From an outsider’s perspective, it may seem like Tesla hasn’t made much progress in the realm of self-driving car tech as of late. When compared to the likes of Waymo or even Uber — both of which have created fully-self-driving vehicles — Tesla’s “keep your hands on the wheel” approach to autonomous cars seems pretty far behind.
However, that may not be the case for long. In a recent interview with MIT, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that drivers could begin removing their hands from the wheel as soon as six months from now, but “next year” at the latest.
It’s worth noting, of course, that Musk has been known to make guarantees he struggles to keep in the past. It took Tesla years to hit the promised $35,000 Model 3 milestone, and true hands-off Autopilot tech was initially expected to arrive before 2017, to name a couple examples.
Still, it seems Musk has at least partially learned from his past gaffes here. In the MIT interview, the CEO was careful to make it clear that his predictions could be wrong, and that they are educated guesses at best for the time being. With that said, Tesla’s existing Autopilot features have only become more sophisticated over time, and other companies in the industry are announcing similar timelines for full self-driving tech to roll out.
As such, Musk’s beliefs may not be totally unrealistic this time around. Only time will tell, though, and we’ll certainly keep you updated if Tesla makes any meaningful progress toward its goals.