Apple has left it too late to join the autonomous car race, according to Tesla chief executive Elon Musk.
Speaking at the Code Conference in California, Musk explained that he suspected any kind of Apple Car was at least four years away, and that he expected his own firm's vehicles to be completely autonomous in less than half that time.
“I think they should have embarked on this project sooner,” said Musk, during the interview. "I don't think they'll be in production sooner until 2020.”
This is in contrast to Tesla's prospects, according the Musk, and the CEO believes that autonomous Teslas will be ready to (autonomously) roll in less than two years, although it could take a while for regulation to catch up. Regulators, he said, “want to see billions of miles of data that it is statistically true that autonomous driving is safer.”
“It's just a missed opportunity. It's a couple years... they'll make a good car and be successful,” he explained.
Musk added that he welcomed the competition, however, adding, “I think it's great they are doing this - I hope it works out.”
That flourish may feel a little patronising, given this isn't the first time Musk has taken a shot at Apple. Last year the PayPal billionaire and SpaceX founder described Apple as a “Tesla Graveyard,” saying: “If you don't make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple… I'm not kidding.”
He rolled back on this a little, later on though tweeting that Apple is a great company:
Yo, I don't hate Apple. It's a great company with a lot of talented people. I love their products and I'm glad they're doing an EV.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 9 October 2015
You can watch the full Musk interview here, with the comments about the autonomous car scene at the 27 minute mark.