Tesla CEO Musk tweets driverless cars "still a few years from production"
PALO ALTO, California—Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk says his electric-car company has had discussions with Google about autonomous driving technology, but tweeted Tuesday that self-driving Tesla cars are "still a few years from production."
"I like the word autopilot more than I like the word self-driving," Musk said in an interview with Bloomberg. "Self-driving sounds like it's going to do something you don't want it to do. Autopilot is a good thing to have in planes, and we should have it in cars."
Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin were early investors in Tesla before the car company went public in 2010.
After the Bloomberg interview made headlines yesterday, Musk tweeted: "Am a fan of Larry, Sergey & Google in general, but self-driving cars comments to Bloomberg were just off-the-cuff. No big announcement here."
In a second tweet, Musk noted: "Creating an autopilot for cars at Tesla is an important, but not yet top priority. Still a few years from production."
Google has been testing self-driving cars for several years, but Musk suggested Tesla may pursue a different technology.
"The problem with Google's current approach is that the sensor system is too expensive," Musk toldBloomberg. "It's better to have an optical system, basically cameras with software that is able to figure out what's going on just by looking at things."
In a follow-up e-mail to Bloomberg, Musk said: "I think Tesla will most likely develop its own autopilot system for the car... However, it is also possible that we do something jointly with Google."
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Creating an autopilot for cars at Tesla is an important, but not yet top priority. Still a few years from production.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 7, 2013