The Batmobile Runs on Electricity

Telsa CEO Elon Musk Unveils New VehicleA few days ago I read about Tesla’s new car, the P85D. I was fairly impressed by a lot of the details until I got to a certain paragraph, at which point my brain exploded:

But, Musk said, if you fall asleep while driving, the car should be able to get you home safely. If you try to steer into danger, the wheel will resist. Owners will also be able to summon the car to pick them up autonomously, as long as they’re on private property, where DOT and other regulations don’t apply.

Did Tesla just make the Batmobile available to the mass market?!

Let me repeat the key line for emphasis:

Owners will also be able to summon the car to pick them up autonomously.

Okay. Deep breath. Let’s play this out:

You’re at your country home for the weekend, playing croquet and reading Proust. You decide to hike up to the summit of a nearby mountain/hill to admire the sunset. After enjoying the view, you realize that it’s too dark to walk back down the mountain.

No worries. You pull out your car keys and click the “summon” button. Two miles away back at the lodge, your car wakes up, backs out of its parking space, and drives itself up the mountain to you. By the time it arrives, it’s pre-heated your seat just the way you like it, and it’s playing “We’re Coming Down the Mountain” on the satellite radio.

Mind. Blown.

Let’s play this out a few years after that when the DOT allows autonomous vehicles. It would come in handy at the weekly game night I host. People could pull up in front of my building in their cars, get out, and walk up to my place while their car finds a parking space. When game night’s over, they just click the “summon” button, and the car arrives to pick them up a few minutes later.

I’m not one to get overexcited about cars–I drive a 2003 Camry, after all–but this is really cool. What will you summon your autonomous car for in a few years?

2 thoughts on “The Batmobile Runs on Electricity”

  1. I wonder how long it’ll be before a car can pick up a carryout pizza order for me. The pizza place will surely be able to scan some chip in the car that knows my credit card info. I’ll never have to leave the house or tip for delivery again!

    • Trev: Sure, I see that as completely feasible. It’ll be a weird world in 5-10 years when there aren’t people in some of the cars on the road.


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