What Are Tesla’s Robotaxis?

Published on 22 Jul 2022

Tesla, Robotaxis

In April of 2019, Tesla was the host of an event that was branded "Autonomy Day." During the occasion, Elon Musk expressed optimism that fully autonomous vehicles and robotaxis would be available by the end of 2020. However, looking back on it today, we can see that the prognosis was too optimistic since developing completely autonomous cars is still an extremely difficult task.

However, is the vision presented in 2019 ever going to come true? Most probably yes. This article will cover everything we know about Tesla’s robotaxis and the autonomous taxi industry.

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What Is A Robotaxi?

A completely autonomous vehicle that can pick up passengers and drop them off at their destinations without the need for a driver to be present inside the vehicle is what is referred to as a robotaxi. To put it simply, a robotaxi is an autonomous vehicle that operates similarly to a taxi or an Uber.

The high cost of transportation services might be attributed to the drivers in the industry. The use of autonomous vehicles is thought to have the potential to contribute to a reduction in these costs and make transportation more affordable for regular use.

On the other hand, in contrast to the launch of games and applications, the launch of an autonomous vehicle involves real risks and dangers that have the potential to cause serious injury or even death. At the core of autonomous cars are software-defined architectures and processors from Nvidia that are tuned for deep neural networks. Nevertheless, putting in place all of this infrastructure and getting it operational is not a simple task in and of itself. The introduction of a robotaxi service is still a concept for the far future.

Tesla's Robotaxi

After Musk's assertions in 2019, the concept of Tesla's Robotaxi moved closer to being an actual reality. Musk claimed, "Within the next year, without a doubt, there will be more than one million robotaxis operating on the roads. An over-the-air update brings the fleet back to consciousness. Simply saying that is sufficient." It generated excitement in the consumer sector.

This is because Tesla already has thousands of models on the road, all equipped with eight cameras, so video records can be gathered from every aspect. This provides Tesla with access to a vast collection of datasets, the availability of which is essential for machine learning.

As the CEO of Waymo, John Krafcik said, some industry professionals continued to express skepticism over the viability of autonomous cars. "Tesla does not even remotely qualify as a rival of our company. We are the manufacturer of an entirely self-sufficient driving system. The automobile manufacturer Tesla is in the process of creating a very capable driver aid system."

He also said that a business could not keep working to improve its driver assistance system while maintaining the expectation that it would one day be entirely driverless. On the other hand, Musk provided a response to these claims by stating, "To my astonishment, Tesla has superior AI, Hardware, and Software than Waymo (money)."

Therefore, because of the very high standards that Musk has established, the robotaxi that Tesla is developing is continuing to be scrutinized by industry experts. Despite the fact that Musk continues to be convinced that Tesla is on the cusp of achieving SAE Level 5 complete autonomy, his promises continue to bite him in the rear.

What Are Robotaxi Market Shares?

It is expected that the value of the robotaxi market will reach $1.03 billion in 2023 and then skyrocket to 38.61 billion in 2030. The pandemic induced a substantial decline in the transportation sector since drivers were unable to take the risk of transporting arbitrary passengers. Additionally, passengers have the misconception that an infected driver represents a high-risk carrier.

The market is very dependent on drivers, and there is a genuine need for autonomous taxis and delivery vehicles. Due to this, there was an upsurge in the number of investors interested, which led to an increase in market value. Companies like Tesla and Waymo, Lyft, Uber, and Ford, amongst a few others, are among the key stockholders in this sector.

Because of the growing demand for safety on the roads and the heightened concerns for safety regulations, the development of autonomous cars is now receiving a higher priority. The fact that robotaxis are powered by cameras and sensors eliminates the potential for accidents and offers them an additional edge in the business. These considerations guarantee that the share value of the robotaxi market will continue to increase.

What's a Robotaxi Fleet?

When a corporation chooses to test its autonomous cars in a group, they are said to have created a robotaxi fleet. As a precautionary measure, these automobiles come with engineers or drivers on board. The largest fleet that has been tested to this yet was provided by Cruise Automation, which sent out 46 Chevrolet Bolt EVs into public roads.

Which Other Businesses Are Currently Engaged in the Development of Robotaxis?

There are many more companies in the industry besides Tesla who are working on the same initiative. It has become a contest between some of the world's largest heavyweights in the automobile industry to become the first to provide autonomous transportation service in the form of robotaxi.

A number of firms, including Hyundai, Waymo, Cruise, Uber, Yandex, Didi, Baidu, and Ford, are currently researching and developing the concept of a robotaxi. All firms are making rapid progress, with the majority depending significantly on the processors manufactured by Nvidia.

It is one thing to create an autonomous vehicle that is capable of driving itself; it is a completely different thing to be able to deploy such a vehicle on public roadways. There are many serious issues in this situation, and it's possible that Tesla is thinking much beyond its capabilities.

Once the robotaxis are ready, they will be met with regulatory hurdles from authorities that will not permit an act of such high risk because of the potential consequences. In addition, there are significant difficulties in relation to the regularities of insurance policies on the assignment of fault in the case of an accident.

See also: Amazon’s Alexa on Wheels Sparks Fresh Concerns About Privacy

One of Tesla's other competitors, Lucid, overheard its CEO Rawlinson remark, "My guess is that it would be another 10 years before we see whole fleets of robotaxis. Even with the most cutting-edge detection technology available, we aren't going to see them any time soon." It’s interesting to note that Rawlinson served as Tesla's Chief Engineer.

Featured image: Automation vector created by vectorjuice


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