Tesla is expecting to deploy self-driving “robotaxis” by 2020 as it unveiled its upgraded technology for driverless vehicles.
“I feel very confident in predicting autonomous robotaxis next year,” Chief executive Elon Musk saying he expected the plan to operate on a model similar to that of Uber or Airbnb.
Tesla would be adding a rideshare app and that owners who chose to participate in the network could benefit from that. “The fundamental utility of the vehicle increases by a factor of five” with a rideshare system, he said.
“At first, it seems improbable how could it be that Tesla, which has never designed a chip before, could design the best chip in the world?” he said.
The new chip is being installed in all its vehicles, clearing the way to improve its software and “neural networks” that will effectively drive the autonomous vehicles. “All you need to do is improve the software.”
Musk said he expected that with Tesla technology, drivers “would not need to touch the wheel” sometime early next year and that he hoped for regulatory approvals in some areas later in 2020.
Musk also argued that the neural network technology, based on artificial intelligence, was better than the Lidar systems used by rivals that are based on light pulses.