Elon Musk Thinks The Days of Human Drivers Are Numbered

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Autonomous cars aren’t available for the masses just yet, but they’re getting closer everyday. The technology is already creeping into cars with things like automatic braking and assisted parking, so a time when drivers won’t be needed to actually drive is coming fast. Once cars can do a better job of driving themselves than humans can, who’s to say that mere mortal drivers won’t be outlawed altogether?

Tesla CEO Elon Musk believes a day will come when human drivers will be clearly inferior to what cars can do on their own making the possibility of eliminating human drivers by law very likely. He talked about this during the keynote presentation at NVIDIA’s GPU Technology Conference in San Jose.

Autonomous cars are almost definitely in our near future, but it will take awhile to perfect the technology. Humans still need to be at the wheel some of the time and are required to be there depending on state law. That gives all us humans a little more time to enjoy the pleasure of driving, but according to Musk, that time is destined to end.

Speaking to NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang, Musk said,  “In the distant future, they may outlaw driven cars because they’re too dangerous.”

Tesla has been leading the way with electric vehicles and Musk hopes to do the same with self-driving car technology. It’s a crowded field and they’ll have a lot of competition to beat if they want to be at the front of the pack.

Google has been working on autonomous cars and rumors have Apple doing the same. BMW and Audi are also in the race with Delphi about to send an Audi SQ5 on the first autonomous cross-country trip from San Francisco to New York.

Tesla is looking to take advantage of NVIDIA’s technology, specifically their Drive PX self-driving car computer. The platform debuted back in January and will be ready for automakers, Tier 1 automotive suppliers, and research institutions this May. Those looking to work with Drive PX will have to shell out a hefty $10,000 for the privilege.

As for all us humans, well, we’ve got a little time left to be considered capable drivers. Regulations related to autonomous vehicles have, so far, leaned toward making sure we are behind the wheel because the technology is too new to be considered the safest choice.

Once that technology is more prevalent, more well-tested, and more of a sure thing, that’s when the regulations could turn in the other direction and kick us all out of the driver’s seat.

Nicole Wakelin

Nicole Wakelin

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