Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the electric car company will have the technology for a fully self-driving car by the end of 2019. Though, he added, rollout could be delayed by regulatory hurdles.
Musk made the prediction during an appearance on Tesla investor ARK Invest’s podcast. Tesla already has an enhanced autopilot feature, where the car can match the speed of traffic and switch lanes without any driver input. The technology Musk talked about in the podcast means a Tesla would be able to drive itself without a human even being present in the vehicle.
“The car will be able to find you in a parking lot, pick you up and take you all the way to your destination without an intervention, this year,” Musk said. “I would say I am of certain of that. That is not a question mark.”
Tesla has received both praise and scrutiny for its autopilot feature. Videos posted online show how the feature has helped drivers avoid crashes, but the autopilot also played a “major role” in a fatal 2016 Tesla crash, according to a report from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. Last year, another Tesla on autopilot hit a parked police car, according to news reports.
But Musk said a safe autopilot ride will arrive soon. “My guess as to when we would think it is safe for somebody to essentially fall asleep and wake up at their destination? Probably towards the end of next year,” Musk said. “That is when I think it would be safe enough for that.”