.”

A Tesla owner died in May while using the Autopilot software in his Model S, the first death to occur in a self-driving vehicle. 

In the long-term, Autopilot represents just one piece of the puzzle for Tesla. No longer content to design and build electric sports cars, Musk plans to “expand the electric vehicle product line to address all major segments.” That includes buses, trucks, and ride-sharing—and hinges on Musk’s ability to prove the merits of self-driving software to a skeptical public.

Musk also outlined his solar power ambitions, which include developing “stunning solar roofs with seamlessly integrated battery storage” to speed the worldwide adoption of solar power.

If drivers are willing to embrace Autopilot, chances are they will be equally willing to embrace Musk’s “beautiful solar-roof-with-battery.” AH