The electric car maker giant Tesla expects to launch the very first Robotaxi network by the year of 2020. The CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk has stated during the company’s Autonomy Day that this is part of Tesla’s broader vision for a completely autonomous ride-sharing network in the future.
Musk feels very confident about Tesla’s plan to launch a robotaxi network although he thinks that due to some regulatory roadblocks his fleet of autonomous taxis cannot be deployed everywhere. The CEO of Tesla did not go into details about what sort of regulations he was referring to for his robotaxis. He also added further that he is very confident that the electronic car maker will get all the necessary regulatory approval by next year.
Tesla will allow its owners to add their electric vehicles to its own ride-sharing app, which the company says that it will share a similar business model to the likes of Uber or Airbnb. Tesla will take around 25 to 30 percent of the revenue that will be earned from those rides. In certain regions where there won’t be enough people to share their cars into the network, Tesla will provide a dedicated fleet of robotaxis for those regions.
The CEO of Tesla has talked about this Robotaxi Network and the company’s ambitions to allow their owners to place their vehicles on their own ride-hailing app since early 2016.
All new Tesla vehicles are now produced with the company’s custom full self-driving computer chip, which is a detail that Elon Musk revealed during the Autonomy Day event. This sophisticated computer chip will fulfill the hardware requirements for complete autonomous driving, according to Musk, who boasted that this technology was the best in the planet. Tesla vehicles are already equipped with a host of sensitive sensors which include forward-facing radar systems and onboard cameras. It does not yet have the Lidar technology, or light detection and ranging radar, which is a sensor that most self-driving developers say is a critical component for autonomous vehicles, but Musk has downplayed the importance of that technology.
The remaining step of the system is the software solution, which Elon Musk has said that it will feature a complete and reliable level of accuracy such that people would not need to consider to pay attention while driving their Tesla cars, and this is expected to be rolled out by the middle of 2020.
From Tesla’s standpoint, they are expecting that within a couple of years, the Tesla Robotaxi network will consist of over a million robotaxis on the streets of the US.
Musk has also noted on numerous occasions that the full self-driving capabilities of the robotaxi fleet will need some sort of regulatory approval in order to operate freely. However, he did not explain as to what kind of regulatory approval is needed for the robotaxi network. The US federal government currently does not have any laws which regulate the deployment of autonomous vehicles. There are only some voluntary guidelines to follow. And if these vehicles are not changed in any way on the hardware side, tweaks such as removing the steering pedals or wheels, then it is unclear as to how the US federal government could regulate the robotaxi network of Tesla.
The biggest challenge to the deployment of Tesla robotaxis is to build up the charging infrastructure for its fleet.
Elon Musk has also noted that he envisions a future in which the autonomous robotaxis would be able to return home and automatically park and recharge on their own.