You've probably seen some YouTube footage of self-driving cars: Google's little camera-covered cab rolling around a car park at 12mph, carrying passengers trying to appear a lot more excited than they really are. Impressive, sure - but decades away from replacing the human-controlled traffic we're familiar with, surely?
It seems not.
Tesla CEO and all-round genius Elon Musk has announced that self-driving cars aren't a distant pipe dream, but "two to three years" away.
Speaking from the stage of the Vanity Fair Summit in San Francisco on 6 October, Musk was asked by New York Times reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin asked Musk and Y Combinator head Sam Altman to share their thoughts on autonomous automotive tech.
Altman believed that "Self-driving cars are going to get here much faster than people think", giving an estimate of three to four years, but Musk thought they'd arrive sooner.
"There’s a point where it’s not just driving in Palo Alto or Mountain View," Musk said, indicating Google's self-driving car tests in the Silicon Valley. "But it will be an end to end point anywhere."
Tesla's cars will soon receive a software upgrade (7.0) that Musk said will allow them to "steer on highways on autopilot and also steer quite well in traffic. It’s going to be quite good at steering".
But don't expect to be driven to work by your car before 2020 - while the technology will be there and working, Musk believes that the lack of legal regulations could hold the release back.
Come on legislators - you're preventing us from living out our tech-fuelled dream world.
[Via: Tech Crunch]