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Like iPhone acolytes reading Apple patents for clues to future tech, it's possible to look at the job posting from Tesla Motors to get a clue about next-gen models. That's what our friend David Herron did over at Torque News when he discovered more details on the automaker possibly building self-driving electric vehicles. Musk has been talking about self-driving cars since at least May, when he said he prefers the term "autopilot." More recently, Musk told Financial News that his company hopes to have autopilot technology in its cars in three years.

The trick to Tesla's system is that it doesn't really result in an autonomous car.

That's way sooner than other companies are talking. Google is testing robot drivers and figures the technology could be ready in three-to-five years if the legal hurdles can be overcome, but of course the search company doesn't build cars. Nissan has promised autonomous vehicles by 2020 and other automakers agree with the end of the decade timeline. The trick to Tesla's autopilot system is that it doesn't really result in an autonomous car. Instead, according to Reuters, the Tesla system would handle 90 percent of the driving, leaving the human driver there to, what exactly? Pay attention to the road 100 percent of the time for the 10 percent of the time she needs to do something? To us, a 90-percent self-driving car sounds more like an incredibly safe one, but not one with autopilot. Musk told the Financial Times that fully autonomous cars will take longer than three short years.

The official job listing – one of them, at least – says Tesla is looking for a radar hardware engineer who, "has 3-10 years of design and release responsibility on sensors (Radar, Cameras, Lidar, and Ultrasound)/active safety systems. This engineer will be responsible for translating Tesla's autopilot roadmap into active safety features and into requirements. The engineer will actively drive the features into production and evaluate future technologies." Interesting choice of verb, there, don't you think?


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 20 Comments
      DaveMart
      • 1 Year Ago
      The car companies divide autonomy in cars into several levels, Driver assistance, which is things like automated parallel parking, Highly automated driving, which controls the car almost all of the time with the driver just ready to take over if necessary, and fully robotic driving 100% of the time. It is this last which Nissan gave a time guideline of 2020 for, and somewhat later its introduction across all classes of cars. So I can't see any significant difference in the times Musk gives and what other automakers are saying, as they are already pushing on with the lower levels of automation.
      bluepongo1
      • 1 Year Ago
      I like driving... but I think this is the best advance for those who don't take skill development seriously and rely on gadgets to make up for their lazy way of life.
      throwback
      • 1 Year Ago
      Sounds similar to the system on the new S class. That system can do some (straight line correction) steering and can maintain a set distance from the car in front. It also can stop the car in an emergency situation.
      GarrettinSF
      • 1 Year Ago
      Autonomous driving will really help Tesla drivers. They all seem to be stuck looking at the touchpad in the car. I guess that's why I've seen in just the last week three of them being towed away after rear-ending other cars. The huge screen is a major distraction.
        bluepongo1
        • 1 Year Ago
        @GarrettinSF
        I look forward to reading more of your grudge fiction on future Tesla Motors threads, did they make your business model obsolete or can't you afford one?
        m_2012
        • 1 Year Ago
        @GarrettinSF
        Make up stats all the time?
      m_2012
      • 1 Year Ago
      Ding..survey says none.
      Derek L. Washington
      • 1 Year Ago
      Within 3 generations drivers will have no knowledge of privacy nor fear of computers and when that happens, 1984.
        Grendal
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Derek L. Washington
        We passed the ideas in 1984 a long time ago. You have no privacy now. What privacy you have is because there is too much data to bother with you.
      throwback
      • 1 Year Ago
      Tesla needs those things to compete for mainstream buyers. The Tesla faithful may not care, but the average luxury car buyer expects those things. Right now Tesla is selling to the EV faithful and early adopters, to keep their sales momentum they will need to draw in mainstream luxury buyers.
      m_2012
      • 1 Year Ago
      Leading the way again.
      Jai
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'd like to see a Tesla model S and Lexus IS parked next to each other. Alien vs Predator
      rstonnerdd
      • 1 Year Ago
      Autonomous driving aside, I just like the dash that isn't a sea of buttons.
      Fat man
      • 1 Year Ago
      ring that Bell a few more times....
      SublimeKnight
      • 1 Year Ago
      If I had to guess, this is window dressing for an announcement in a few weeks that they've hired one of Google's top engineers on their autonomous driving project. This is a common practice to avoid non-competes. Maybe you recruit or maybe you're approached by a "competitor's" employee. In either case, you immediately post a job opening and have them reply to it.
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