Elon Musk Says Tesla’s Autopilot is Probably Better Than a Person Driving

FILE - In a Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015 file photo, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors Inc., introduces the Model X car at the company's headquarters, in Fremont, Calif. Some Tesla Motors vehicles can park themselves without a driver inside with a software update beamed to customers over the Jan. 9-10 weekend. Musk said the parking feature is a "baby step" toward his eventual goal: Letting drivers summon their self-driving, self-charging cars from anywhere using their phones.  (PHOTO CREDIT: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
FILE – In a Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015 file photo, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors Inc., introduces the Model X car at the company’s headquarters, in Fremont, Calif. Some Tesla Motors vehicles can park themselves without a driver inside with a software update beamed to customers over the Jan. 9-10 weekend. Musk said the parking feature is a “baby step” toward his eventual goal: Letting drivers summon their self-driving, self-charging cars from anywhere using their phones. (PHOTO CREDIT: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

Tesla on Sunday unveiled new software updates to improve the self-driving capabilities of its vehicles, including new limits on highway speeds and a way for owners to “summon” their empty vehicles.

But Tesla chief executive Elon Musk said he already believes the technology has proven itself, even though Tesla introduced the self-driving software into its fleet of vehicles only late last year and even that didn’t turn the vehicles into fully autonomous vehicles.

“It’s probably better than a person right now (at driving),” Musk said during a conference call with reporters.

Musk also expects rapid improvements over the next 24 to 36 months, when a Tesla “will be able to drive virtually all roads at a safety level significantly better than humans,” he said.

Tesla tweaks the software running its vehicles by analyzing data from the hundreds of millions of miles driven by current owners. The automaker is constantly updated the autopilot software, which it still considers to be an unfinished “beta” product. But, Musk said, he was not aware of any accidents caused by auto pilot. He said the closest scenario were accidents where drivers mistakenly believed they were in auto-pilot mode.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: The Washington Post, Todd C. Frankel