Elon Musk is making a bold prediction: he says there would be over a million robotaxis on the road by 2020, complete with a ride-sharing platform similar to Uber or Lyft that'll let commuters summon a Tesla self-driving car to help them get to places.
This potential system is part of Tesla's broader vision for an autonomous ride-sharing network, according to Musk, who spoke at the company's Autonomy Day event.
"I feel very confident predicting that there will be autonomous robotaxis from Tesla next year — not in all jurisdictions because we won't have regulatory approval everywhere," said Musk, as TechCrunch reports. The CEO did not detail as to what regulations he was referring to. Only that he's confident the company will get regulatory approval somewhere next year.
Tesla And Robotaxis
Tesla will let users add their self-driving vehicles to the ride-sharing app, which, as previously mentioned, will use a similar business model leveraged by Uber or Airbnb. Tesla will take 25 to 30 percent of the revenue from those rides, according to Musk. The company will provide a dedicated fleet of robotaxis in places where there aren't enough people to share their cars.
Musk has been laying out his vision of a robotaxi network since 2016. All new Tesla vehicles now come equipped with the company's custom full self-driving processor. This chip fulfills the hardware requirements for full self-driving, said Musk, who added that it's the best in the world.
The software will play a huge role in Musk's ambitious vision, and he says it'll be "feature complete."
"From our standpoint, if you fast forward a year, maybe a year and three months, but next year for sure, we'll have over a million robotaxis on the road," according to Musk. "The fleet wakes up with an over the air update; that's all it takes."
What About The Law?
The federal government currently doesn't uphold any laws regulating self-driving cars, just voluntary guidelines. Why Musk keeps saying the robotaxi fleet will require regulatory approval seems suspect given this fact. He could be referring to local and state laws that have a say over ride-hailing networks, though.
While Musk's robotaxi future looks enticing, a handful of unknowns remain. For starters, there's the charging situation — Tesla has to figure how to sufficiently and efficiently charge its self-driving cars so they don't die in the middle of the road.
Make sure to check back with Tech Times as we learn more about Musk's robotaxi future.