Tesla CEO Elon Musk predicted Tuesday that the electric vehicle automaker will begin producing purely self-driving cars by the end of 2019. The mercurial tech guru has made similar predictions in the past.
Musk argued in 2015 that his company would complete a self-driving feature within two years; it never happened. He’s now doubling down on that forecast. The Silicon Valley billionaire told Cathie Wood and Tasha Keeney of ARK Invest that he is certain of this prediction.
“I think we will be ‘feature complete’ on full self-driving this year, meaning the car will be able to find you in a parking lot, pick you up, take you all the way to your destination without an intervention this year,” Musk said, referring to Tesla’s long-awaited self-driving feature. “I am certain of that. That is not a question mark.”
Musk did add one important caveat. The speed at which customers adopt the technology depends on the rules regulators hammer out for such vehicles, he said. “My guess as to when we would think it is safe for somebody to essentially fall asleep and wake up at their destination? Probably towards the end of next year,” Musk added.
The Tesla head wrestled with a spat of controversies in 2018, including tweets promising his followers that he was taking the billion dollar company private after years of being public. The Securities and Exchange Commission sued Musk that year for fraud after making the promise. Tesla could have avoided the headache had Musk settled the case instead of fighting the SEC.
Musk often plays fast and loose with the facts, some analysts say. He told investors in May 2016, for instance, that he expected Tesla to produce between 100,000 and 200,000 Model 3 sedans in the second half of 2017. Tesla made a fraction of that number. (RELATED: TESLA’S STOCK TUMBLES AFTER ELON MUSK’S FAILED ATTEMPT TO GO PRIVATE)
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