Tesla held the press conference for its Autonomy Investor Day earlier today, with the nearly four-hour long event featuring a lot of announcements and plans for the electric carmaker.
One such plan includes the launch of a robotaxi-powered ride sharing network that Tesla wants to get up and running in 2020.
Tesla’s Elon Musk spoke about this specific plan from the company, with the CEO noting that he expects robotaxis to be operational in some capacity next year, adding that regulatory hurdles in certain areas will limit its availability.
Unfortunately Musk did not mention what specific regulations are required for such a service to be implemented, but did say that they have approval from a number of states and cities in the US. Whether this service will extend beyond the United States in 2020, however, remains to be seen.
Powering this network is Tesla’s recently developed full self-driving car chip, which will be the backbone and a necessary component should Tesla car owners wish to utilise the forthcoming service.
They also noted that the ride sharing service will have a similar revenue scheme to that of Uber and Airbnb, with the company taking 25 to 30 percent of the revenue, according to TechCrunch. Musk also added that in areas where there aren’t enough Tesla owners, the company will provide a dedicated fleet of robotaxis.
While this project is indeed intriguing, and has a similar goal in mind as Uber and Lyft does, there are still some lingering questions. For example who is responsible should a Tesla car in robotaxi mode be involved in an accident, or what if a passenger damages or messes in a vehicle if the owner is not present?
It’s these kinds of smaller considerations that Tesla should now put its mind too for the robotaxi network.
With Tesla aiming to get a robotaxi ride sharing service ready for next year, the more important question is when South Africans will be able to purchase the EVs locally.