In 2018, people may be seeing cars running across the country without anyone in it — not even on the driver's seat.
With Tesla's new iteration, Summon, one can summon his car wherever he wants it to be. Moreover, with this software, the car is able to open and close a garage door, park, and shut down itself.
The vision of Tesla CEO Elon Musk goes beyond these capabilities, though. After the company is done with Summon's development, any of its cars will be able to drive anywhere across the country. It will also know when and how to charge itself along the way. Finally, owners will be able to sync their calendars with their cars. In turn, the car will know exactly when to start driving.
How exactly a car can charge itself alone lies in another technology Tesla has recently developed: an automatic charger that plugs and unplugs itself to a car. Musk tweeted about this tech back in December 2014, calling it a "solid metal snake."
Musk revealed to Fortune that "we're going to end up with complete autonomy, and I think we will have complete autonomy in approximately two years."
He also reiterated this projection on his Twitter account.
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
However, the tech giant's head revealed that he is expecting to get an additional year for the technology to go through the approval process, which involves testing its safety on the road. He also said that some jurisdictions may take more than that — five years or even more.
During a conference call with reporters on Jan. 10, he admitted that his prediction might be a little too optimistic. "We do need more sensors than the car currently has to achieve that goal. You need a lot of redundancy ... more cameras, more radars, redundant power buses ... so that any system can fail in the car and it doesn't need to backup to a driver," he said.