Musk targeting coast-to-coast test drive of fully self-driving Tesla by late 2017

Elon Musk is really accelerating the potential timeline for delivering self-driving: The Tesla CEO said on a press call that he hopes to deliver a test ride of fully autonomous Tesla vehicle driving by next year.

What kind of test? Not a trip around the block, but a coast-to-coast road trip, he says.

“Our goal is, and I feel pretty good about this goal, that we’ll be able to do a demonstration drive of full autonomy all the way from LA to New York, from home in LA to let’s say dropping you off in Time Square in New York, and then having the car go park itself, by the end of next year,” he said on a press call today. “Without the need for a single touch, including the charger.”

To put that kind of accomplishment in perspective, current autonomous testing generally doesn’t even cross state lines, let alone the country. It’s a huge goal, and one that will potentially be replicable by every car Tesla makes between now and then, according to the new hardware and vehicle system updates Musk also announced today.