Tesla is getting Knight Rider-like AI in its cars, according to Elon Musk

Tesla has always positioned its electric vehicles as being at the forefront of automotive technology, and the integration of AI into its cars was always an inevitable outcome. Elon Musk has always been vocal about the dangers of AI but, after leaving the Open AI board due to conflicts with his plans for Tesla, it’s clear he’s making sure whatever goes into his fleet of vehicles isn’t going to be a crazed AI.

Musk hasn’t really provided any clues as to what AI integration in a Tesla would look like but, in response to a fan question on Twitter, he did confirm it could emulate KITT from Knight Rider.

KITT, or Knight Industries Two Thousand, is the car and on-board AI found in the 1980’s show Knight Rider that starred David Hasselhoff. Portrayed by William Daniels, KITT was able to have natural-language conversations with The Hoff and access all the functions of the vehicle to drive itself and take charge in tricky situations.

In 2018, KITT’s sci-fi features aren’t actually all that futuristic at all – which is probably why Musk can so casually say “yes” to having a system similar to that in Tesla cars. In the past Musk has said voice control was coming to Tesla cars but, for it to happen, drivers have to be “able to do pretty much anything via voice command”. For that to happen, AI needs to advance far enough to really understand more than just simple keyword commands.

The KITT reference is likely the car’s ability to understand and act upon commands seamlessly, while also switching to Autopilot when it detects that it needs to. I’d be very surprised if Tesla has plans to bring KITT’s conversational skills to its cars any time soon, but never say never.

I just hope that Daniels reprises his role so we can all pretend to be The Hoff in our Tesla Model 3’s.

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