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Tesla CEO Elon Musk says that owning a non-autonomous car will soon be like 'owning a horse'

Musk said it will be 'unusual' to see non-autonomous cars on the roads within the next 10 to 20 years

Doug Bolton
Wednesday 04 November 2015 13:17 GMT
A man waits with a horse and cart outside McDonald's in Skopje, Macedonia
A man waits with a horse and cart outside McDonald's in Skopje, Macedonia (ROBERT ATANASOVSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Elon Musk, the CEO of electric car manufacturer Tesla and general tech superstar has said that owning a non-autonomous car will soon be like "owning a horse".

Musk made the comments during a conference call on Tesla's latest financial reports.

While speaking about Tesla's autopilot, a feature still in development that offers a degree of autonomous driving, he said it will soon be "unusual" to see cars that don't drive themselves, as reported by Electrek.

"I'm on the record saying that I think all cars will go fully autonomous in the long-term. I think it will be quite unusual to see cars that don't have full autonomy - let's say for new car production in the 15 to 20 years timeframe - and for Tesla it will be a lot sooners than that," he said.

"I actually think at the point which cars are being made that have full autonomy, any cars that are being made that don't have full autonomy will have negative value."

"It will be like owning a horse. You are really owning it for sentimental reasons."

It's often been said that the invention of the car was the 'saviour of the horse' - as the engine became more widely used, horses became beloved and well looked-after animals used for leisure, rather than just tools for transportation and industry.

Similarly, Musk thinks non-autonomous cars will go the way of the horse - they'll be driven for pleasure in certain settings, but certainly won't be seen as useful transportation options.

If Musk has his way, those days could arrive sooner rather than later.

Videos of Tesla cars automatically steering and switching lanes have gone viral online, but similar features have been available in cars for years.

However, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal last year, Musk said he thinks the technology to make the first commercial fully-autonomous car will be available in five to six years.

And as companies like BMW, Audi and Mercedes begin huge hiring drives for software engineers to help create these cars, Musk's prediction could become reality relatively soon.

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