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Elon Musk: Autopilot will push Tesla to $500B market cap

The executive believes Tesla's self-driving tech is the best in the industry.

Elon Musk has made a bold prediction that Autopilot will eventually make Tesla a $500 billion company.

The CEO mentioned the estimate during an investor call hosted by Citibank and Goldman Sachs as the company prepares to raise an additional $2 billion or more to fund future operations, according to CNBC.

With a current market cap around $44 billion, Tesla's stock value would need to jump by a factory of more than 10 to achieve Musk's goal. At $500 billion, the automaker would be worth more than Facebook and Exxon Mobil.

Musk recently argued that Tesla's new neural-network chips and fleet of Autopilot-equipped cars have allowed the company to lead the race toward full self-driving capability. The executive criticized the competition by claiming that lidar -- used by nearly every self-driving company except for Tesla -- is a "fools errand" that gives a "false sense of progress."

Tesla has taken a unique approach in its deployment of self-driving features. The company promises that its fleet will soon have the ability to operate in full self-driving mode, initially requiring drivers to remain attentive with their hands on the wheel until enough miles have been logged to demonstrate a safety improvement that is acceptable to regulators.

Tesla has predicted that the hands-on restriction will be lifted sometime in the next year. The timing has been met with skepticism, however, as the company is known for falling behind schedule.

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