Tesla Model 3 May Be Fully Autonomous

Telsa Model 3 -Publicity-H 2016
Courtesy of Michael Walker

Elon Musk hints strongly that the Model 3, Tesla's entry-level sedan, will be capable of fully autonomous driving when introduced in 2017.

Tesla's Model 3 will be delivered capable of fully autonomous driving, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk strongly suggested during an appearance at the Code Conference this week in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. 

During a Q&A session, Musk said that Tesla "would do the obvious thing," when directly asked if the Model 3 would be fully autonomous and added that there would be "another big event" regarding the car's development later this year.

Tesla's Autopilot technology is currently available on its Model X SUV and later builds of the Model S sedan and allows semi-autonomous driving. At the conference, Musk predicted that Tesla would be ready to field a fully autonomous car within two years and that federal and state regulations would take another year.

Tesla has invested heavily in autonomous driving, and the Model 3 increasingly looks like it will be the launch vehicle for the technology when the $40,000 sedan debuts in late 2017 — provided the car does not encounter the manufacturing delays that plagued the Model X, which launched nearly two years late.

Musk said the design for the Model 3 — a prototype debuted in March — should be completed in six weeks.

Tesla has booked more than 400,000 deposits for the Model 3.