Could we see mass-produced self driving vehicles on the roads by 2020? Elon Musk and his rivals think so.
2020 is shaping up to be a benchmark year for the electric vehicle industry.
Tesla Motors’ CEO Elon Musk announced in September that his company would be in a position to produce EVs with a range of around 745 miles (1,200 km) that were also fully ‘self-driving’ by 2020.
Musk’s target might look ambitious, particularly given his company’s history of delayed car launches.
But there is a commercial imperative to hit this target, as several of Tesla’s competitors are also racing to launch driverless EVs with a similar range by the end of the decade.
Japan’s Toyota and German giants Mercedes-Benz and BMW also have plans for autonomous driving systems to feature in some of their models by 2020. And Google has already built a self-driving prototype, though it is some way off commercial use.
But possibly the biggest threat to Tesla’s plans is Apple’s highly secretive ‘Project Titan’, which is believed to be developing a self driving vehicle. Worryingly for Musk, the Apple project could bring a driverless EV model to market in 2019.
The competition is fierce, with first movers guaranteed an advantage in the market, making 2020 look like a formative year for the industry.