Tesla founder Elon Musk is still convinced that fully autonomous electric cars can be made available later this year. Above all, they want to bring a taxi fleet onto the streets that do its own work.
Musk had already spoken of the vision of being able to use a million vehicles by the end of the year that would transport people to their destinations if necessary. It should not be about newly produced cars, but about the cars that have already been sold. They should be able to release their users as autonomous taxis whenever they do not need them themselves.
On the one hand, this would ensure that cars are no longer parked somewhere uselessly more than 90 percent of the time. And the service could also generate steady additional income for the respective owner. With a software update, the corresponding feature could be retrofitted to many of the Teslas already sold. And Musk also goes according to his latest statements assume that the development of the autonomy algorithms will reach a level this year that would allow such use.
Technology is not the problem
However, Musk’s assessment is based solely on technical development. The Tesla founder also admitted that the biggest problem would not have been solved then: In order to start such a service, various approvals from authorities were required – and whether these can be obtained so quickly is questionable.
With various models such as Model 3, Tesla has made arrangements from the start that the vehicles can be used as a sideline taxi. A camera is mounted on the rearview mirror, which is initially inactive. Later, it should then serve the purpose of making the interior monitorable by the owner of the vehicle, so that the owner can always ensure that the passengers behave in the absence of a driver.