Elon Musk has declared that by 2020, Tesla will have a million self-driving taxis on the road. It’s a very bold claim but then would we really expect anything less from Mr Musk?
He recently shared a video of himself with his hands off the wheel and announced that “full self-driving”, which will respond to stop signs and traffic lights and be able to drive in a city, will be available by the end of 2019. However, human supervision will still be necessary.
Tesla’s Autopilot technology is still quite controversial as there is a worry that some owners have overestimated the system’s abilities.
Currently, Tesla’s driver-assist technology requires a lot of human observation and vigilance. But it can help a driver keep their distance, change lanes and in its most sophisticated form, navigate them down a motorway.
However, Elon Musk recently set the bar even higher by claiming that next year, the self-driving cars will be so technologically advanced that humans will be able to fall asleep in them whilst they are in motion.
Additionally, an Uber-like taxi network could be created that would be able to send cars to passengers who request a lift. It’s also a possibility that people could send out their vehicles to make money for them whilst they’re either at their day job, or at home! Musk claims that drivers would make around $30,000 (£23,000) a year from their cars (with Tesla taking around 25%). It makes the prospect of investing in a $50,000 Tesla car now seem like a wise investment.
And to top it all off, he’s said that in the future that Tesla will create vehicles that don’t need a steering wheel nor a pedal.
The majority of companies that are developing automated software for vehicles use a combination of sensor types including lidar, radar and cameras. Tesla does not use such a system claiming lidar, a system that uses lasers to detect the position of objects, as “lame.”
There’s no doubt his latest plan of action is a bold one, and with such a tight deadline, it will be interesting to see if he meets it!