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Tesla eyes 'autopilot' partnership with Google

Tesla CEO Elon Musk says that while his company could build its own autopilot feature, it could also partner with Google for that.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
Google's self-driving car technology on display with co-founder Larry Page and Sergey Brin, along with executive chairman Eric Schmidt.
Google's self-driving car technology on display with co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, along with Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt. Google

Tesla, the electric car maker, has been in talks with Google about the development of a self-driving car, the former's CEO revealed Tuesday.

In a Bloomberg interview, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that his company has "had some technical discussions with Google" about the search giant's self-driving car technology. However, he pointed out that the technology that Google uses, which is based on laser sensors to detect what's around, is too expensive to be feasible anytime soon.

Instead, Musk told Bloomberg, he'd like to see a camera-based system that "sees" what's around a vehicle and, with help from software, drives the car for the individual. And although he acknowledged that the project would likely be something that his company would develop, a Google partnership isn't out of the question.

"I think Tesla will most likely develop its own autopilot system for the car, as I think it should be camera-based, not Light Detection and Ranging-based," Musk told Bloomberg. "However, it is also possible that we do something jointly with Google."

Musk doesn't believe that a car on autopilot will be making its way to his company's electric vehicles anytime soon. His company's main focus right now, he says, is expanding the reach of electric cars.