Tesla has announced a future model intended to serve as a self-driving taxi. It will have neither steering wheel nor pedal, and could be presented next year. Robotaxi rides were supposed to cost less than a bus ride.
In 2019, Tesla floated the idea of launching a self-driving taxi service. It was then a question of allowing owners of electric cars of the brand to temporarily make their vehicle available to this service.
Since then, the manufacturer has remained fairly discreet about its intentions in this area, and the progress of Autopilot, which is slower than Tesla hoped, must not have helped. However, during the Cyber Rodeo event in early April 2022, Elon Musk announced a future model dedicated to use as a self-driving taxi. The emblematic boss of Tesla was then shown to be quite stingy with details, contenting himself with announcing a look “quite futuristic” for this robotaxi.
On the occasion of the publication of Tesla’s financial results for the first quarter of 2022, Elon Musk was more forthcoming about this model. “It will be highly optimized to be autonomous, meaning it will have no steering wheel or pedals. There are a number of other innovations around it which I think are very interesting, but it’s basically optimized to achieve the lowest possible cost per mile or per km taking everything into account”, he announced. We do not yet know what form this new electric model will take.
Cheaper journeys than by bus
“Looking at our projections, it would appear that a robotaxi ride would cost less than a bus ticket — a subsidized bus ticket or a subsidized metro ticket”explained Elon Musk.
This service, intended to compete with public transport, taxis and VTC would therefore have a financial advantage. According to Elon Musk, this robotaxi could be revealed as early as 2023, for mass production in 2024.
Still, the Autopilot, in its current form, is far from the level 4 or 5 autonomous driving that would be necessary for a service of autonomous taxis. Tesla’s system is indeed level 2, which requires constant monitoring of the driver.