Tesla to unveil robotaxi on August 8

By automotive-mag.com 3 Min Read

Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to social media last week to announce plans for the reveal of a Tesla robotaxi on August 8.

Musk didn’t provide any further details, though he said during 2022’s opening of Tesla’s plant in Austin, Texas, that Tesla would build a robotaxi at the site.

Musk’s post, which was made on X on April 5, came the same day Reuters, citing multiple sources, reported that Tesla had scrapped plans for its long-promised affordable EV to focus resources on the robotaxi. The robotaxi is thought to share a platform with the affordable EV.

In a separate post on X made in response to the Reuters report, Musk said the news agency was “lying.”

X post by Elon Musk made on April 5, 2024

While the launch of a robotaxi suggests Tesla plans to muscle in on ride services similar to those offered by taxi companies and the likes of Uber and Lyft, or at least offer a robotaxi that can be used by those companies, Tesla has been promising since as early as 2016 that private individuals would eventually be able to rent out their cars as robotaxis via a service called the Tesla Network.

When announcing the Tesla Network, Tesla said that individuals using their Tesla’s for providing lifts for friends or family would be possible outside of the service but anyone doing it for revenue purposes would only be to via the Tesla Network. Musk in 2019 said Tesla would take a cut of any revenue generated, hinting at a figure of 25-30% at the time.

Tesla is yet to demonstrate a self-driving system that can function without the need for a human driver behind the wheel monitoring the road at all times. The automaker’s most advanced automated driving technology offered at present is a driver-assist system ranked at Level 2 on the SAE scale of self-driving capability.

Robotaxi services already on offer, like Alphabet’s Waymo One and Baidu’s Apollo Go, are ranked at Level 4 on the scale. A Level 4 self-driving car can drive on its own but is still limited by set conditions, the typical one being within a pre-mapped geofenced area. Level 5 is the ultimate goal, i.e. a self-driving car that can match the capability of a human driver.

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