Elon Musk, the co-founder and CEO of electric vehicle (EV) maker Tesla, said that the company will have fully self-driving cars in just two years.
A number of carmakers are developing autonomous cars but it may take a few years before fully self-driving cars actually hit the roads. Various companies such as Honda, Nissan, Tesla, Google, and more are testing semi-autonomous cars. However, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) said that a fully licensed driver should be behind the wheels all the time to take control of the car in case the technology fails.
Companies such as Nissan and Toyota are expected to develop fully self-driving cars by 2020, while Audi estimated that its fully-autonomous car will be ready by 2025.
During an Interview with Fortune, Musk indicated that Tesla's fully automated car will be ready in about two years' time.
"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," said Musk. "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."
George Hotz is a hacker who built a self-driving car in his garage in about a month. In an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Hotz explained that the self-driving setup used in his autonomous car was like the Autopilot feature on a Tesla, which is meant for highway driving and not for crowded city streets.
Fortune also reported that Musk was not angry while talking about Hotz and his self-driving car but there was "a hint of irritation in his voice."
"George is an amazing hacker, but you don't make production software by hacking. A hack does not work, a hack crashes," added Musk.
Musk's claims about a fully self-driving Tesla car in the next two years may become true because in October 2015, Tesla became the first company to commercially sell semi-autonomous cars in the U.S. Drivers can switch to the Autopilot mode but they have to keep a part of their hands on the steering wheels. There will be a notification in case a part of the driver's hand is not touching the steering wheel.
"We tell drivers to keep their hands on the wheel just in case, to exercise caution in the beginning," said Musk. "Over time, long term, you won't have to keep your hands on the wheel-we explicitly describe this as beta."
Fully autonomous cars are attracting many car lovers. Tesla may become the first to unveil the first fully-autonomous car but it may take some time before these cars could actually hit the roads.
Carmakers developing semi-autonomous or fully-autonomous cars will have to work with government agencies such as the DOT and set up regulations. Autonomous cars could also pose safety risks for those in the car as well as for those around the car, which means that the guidelines regarding insurance of such cars will also have to be established before they could make their way to the streets.