Tesla said it is expecting to deploy self-driving “robotaxis” by 2020.
Tesla expects to launch the first robotaxis as part of broader vision for an autonomous ride-sharing network in 2020 claims CEO of the company, Elon Musk.
The CEO confidently predicts that there will be autonomous robotaxis from Tesla in 2020, not in all jurisdictions because they wouldn’t have regulatory approval everywhere. He added that he is confident the company will have regulatory approval somewhere next year.
Tesla will enable owners to add their properly equipped vehicles to its own ride-sharing app, which will have a similar business model and strategies to Uber or Airbnb. Tesla will take 25 percent to 30 percent of the revenue from those rides. In places where there aren’t enough people to share their cars, Tesla would provide a dedicated fleet of robotaxis.
Musk has talked about the Tesla Network and ambitions to allow owners to place their vehicles on the ride-hailing app since 2016.
All new Tesla vehicles are now produced with its custom full self-driving computer chip. That chip fulfills the hardware requirements for full self-driving, according to Musk, who boasted that it was the best in the world. Tesla vehicles are equipped with a suite of sensors such as forward-facing radar and cameras. It does not have light detection and ranging radar, a sensor that most AV developers say is critical.
The remaining step is the software, which will be a “feature complete” with a reliability level.
Musk also noted at numerous times that the full self-driving and the robotaxi fleet will require regulatory approval. However, he didn’t explain the kind of regulatory approvals which shall be required. The federal government does not have any laws regulating autonomous vehicles. There are only voluntary guidelines. And if the vehicles are not altered in any way on the hardware side — such as removing the steering wheel or pedals, it’s unclear how the federal government could limit Tesla.
They could be referring to local and state laws that regulate ride-hailing networks. Recharging the Tesla robotaxis is one of few challenges that the company will face as it prepares to deploy. It notedly foreseen that he sees a future where the robotaxis would return home and automatically park and recharge.