Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he will launch the company’s robotaxi program by 2020, according to reports.
“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,” Musk said, although he didn’t mention specific regulations.
People who own equipped Teslas will be able to add their own vehicles to the company’s ride-sharing app, which will work like Uber or other similar companies.
The carmaker will take between 25 percent and 30 percent of the revenue from the rides, and where there aren’t enough cars to go around, Tesla will provide a fleet of robotaxis.
All new Teslas currently being manufactured are equipped with a self-driving chip that Musk said is the “best in the world.” He said the software will be created next, and then it will be ready to go.
“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,” Musk said. “The fleet wakes up with an over-the-air update; that’s all it takes.”
In other self-driving news, Reuters is reporting that Waymo, a company under the umbrella of Alphabet, which owns Google, has picked a Detroit factory to make self-driving cars.
Waymo’s CEO John Krafcik said the company was teaming up with American Axle & Manufacturing to redo a Detroit factory, with the aim of it being operational by the middle of 2019.
Waymo is thought by many to be at the forefront of making self-driving technology a reality, even if many experts think it will be a few years before the tech is actually viable.
Uber, General Motors and, of course, Tesla are all competing to be the first to bring the cars to the masses. Waymo already has a robotaxi fleet in Arizona consisting of retrofitted Chrysler Pacifica minivans, with plans to expand the program.