During the grand opening ceremonies Thursday for Tesla’s new GigaTexas factory, CEO Elon Musk said the company will build “dedicated” self-driving taxis, although he didn’t say when.
Looking the part of a Texan with a black cowboy hat and sunglass, Musk said the company’s taxis would “look futuristic.” He also said they would come in large numbers, “Massive scale (with) full self-driving. There’s going to be a dedicated robotaxi.”
The push to build robotaxis presents several challenges, first and foremost is the design. He says it will be futuristic. However, the Cybertruck also sports a futuristic design, but it’s been problematic moving the truck from a working concept to a mass-producible vehicle. Part of the reason is the shape, Musk has previously noted.
As a result, the truck’s production date has been delayed at least twice, most recently last year. It’s projected to arrive in 2023, although naysayers aren’t confident it’ll even make that deadline. Introducing another product with a unique exterior could hamper production of the robotaxi in a similar way.
Full self-driving represents big money potential
Musk has long asserted that full self-driving will be a massive game changer not just for the people using the technology but for Tesla. First and foremost, it’s added to the company’s bottom line. Tesla’s offered the technology in vehicles for a few years and steadily raised the price from $3,000 to now $12,000.
It’s not purchased by every buyer, but it can add as much as 20% to the price of a new Tesla, depending upon the model. Musk has reiterated the technology, which is currently in the beta testing stage with more than 50,000 users, is improving rapidly. He said during a call in January he would be “shocked” if FSD didn’t outperform human drivers by the end of this year.
The CEO said during the event that the company is making the beta software to all North American full self-driving subscribers later this year. The software’s reportedly been installed in 60,000 vehicles in the U.S., Reuters reported.
Source: The Detroit Bureau Read More