Today, Tesla held its Autonomy Day presentation, where the company discussed many of its efforts in self-driving technologies. The company announced that its new Full Self-Driving (FSD) Computer is now being built into every Tesla model right out of the factory, and it promises to be more capable than any other system of its kind that's currently available. Along with that, the company has announced plans to launch a "Robotaxi" service sometime next year.
As you can infer from the name, Robotaxi will be a ride-hailing service, similar to the likes of Uber and Lyft, but it will be powered by self-driving vehicles alone. Anyone who owns a Tesla can choose to share their car for this purpose, but the company itself will also provide a fleet of cars for areas where there might not be enough customers to share rides. Tesla would also take between 25% and 30% of the revenue from rides.
This service would be enabled by the aforementioned FSD computer, which is capable of providing full autonomy in driving without requiring a human driver. The missing element, for now, is software, which still has to catch up with the capabilities of the system. Musk claims that the software should be ready to handle full self-driving scenarios sometime next year. "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, adding that the fleet can come alive with a simple software update.
The CEO of Tesla did note, however, that availability for the service would be dependent on regulatory approval in different regions, so it won't be available everywhere right off the bat. Musk is also known for being overconfident in his predictions, so it remains to be seen just how soon people will actually start being able to use the Robotaxi service.
Nonetheless, Tesla isn't the only company gearing up to provide fully autonomous rides to users. Alphabet's Waymo has been testing a similar service in some parts of the United States.