May 9, 2013

Musk to Join Forces With Google on Self-Driving Car

Entrepreneurial whiz-kid and self-made billionaire Elon Musk is back in the spotlight this week, after his claims of a joint venture with Google to develop the self-driving car.

The founder of SpaceX and PayPal has announced his talks with Google brains to develop the autonomous vehicle- although he has said that he prefers the title “Autopilot” to “Self-driving”, as the latter suggests the vehicle having a mind of its own.

Musk has said: “Autopilot is a good thing to have in planes, and we should have it in cars.”

Although the partnership seems like a powerhouse for the future of motoring, Musk also suggested a potential flaw in Google’s design; it costs too much.

Musk has stated that rather than Google’s advanced yet expensive sensory system- which uses sci-fi like technology to analyse its surroundings, collating over 1000 pieces of data a second –he would much prefer to use a simpler optical system, which he describes as being “basically cameras, with software that is able to figure out what’s going on just by looking at things”.

It is said that Google is in “technical discussions” with Tesla Motors – of which Musk is CEO – however the likelihood is that rather than collaborating on a joint project to further Google’s Lidar laser tracking system, Tesla will most likely begin to develop its own version of the autonomous automobile, using Musk’s own camera-based concept – although Musk has not ruled out a joint venture with the search engine giants.

Whilst this may suggest a dynamic collaboration of technical geniuses that will change the way we drive forever, or even an exciting space-race style contest to release the first Auto-Piloted car, Musk was quick to quell the rumours he began himself just ten minutes earlier. He tweeted shortly afterwards that this project is “not yet top priority”, that they were “still a few years from production”, and somewhat ironically, “No big announcement here.”

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