Elon Musk Says Cars Will Be Banned Unless Driven By Robots

Tesla co-founder and all-round Tony Stark, Elon Musk, has predicted that self-driving cars will eventually become so safe that in the future, human control of vehicles could be banned altogether.

Musk believes that car-based computing is accelerating at such a pace that by the time self-driving cars are actually allowed onto the roads, they'll end up being statistically safer than humans.

Speaking at the Nvidia GPU Technology Conference, Musk explained to NVidia co-founder and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang the process by which AI would be introduced to cars.

"It would be like an elevator. They used to have elevator operators, and then we developed some simple circuitry to have elevators just automatically come to the floor that you're at ... the car is going to be just like that."

When asked how humans would play into this new world Musk replied, It's too dangerous, you can't have a person driving a two-ton death machine."

The transition to a world of autonomous cars would be a slow one though with Musk predicting that even if you took the entire industry and started to shift it over as one it would still take around 20 years.

So while the current trials by Volvo, Audi and Google seem promising, the likelihood is that you won't be letting your car take the wheel for some time.

That doesn't mean cars won't get smarter, indeed Musk was speaking at the conference specifically to highlight the news that Nvidia was now building dedicated chips which would power the car interface systems of the future.

Musk clarified later that Tesla would "always" be in favour of humans driving - but said that it might be legally unsustainable:

As digital dashboards become increasingly popular there's been a boost in the requirement for onboard computers that can power all the technology.

Nvidia's PX system isn't just tied into the entertainment systems, it's also the driving force behind the car's safety systems, analysing camera data, sensor readings and car-to-car communications enabling it to be the closest thing to autonomous that you're likely to see for some time.