Elon Musk, Sam Altman Predict Self-Driving Cars Will Be On The Road In Just A Few Years

Elon Musk and Sam Altman discussed everything from alien life to nuclear fusion onstage at the Vanity Fair Summit on Tuesday, including how soon we can expect to get our cars to drive us places at the touch of a button.

“Self-driving cars are going to get here much faster than people think,” Altman said. He thought we’d see them in three to four years. Musk, who heads electric car company Tesla, put it closer to two to three years.

“There’s a point where it’s not just driving in Palo Alto or Mountain View,” Musk added, obviously alluding to Google’s self-driving car tests on the Silicon Valley peninsula. “But it will be an end to end point anywhere.”

Google has been careful in feeding the press a closer date of release for its version of an autonomous vehicle. Some reports say the project aims to ready by 2020.

Musk has previously mentioned his concern over a lack of regulations in the industry and that this lack could delay the release of self-driving cars into the market, marking that release out to 2022 or beyond.

There’s a point where it’s not just driving in Palo Alto or Mountain View but it will be an end to end point anywhere. Elon Musk, Tesla
The Tesla CEO is currently testing version 7.0 software that will incorporate autonomous driving technology. “We have version 7 of our software, which will be able to steer on highways on autopilot and also steer quite well in traffic. It’s going to be quite good at steering,” said Musk.

There was a lot of chatter around self-driving features for the Tesla’s p85 D. Some even believed the D might stand for “driver assistance.” It did offer adaptive cruise control features, but it was not truly driverless.

The cars with version 7 software will be able to essentially steer themselves so long as there aren’t any sharp turns, according to Musk.

The Tesla CEO also told the audience there are currently 600 to 700 Tesla owners testing that software on the road right now and that he plans to release version 7 very soon.