Tesla's Elon Musk Predicts 'Full Auto-Pilot' Cars in Six Years

Sep 10, 2014 06:10 PM EDT | Jordan Ecarma

Tesla's upcoming Model 3 will feature auto-pilot technology that the company will develop in-house, CEO Elon Musk told the Nikkei Asian Review on Monday.  

Expected to cost around $35,000, the Model 3 won't be available for another three years or so, but when it comes to showrooms, the electric car will have auto-pilot abilities akin to forthcoming technology announced by Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Infiniti and Cadillac, Jalopnik reported.

Musk expects to introduce autonomous vehicles just a few years after launching the Model 3, which will implement some self-driving technology.

"Full auto-pilot capability is going to happen, probably, in the five- or six-year time frame," Musk told The Nikkei. "The overall system and software will be programmed by Tesla, but we will certainly use sensors and subcomponents from many companies."

Tesla plans to partner with Toyota, Panasonic and other Japanese companies to boost the popularity of electric vehicles, The Nikkei reported.

Last year, Musk told Bloomberg News that he preferred the word "auto-pilot" to "self-driving" because it sounded safer.  

"I like the word auto-pilot more than I like the word self-driving," Musk said in a May 2013 interview. "Self-driving sounds like it's going to do something you don't want it to do. Auto-pilot is a good thing to have in planes, and we should have it in cars."

Musk is also looking to bring auto-pilot function to Tesla's popular Model S and the upcoming Model X sometime in the future.

"I think in the long term, all Tesla cars will have auto-pilot capability," he told The Nikkei.

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