Robot Cars - A Musk

Move over Google, Tesla's Elon Musk is vying to pioneer the first consumer autonomous car. Market Watch's Mike Ramsey has the story.

Optimus Prime

Tesla Motors Inc.’s TSLA, +0.11%   Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said the technology to make a fully autonomous car will be ready in five or six years, and the result will be a vehicle far less likely to harm occupants and others on the road.

“They will be a factor of 10 safer than a person [at the wheel] in a six-year time frame,” Musk said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. Once the technology is available, it likely would take several more years, however, to work out the regulatory impediments, he said.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Tesla is working on its own autonomous driving technology for its electric vehicles in addition to talking with auto suppliers. He said he expects more suppliers of autonomous vehicle parts to emerge in coming years.

Musk said “machine vision,” or the ability for a computer to quickly recognize objects, is the biggest technological impediment to fully implementing the technology.

Determining what an entire object might be when only a piece of it is visible by camera or radar is a key issue for the technology to determine the correct course of action for the vehicle. “It’s kind of scary: what’s going to become of us humans,” he joked