- One year ago, in April 2019, Tesla CEO Elon Musk promised a fleet of self-driving taxis for ride sharing would be deployed in 2020, at the same event where he said self-driving would be launched by the end of 2019.
- In April 2020, Musk has tweeted that robotaxi “functionality [is] still looking good for this year.”
- Tesla recently got a stock-valuation upgrade from Credit Suisse, which could help it as it continues research into its own autonomous ride-sharing fleet.
Last week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk replied on Twitter to a question about the deployment of Tesla’s robotaxi fleet. Musk contends that the functionality will likely be ready by the end of 2020 but that there could be some hangups regulatory wise.
In April 2019, Musk held an investors event to show off the company’s first computer chip to facilitate the Full Self-Driving (FSD) feature eventually coming to Teslas. At the event, Musk announced that autonomous driving would be deployed by the end of 2019 and that Tesla would have a fleet of robotaxis on the road in 2020.
The 2019 deadline for full self-driving has come and gone, but there’s still time for a robotaxi. Of course, these vehicles would still need the FSD feature and Tesla would need to have built a fleet management infrastructure to manage all these self-driving cars. Car and Driver has reached out to Tesla about both these issues and will update this article if they reply.
Musk also responded to a commenter on Twitter complaining about the in-car camera feature that records inside the vehicle. He said it is intended to watch for problems with passengers in a future robotaxi, “for when we start competing with Uber/Lyft & people allow their car to earn money for them as part of the Tesla shared autonomy fleet.”
Aside from that, one development on the road to full self-driving is that Tesla’s Autopilot feature is getting a stoplight and stop-sign feature as a software upgrade. Model 3 and Y vehicles will prime themselves to stop at traffic lights and stop signs. But it’s a far cry from any sort of autonomy that would allow for driverless passenger vehicles.
But 2020 isn’t over yet, and Tesla seems to have wooed investors even during the coronavirus pandemic. According to the Wall Street Journal, Credit Suisse upgraded Tesla as an investment, saying the company is better positioned to emerge from disruptions related to the coronavirus than other automakers. An increased stock price means more money to weather the current storm and continue to work on projects like a robotaxi.