"All Tesla cars being produced right now have everything necessary for full self-driving. All you need to do is improve the software."
That's what Elon Musk said during the Tesla Autonomy Investment Day, and he said it so confidently he even repeated himself. The CEO says the company will have autonomous taxis on the road at some point in 2020.
While the tech itself might be close to ready, he noted that, at least at first, the vehicles won't be “in all jurisdictions, because we won’t have regulatory approval everywhere, but I am confident we will have at least regulatory approval somewhere, literally next year."
Musk also predicts that Tesla will be making vehicles with no peddles or steering wheels within two years, which actually sounds a little terrifying to be completely honest. Either way, his confidence stems from the sheer volume of data Tesla can collect from its cars already on the road, which it intends to use to ramp up and improve the software side of things.
The plan gets more ambitious yet, with the CEO introducing its own ride-sharing app which will effectively let Tesla owners run their own driverless Uber/Lyft/Ola/etc competitors. Usage can be restricted to family and friends if you'd prefer and Tesla will take 25-30 per cent of the ride revenue, with the rest going straight to you.
Tesla owners will be able to add their cars to the autonomous ride-sharing network, can restrict usage to friends/families, or disable altogether. It’s your car. Tesla would take a 25-30% cut of the ride-sharing revenue and you’d keep the rest. pic.twitter.com/8mebDFQG49
— Quinn Nelson (@SnazzyQ) April 22, 2019
This certainly isn't Musk's first ambitious rodeo, so he was quick to tell investors that he may be slow to deliver. “Sometimes I am not on time, but I get it done,” he said.
Former Apple exec, Pete Bannon, who now serves as Tesla's Director, told investors that the company's latest chip is designed to process large amounts of data very quickly, claiming that it could even outperform Nvidia's Xavier chips by a factor of seven.
The chip can allegedly perform its tasks without overheating or over-draining the car's battery. It'll likely be manufactured in Austin with Samsung, as their current chips are, and will be available within two years.
For those who already own Teslas but are keen on newer features, a "Full Self-Driving" package is available for $US5,000, which currently includes some light self-driving features like Summon.
Whichever way you slice it, Musk and his mates have some pretty big goals on the horizon. It'll be very interesting to see how it all plays out, particularly from the view of driverless vehicle legislation.