If Tesla’s high-performance electric cars weren’t cool enough already, Elon Musk has plans to make them even better.

On Wednesday, September 17, Musk, the crazy genius behind Tesla Motors, told the Wall Street Journal that his company will have fully autonomous cars within five to six years.

According to Musk, the biggest challenge in developing self-driving technology is perfecting “machine vision.” CNBC describes this as “a computer's ability to quickly recognize objects. If only part of an object is visible by camera or radar, computers still have trouble figuring out what the entire object might be, making it difficult to determine the correct course of action for the vehicle.”

Although safety is understandably a major concern many have when it comes to self-driving cars, Musk says you won’t need to worry about his brilliant cars. “They will be a factor of 10 safer than a person [driving] in a six-year time frame,” he explains.

The company currently offers two models of its premium electric vehicle, and it’s working on a cheaper model, which is scheduled for a 2017 release. Although Musk projected that this model would be priced at approximately $35,000, some skeptics expect the car’s price tag will be closer to $50,000. But Musk is a mad genius, and he can work miracles. His other company, SpaceX, puts stuff in space, after all. Tesla is set to construct its Gigafactory in Nevada, the largest lithium-ion battery plant in the world. Tesla prices should be affected for the better by the plant’s mass-production of batteries for its cars.

Musk offers no approximate price tag for a self-driving Tesla. But he check his ambitious announcement by explaining that it will likely take several more years after the automated driving technology is perfected to work through all the legal hurdles to get the cars on the road.

Photo: Maurizio Pesce 

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