Elon Musk is a man of bold claims, the most outlandish being round trips to Mars for $500,000. At the same time, he also walks the talk so we definitely pay attention to what he has says. Maybe overly optimistic, Musk tweeted the other day that in two years’ time it will be possible to summon your Tesla electric car across the country.
In ~2 years, summon should work anywhere connected by land & not blocked by borders, eg you’re in LA and the car is in NY
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 10, 2016
Bold indeed, and the challenges are many. For one, Tesla just recently made its car semi-autonomous when it rolled out its last major update. We have no way to tell what’s going on in their labs in Palo Alto of course. Maybe there’s some immense progress going on. Secondly, you need to charge the car which implies 1) the car needs to charge itself 2) an extensive network of charging stations thousands of miles long between New York and L.A., for instance. Let’s say that the car can indeed charge it self using the “charging snake”, but what about the infrastructure?
Seems a bit of a stretch, but check out the map with the 2016 Supercharger forecast.
By 2018, we can expect the network to expand even further — and not just along highways.
Tesla’s Summon feature was initially rolled out as a cool feature that would make your car park itself once you push a button on the car key. In time, it seems to have evolved into a personal lackey feature.
At this point, considering Tesla’s engineering track progress, it seems quite likely that Musk is right. In two years, the technical challenges could be done with. The biggest roadblock might be United States legislation. Will self-driving cars be allowed on public roads in 2018? A lot of people are placing some big bets already.
Tibi is a science journalist and co-founder of ZME Science. He writes mainly about emerging tech, physics, climate, and space. In his spare time, Tibi likes to make weird music on his computer and groom felines.