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WGS 2017 – Tesla launches in UAE as CEO predicts future of mass autonomy

US electrical car maker Tesla has launched its services in the UAE - following an official announcement by Tesla CEO, Elon Musk at the World Government Summit. Tesla has initiated operations in Dubai, and also disclosed plans to open a shop and service station in Abu Dhabi next year.

Tesla CEO, Elon Musk revealed that he planned to invest millions in the UAE on infrastructure including recharging stations - predicting that in the next twelve months consumers will be able to drive anywhere with an electric vehicle. Musk said, "We expect to invest tens of millions of dollars in the UAE for charging, service, and support infrastructure. By next year, you'll be able to travel anywhere in the GCC with an electric vehicle."

Musk believes the biggest challenge facing Tesla is trying to persuade car buyers to switch from petrol to electric, but is excited about expanding operations in the UAE. That said - orders have already started for Tesla's Model S sedan and Model X SUV, which are expected to be delivered this summer. Prices start from Dh275,000 for the Model S and Dh344,000 for the X.

A pop-up shop will be launched in Dubai Mall, a Tesla Ranger support center and service center will be erected near Interchange 2 of Sheikh Zayed Road, which is due to be open in July.

Chairman of the World Government Summit, Mohammad Abdulla Algerawi, then conducted an interview with Tesla's CEO on stage at the World Government Summit - in what was a captivating, thought provoking and ultimately fascinating experience for the large audience assembled to hear the thoughts of the tech visionary.

Musk outlined his vision for his organizations Tesla and SpaceX - and claimed that mass adoption of autonomous vehicles by car manufacturers was going to happen much quicker than people expect.

Musk said: "My guess is that in probably about ten years it will be very unusual for cars to be built that aren't fully autonomous. Almost all cars that will be produced will be capable of full autonomy in about ten years. Tesla cars that are made today have the sensor system necessary for full autonomy and we think probably enough compute power to be safer than a person."

The Chairman of the World Government Summit recalled the time when he first met with Musk at his office in SpaceX in July, 2015, and queried if he had plans to have a presence in the UAE, at that time Musk responded by saying, 'I'm busy in China, so not in the near future'. But in eighteen months he has made the decision to expand to the UAE - so why did the Tesla CEO make the move?

Musk said, "Well things are going reasonably well in China, we had some initial challenges figuring our charging and service infrastructure and various other things, but now it's going very well - so the timing appeared to be good to really make a significant debut in this region starting in Dubai."

When asked what's next in technology, Musk said the most near term impact from a technology standpoint is autonomous cars. Musk said: "It's going to happen much faster than people realize and it's going to be a great convenience to have an autonomous car, but there are many people whose job is to drive - in fact it might be the single largest employer of people is driving in various forms. So we need to figure out new roles for what do those people, but it will be very disruptive and quick."

Musk also added later in the conversation that he fully believes that in the future there will be a Universal Basic Income - simply because he feels there will be very few jobs we can do that can't be done better by a robot.