Tesla plans to mass produce a dedicated robotaxi by 2024. Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, made this announcement during Tesla’s first quarter 2022 earnings call.
The robotaxi wouldn’t have a steering wheel or pedals. In two years, Tesla would need to develop, test, produce at volume, and commercially launch a robotaxi service that meets regulations, according to a report by Tech Crunch.
“I think it can be a very powerful product where we aspire to reach volume production in 2024,” Musk said in the earnings call. “I think [the robotaxi] really will be a massive driver of Tesla’s growth.”
This is the first time that Musk has mentioned the robotaxi as a stand-alone product, according to the report. In the past, he has talked about turning the Tesla vehicles (owned by people today) into their own robotaxi via an upgraded advanced driving assistance system called Full Self-Driving software, which currently costs $12,000.
Tesla owners can buy the full self-driving software (FSD), but it’s not capable of driving on its own, according to the report. Currently, it’s a level 2 advanced driving-assistance system and still needs a human driver to take control.
During the Tesla call, Musk mentioned that the robotaxis would provide customers with a lower cost option. “Looking at some of our projections, it would appear that a robotaxi ride will cost less than a bus ticket, a subsidized bus ticket, or a subsidized subway ticket,” said Musk.
During the call, Musk also talked about the difficulties of reaching actual full self-driving.
“With respect to full self-driving, of any technology development I’ve been involved in, I’ve never really seen more false dawns or where it seems like we’re going to break through, but we don’t, as I’ve seen in self-driving,” said Musk. “And ultimately what it comes down to is that to sell full self-driving, you actually have to solve real-world artificial intelligence, which nobody has solved. And so actually, when you think about it, in order to solve driving, we have to solve neural nets and cameras to a degree of capability that is on par with, or really exceeds humans. And I think we will achieve that this year.”