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Tesla talking to Google about driverless electric cars

6:52 AM, May 8, 2013   |    comments
Elon Musk CEO of Tesla, with a new Model S car outside the Tesla customer deliver area at the Tesla Fremont, Calif., factory. (Photo: Jessica Brandi Lifland for USA TODAY)
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Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk is talking to Google about adding driverless technology to its electric cars, Bloomberg News reports.

If the two were ever to collaborate, it could give Tesla a key technical advantage over other luxury car makers beyond its unique electric powerplant, which gives its the longest range of any electric cars. It is EPA rated at 265 miles a charge.

Google has been a pioneer in driverless car technology. It has extensively tested retrofitted Toyota Priuses in Nevada that can drive themselves. Other automakers have started dipping their toe in testing driverless systems, but none has taken the dive.

Musk tells Bloomberg that driverless driving is the next logical step in the evolution of carsm though he doesn't like the term. "Self-driving sounds like it's going to do something you don't want it to do. Autopilot is a good thing to have in planes, and we should have it in cars," he tells Bloomberg's Alan Ohnsman.

Musk is even talking about how to make Google's driverless system better. Instead of the current system that senses where other cars or hazards are, and how to steer down a road, he thinks an optical system would be an improvement. Cameras and software would be cheaper, he says.

By Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY


USA Today / Gannett

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