Elon Musk – the SpaceX and Tesla founder – isn’t shy of making optimistic sounding predictions. After forecasting that SpaceX will have humans on Mars in just seven years’ time, Musk has stated that he fully expects a fleet of autonomous Teslas to be moonlighting as driverless Uber rivals by the end of 2020.
“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, in comments reported by Techcrunch.
The idea is that Tesla owners would share their rides autonomously when not in use, with the company taking 25-30% of the fees generated. In areas where not enough people owned Teslas or they weren’t sharing their vehicles for some reason, the company would step in and provide its own.
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This is possible, Musk claimed, because all new Tesla vehicles now come with the company’s full self-driving chip built in. “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 explained. “The fleet wakes up with an over the air update; that’s all it takes.”
Making the claims as part of the company’s Autonomous Day, Musk reaffirmed his belief that driverless cars are the future, and human controlled vehicles will one day be looked back on as a dangerous anachronism. “I’m very convinced: In the future, people will want to outlaw people driving their own cars because they’ll be unsafe,” the New York Times quotes him as saying.
Is this timeline realistic or is Elon Musk being ridiculously optimistic? Let us know what you think on Twitter: @TrustedReviews.