Musk said he aims to dispatch a driverless vehicle from Los Angeles to New York by the end of next year.
"This is going to have a big impact forcing the hands of regulators," said Mike Ramsey of market researcher Gartner. And on other automakers, too: "If [Tesla] is successful the others will be saying 'we are so far behind!'"
Automakers have said driverless cars could be ready for sale within three to five years, but Tesla appears to be moving faster.
Kelley Blue Book analyst Karl Brauer called the Tesla news “a big upfront commitment to self-driving technology that other automakers may not be willing to make at this point.”
The National Highway and Safety Administration issued loose guidelines for driverless car regulation last month, urging states and cities to coordinate new rules so a mishmash of regulations doesn’t impede the development of driverless cars.
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