Tesla wants to be autonomous, and that could happen as soon as this summer. The company’s CEO said in a statement last week that “we’ll be there in a few years,” which prompted many to speculate about how soon vehicles would become autonomous entirely. However, the logic against autonomous vehicles in the very near future is legal.

It was reported on this week that self-driving vehicles would be a massive convenience and theoretically – if integrated correctly – would have huge impacts legally. At this point, even as Elon Musk has been incredibly vocal about self-driving cars, especially within the Tesla space, it remains to be seen whether the company would actually be able to make a go of it legally.


When Musk spoke this week, he also pointed out that Model S vehicles would be receiving a software update that would ultimately allow them to become self-driving. Surprisingly, that update would be coming this summer. Karl Brauer of Kelley Blue Book though emphasized the legal concerns. He said, “Best case scenario, it’s unclear. If you’re an individual that starts doing it, you’d better hope nothing goes wrong.”

It’s a good question, too. While there isn’t any legal content out there right now that clearly calls it “illegal” to own or operate a self-driving car, the lack of legal content on the subject – is concern worthy. Brauer went on to say, “It’s not just a philosophical reason why automakers haven’t allowed their vehicles to drive themselves. There’s a legal reason, too.”

It makes logical sense, and there is a definite reason why automakers to this point have been cautious about it. Perhaps it’s just an expensive change that isn’t feasible to the average consumer. That would be a logical reason for automakers to avoid self-driving cars, but at the end of the day – the legal concerns exist, too.

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All valid questions and concerns, it remains to be seen when these updates will roll out officially, and what they will entail. Just how “autonomous” Model S vehicles are, will remain to be seen, and what the legal implications are – if nothing else.