How Tesla will have robotaxis ready in 2024
A new revolution is coming to the car industry when two technologies converge: more efficient manufacturing processes and autonomous software.
Although robotaxis and autonomous driving software have been part of Tesla’s goals since Master Plan 2 in 2016, specific timelines and deployment dates have been quite vague in the past.
But this has changed in a private event organized by Goldman Sachs where Martin Viecha, Head of Tesla’s Investors Relations, unveiled detailed plans for the company’s robotaxi network in the following years.
Robotaxis and the advent of transport as a service
The development of all-purpose, self-driving vehicles, would be a giant leap in transport and could be considered Tesla’s phase 2 after the huge success of its electric vehicles.
Although these ride-hailing autonomous services already exist via companies such as Waymo and Cruise, Tesla’s plans are a lot more ambitious.
Existing cars have a limited working area which has to be mapped in detail and continuously monitored for changes. Also, the vehicles are equipped with expensive gadgets such as LIDARs, which are high-resolution laser-based machines to map the surroundings in real time. These, along with radar, cameras, and ultrasonic sensors provide as much information as possible to the onboard system to be able to take the right driving decisions.
Instead, Tesla’s Full Self Driving software is designed to work anywhere, in any weather condition, and only relies on cameras to feed the system which simplifies both, hardware and software, in a great manner.
This translates into a cheaper, easier-to-run vehicle that can be deployed at a lower cost anywhere and that cannot only make short rides but also provide customers with intercity connections.
Martin Viecha said at the conference that they want to build a third generation cheaper vehicle (Models S and X are the first generation and Models 3 and Y the second) for this robotaxi service.