We may never have flying cars (Back to the Future II lied to us!), but it seems more and more that self-driving cars are close to becoming a reality. While many different manufacturers are working on prototypes, Tesla seems to be the only one willing to give a tentative date of completion. According to a recent interview in Fortune with CEO Elon Musk, Tesla Motors should have a fully autonomous car within two years. Still, there isn’t an easy fix, as there are many factors to consider. Musk told Fortune:
“I think we have all the pieces, and it’s just about refining those pieces, putting them in place, and making sure they work across a huge number of environments—and then we’re done.”
While Musk is confident that this bit of supposed science fiction can become fact, there are tons of moving parts that need to come together for a fully autonomous vehicle to become a sustainable reality.
“It’s a much easier problem than people think it is. But it’s not like George Hotz, a one-guy-and-three-months problem. You know, it’s more like, thousands of people for two years.”
For the not-so-tech-inclined, Hotz is the hacker who built a self-driving car in his garage earlier this year. Musk is quick to say that this kind of extensive roll out is bound to take more time and expertise than a prototype built by one guy.
“It’s easy to do a cool demo, it’s hard to put something out. Especially software that’s going to work on millions of different roads all around the world in a wide range of circumstances—in winter, in summer, in rain, in dust—there’s a world of difference there.”
Despite these misgivings, Musk seems supremely confident in Tesla’s progress. Few other tech companies share that confidence, so we’ll have to see how this progress unfolds in the coming years.