Tesla CTO: Autonomous vehicle technology will happen sooner than you think

We already know that Tesla is motoring ahead with autonomous vehicle technology. This week, Chief Technology Officer JB Straubel reaffirmed that in an interview at Stanford’s Global Climate and Energy Project Symposium. Referred to the technology as “autopilot,” Straubel called it an inevitable step that will be “transformational” for the auto industry.

Tesla has invested a lot of time into autonomous technology, and is hiring “a large team,” said Straubel. “It’s going to happen [and] will happen sooner than people think.” The active safety systems that are already offered on high-end models are just the beginning – over time cars will take over more and more of the mundane driving tasks.

Straubel pointed out that the auto industry has been slow to adopt technology that’s already widely used in other vehicles such as airplanes, ships, and spacecraft. “They didn’t do it because the pilot was bored; they did it because of safety,” he said. “People drivers are probably the least trained of all the different vehicle operators. If there is one place that it would be most relevant it would be in a car.”


Photo by jurvetson (flickr): Tesla investor Steve Jurvetson (left) and Chief Technology Officer JB Straubel (right)
Source: GigaOM