Tesla CEO Elon Musk has promised that his electric car company will own the technology for a fully self-driven car by the end of the year, barring regulatory hindrances.
Musk declared as much during an appearance on Tesla investor ARK Invest's podcast, but he wasn't able to say when such tech will actually be part of the car.
Tesla already boasts an autopilot feature that allows cars to match the speed of nearby traffic and switch lanes without the driver doing anything. However, the system he referred to on the podcast is supposed to drive a vehicle without a human being even being inside. According to Musk, the tech will make it so that a Tesla can find you in a parking lot, pick you up and take you wherever you need to go without you lifting a finger.
“The car will be able to find you in a parking lot, pick you up and take you all the way to your destination without an intervention. I would say I am of certain of that. That is not a question mark,” he said (h/t Fortune).
The CEO has seen a lot of criticism come Tesla's way, but there has been lots of praise as well. Videos have emerged online showing how the cars help drivers avoid collisions, yet the autopilot system being at the center of a fatal 2016 crash hasn't been helpful. A Tesla on autopilot also hit a parked police car last year, per news reports.
Musk, though, has said that a safe autopilot will be available by the end of this year.
“My guess as to when we would think it is safe for somebody to essentially fall asleep and wake up at their destination? Probably towards the end of next year. That is when I think it would be safe enough for that,” he predicted.
Meanwhile, the company is reportedly preparing to launch several leasing options for the entry-level Model 3, having previously rolled packages out for the Model S and Model X.