Fear not, humanity – Saint Elon has finished part two of his world-saving 'master plan'
Sustainability and sharing isn't just some 'silly, hippy thing,' says Musk
Solar-panel roofs on cars, compact SUVs, and high-passenger-density urban transport are all part of Elon Musk's self-titled "master plan, part deux" for the world.
The SpaceX and Tesla Motors supremo has just finished writing the second part of his blueprint for the future of humanity. The ultimate goal is sustainability, Musk explained last night. "The point of all this was, and remains, accelerating the advent of sustainable energy."
Musk stressed that sustainability wasn't just some "silly, hippy thing," as it mattered for everyone.
"By definition, we must at some point achieve a sustainable energy economy or we will run out of fossil fuels to burn and civilization will collapse. Given that we must get off fossil fuels anyway, and that virtually all scientists agree that dramatically increasing atmospheric and oceanic carbon levels is insane, the faster we achieve sustainability, the better," he wrote.
Solar power is high on the list of priorities for Musk, and he envisions Tesla cars with roofs that convert the power of sunshine into electricity.
To accelerate his idea of sustainability, Musk is focusing engineering efforts on "designing the machine that makes the machine" in order to scale up the production of sedans into future compact SUVs and pickup trucks.
Cars aren't his only target. The wacky technology entrepreneur also wants heavy-duty trucks and buses run on electricity instead of fossil fuels too. A new model called the Tesla Semi has been planned to deliver a "substantial reduction in the cost of cargo transport, while increasing safety and making it really fun to operate."
All Tesla vehicles will be autonomous and self-driving with fail-operational capability, "meaning that any given system in the car could break and your car will still drive itself safely."
But there will be a significant time gap before true self-driving is approved by regulators, Musk noted. Refining and validating the software will take much longer than integrating the hardware for Tesla vehicles.
Last month, the gruesome death of a Tesla driver was a reminder that the autonomous technology still has a long way to go. Musk said Tesla is employing "partial autonomy" now and promised it would improve its beta version until driverless cars were at least ten times safer than the US vehicle average.
Driverless cars are part of a wider dream of a sharing culture that Musk envisions for the future. The idea is that driverless cars will be shared and used like a taxi service. Owners of Tesla cars can add their car to the taxi pool, loaning it out to passengers in need when they aren't using it themselves.
The income generated from people renting their cars will decrease the cost of owning a Tesla vehicle, Musk wrote. ®