Elon Musk of Tesla, and Chris Urmson of Google’s self-driving cars division want the entire world to know just how strongly they believe in cars that drive themselves. While that might seem like science fiction, the companies are working furiously to end an era that includes cars with drivers and do so quickly. While Musk has been vocal for some time about how position on driverless cars and advanced technology as a whole, Urmson says that he is committed to ensuring that his 11-year-old will never have to take a drivers test.
Google has been working on driverless cars since around 2009, and Tesla similarly, has been working on technology to improve the overall function of cars and working specifically on the technology inside them that could allow a car to become driverless. That being said, to many it’s still something that will either be too expensive or something that simply isn’t realistic – even as technology continues to launch forward. The Google executive pointed out that his team wants to have driverless cars operational in the next five years, given the fact that “the urgency is so large,” due to the mass number of casualties in car accidents every year.
While Musk has been cautious when talking about artificial intelligence, he pointed out that at some point “In the distant future, they may outlaw driven cars because they’re too dangerous.” Seem crazy? He doesn’t seem to think so, and the longer this technology is exposed and talked about – the less it seems impossible. In fact, it has become seemingly possible; it just hasn’t been made common, yet.
After making the remark though, Tesla’s outspoken CEO had to walk back his comments on Twitter. He tweeted, “To be clear, Tesla is strongly in favor of people being allowed to drive their cars and always will be. Hopefully, that is obvious.” Then, a short period later – he sent out a second tweet, which read, “However, when self-driving cars become safer than human-driven cars, the public may outlaw the latter. Hopefully not.” Either way, it seems clear that major technology companies are poising themselves properly really to attack the automobile market as a whole – and working to change how people handle it and interact with it.