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Tesla hopes cars will drive themselves cross-country by 2018

You could ask your EV to travel from coast to coast, if you're willing to wait.

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Tesla only just introduced the ability to summon your car from its parking spot, but it already has much, much larger ambitions. Company chief Elon Musk is predicting that the Model S' just-introduced Summon feature will work anywhere within two years, or around 2018. As he puts it, you could ask your electric vehicle in New York City to meet you in Los Angeles -- so long as you could afford to wait a couple of days, you wouldn't have to budge. The company's snake-like automatic chargers would keep the EV running on these lengthy journeys.

That's a pretty ambitious claim (even from a CEO known for making bold predictions), and there's a good chance that political realities will prevent Tesla from fulfilling its dreams so quickly. Only a handful of US states currently allow self-driving cars in any form, let alone vehicles whose owners aren't in the same state. And of course, autonomous driving is that much more daunting when the machine has to travel across a whole country. Musk told those on a conference call that cars would need a "lot of redundancy" to make sure they don't need human involvement in mid-trip. The groundwork should exist, however, and it might not take too much longer before your car can always catch up with you.

[Image credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images]

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