Tesla Sets to Launch Robotaxis in 2020, Says CEO Elon Musk

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has revealed during the company’s “Autonomy Investor Day” that beginning next year, in 2020, the company will launch its robotaxis.

“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 during Tesla’s Autonomy Investor Day.

In an explanatory note about the robotaxi plan, Tesla’s First Quarter 2019 Update said that the company’s custom-made robotaxi, which costs less than $38,000 to produce, is capable of running about “a million miles using a single battery pack” with all the sensors and computing power for full autonomy. Tesla said that its custom-made robotaxi, with low vehicle cost, low maintenance cost and an expected powertrain efficiency of 4.5 miles per kWh would make it the most profitable autonomous taxi on the market.

Tesla’s robotaxi model is patterned after ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft. Unlike the other ride-hailing services, however, Tesla’s ride-hailing service only allows the use of the company’s custom-made robotaxi and the use of the company’s own ride-hailing app.

The company said that its custom-made robotaxi and its ride-hailing app are powered by its new in-house designed full self-driving (FSD) computer and its AI-based software. The company said that its new in-house designed full self-driving computer is capable of processing 2,300 images per second, about 21 times more than the processor that the company previously used. The AI-based software, meanwhile, was trained by more than 400,000 Tesla vehicles.

These new in-house designed full self-driving computer and AI-based software, Tesla said, will collectively serve as a foundation in enabling its vehicles fully autonomous, although subject to regulatory approvals, and will enable Tesla and its customers to use the Tesla ride-hailing network fleet and generate income.