Uber CEO: If Tesla’s cars are autonomous by 2020, we’ll buy all 500,000

Tesla Model S

At the recent Top 10 Tech Trends dinner hosted by the Churchill Club, five of the world’s most famous VCs were asked what they think will be the most significant trends over the next five years. Steve Jurvetson, familiar to Charged readers as an early Tesla investor (and board member), had some interesting things to say about vehicle autonomy.

“For those of us who have a chance to be in [an autonomous vehicle], you’ll never go back,” said Jurvetson. “I believe they are already safer than my parents, and I would trust my kids with them. And they’re just going to get better.”

In the long run, Jurvetson foresees many benefits from AVs, including not only more efficient use of fuel and time, but also a huge reduction in highway deaths.

“[Autonomous technology] will offer you opportunities that are roughly 10 times better…With many fewer taxis than we have in New York today, you could get one of these within 30 seconds of wanting one, at a much lower cost per mile driven. It’s in fact more efficient than mass transit in urban and suburban environments, which is kind of amazing.”

Perhaps most amazing of all, Jurvetson said that Uber CEO Travis Kalanick recently told him that “in 2020, if Tesla’s cars are autonomous, he’d want to buy all of them.” Yes, that means all 500,000 units that the company expects to produce in that year.

 

Sources: Churchill Club, Forbes