Everything we know about the Tesla Robotaxi

By Jorge Aguirre
Tesla to develop their own autonomous taxi
Tesla to develop their own autonomous taxi
The Boring Company

We have been hearing about Tesla’s Robotaxi concept for quite a few years, but it seems like we're getting close to it finally becoming a reality.

Here is everything we know about the Robotaxi.

Master Plan Part Deux

The history of Tesla’s Robotaxi starts with CEO Elon Musk's Master Plan Part Deux, published in 2016.

At the time the concept was touted as normal Teslas with full self-driving (FSD) capability.

Once Tesla achieved Full Self-Driving, they would create a “Tesla Network” taxi service that would make use of both Tesla owned vehicles and customer cars that would be hired out when not in use.

In April 2022, however, at the inauguration of Tesla’s new factory in Austin, Texas, Musk made headlines by announcing that the company would be working on a dedicated Robotaxi vehicle that would be “quite futuristic-looking”.

A Variety of Robotaxis

There will be specialty cars built for a certain task
There will be specialty cars built for a certain task
StylePark

In a way, developing a purposely built vehicle makes sense in order to add certain desirable features we expect to see in the Robotaxi, such as face-to-face seating, big sliding doors providing easy access, 4-wheel steering, easier cleaning, etc.

Tesla could even create a variety of Robotaxis that help meet specific needs. For example, Tesla could offer a vehicle that is beter suited for resting, which could let you sleep on the way to your destination.

Another vehicle could be similar to a home office, offering multiple monitors and accessories that let you begin working as soon as you step inside the vehicle.

Features such as these could bring huge quality of life improvements for some; giving some people an hour or two back in your day.

The variety of Robotaxis doesn't need to end there. There could be other vehicles that are made specifically for movie watching and entertainment or others that allow you to relax and converse with friends, much like you'd expect in a limosine.

Lowest Cost Per Mile

At a time when several companies have announced dedicated robotaxi plans, most notably Zoox, Cruise, and Waymo, Tesla’s plan seem to be accelerating in order to compete with these options.

Additional details on Tesla’s vision for the future of the Robotaxi just emerged during the conference call after the release of Tesla's Q1 2022 financial results.

During the call, Musk stated that the vehicle will be focused on cost per mile, and will be highly optimized for autonomy - meaning it will not have steering wheel or pedals.

“There are a number of other innovations around it that I think are quite exciting, but it is fundamentally optimized to achieve the lowest fully considered cost per mile or km when counting everything”, he said.

During the call, Tesla acknowledged that its vehicles are largely inaccessible for many people given their high cost and sees the introduction of Robotaxis as a way of providing customers with “by far the lowest cost-per-mile of transport that they’ve ever experienced. The CEO believes that the vehicle is going to result in a cost per mile cheaper than a subsidized bus ticket, and that it will ultimately be a major driver of Tesla’s growth.

Release Date

During the Q1 2022 earnings call, Elon talked a little about the timeline for Tesla's Robotaxi. Tesla plans to announce the vehicle in 2023 and begin mass production in 2024.

The difficulty in releasing an autonomous taxi is the self-driving aspect, which Tesla is still actively developing. The Robotaxi's release date will continue to shift in line with Tesla's progress on FSD.

Full Self-Driving

During the earnings call there was no mention of the sensor suite that Tesla is considering for the vehicle but, or whether it would use a modified version of the company’s Full-Self Driving software to navigate its surroundings autonomously.

Their current approach relies solely on a camera system, unlike other automakers who are betting on a combination of cameras, lidar and radar.

During the call Musk seemed confident that their method would pay off later this year.

“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 full 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. The whole road system is made for biological neural nets and eyes. 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.”

Musk has promised that all Teslas with FSD capability will be able to drive magnitudes safer than a human in the future. However, it's not clear if Tesla stills plans to allow customers to hire out their vehicles as taxis in the future.

If Tesla is successful in achieving an autonomous driving vehicle that costs less than a subsidized bus ticket, that would revolutionize car ownership.

In the future it could actually be cheaper to use one of Tesla's Robotaxis than to own your own car.

Plus, you'll have the added benefits of being able to relax, and reach your destination safer and quicker than driving yourself.

Tesla Semi to have 500 mile range, to be delivered this year

By Jorge Aguirre
Tesla to release the first Tesla Semis this year
Tesla to release the first Tesla Semis this year
Tesla

Tesla's first electric semi-truck will have a range of 500 miles and begin shipping this year, according to a tweet from Elon Musk, founder and CEO. Musk previously said that the model would be on roads in 2023, as well as Tesla's pickup truck, dubbed the Cybertruck. The projected arrival date for the Cybertruck has not changed.

The Tesla Semi Truck, which was unveiled in November 2017, is designed for long-haul trucking. It can go from 0 to 60 mph in 20 seconds when hauling a full load, which is faster than most diesel trucks.

The Tesla Semi Truck's range of 500 miles on a single charge constitutes more than double the range of the current longest-range electric truck on the market, the Daimler eCascadia, which has a range of 230 miles.

Tesla to release the first Tesla Semis this year
Tesla to release the first Tesla Semis this year
Tesla

The Tesla Semi Truck is also significantly cheaper to operate than a diesel truck, Tesla has said. The company estimates that it will cost $1.26 per mile to operate the Tesla Semi, compared to $1.51 per mile for a diesel truck.

Since the company started taking orders for the truck in 2017 some of the most sizable orders have come from the likes of UPS, Walmart, and PepsiCo. The original deposit required with an order was $5,000, which was increased to $20,000 after the event in November 2017.

Tesla to release the first Tesla Semis this year
Tesla to release the first Tesla Semis this year
Tesla

The company has not said how many trucks it plans to produce but based on past statements from Tesla we can expect the price of regular production versions for the 300-mile (480 km) and 500-mile (800 km) range versions to be $150,000 and $180,000 USD respectively.

Tesla's Semi Truck is part of the company's push to electrify the transportation sector, which is responsible for a significant portion of greenhouse gas emissions. Tesla also makes electric cars and SUVs, and it plans to start producing its electric truck next year. Tesla's ultimate goal is to transition the world to sustainable energy.

Tesla to release the first Tesla Semis this year
Tesla to release the first Tesla Semis this year
Tesla

Tesla Semi Event

Tesla unveiled the Tesla Semi and the Tesla Roadster in late 2017. The entire event is below:

Teslas to report real-time data to help with road closures and traffic issues

Future Feature
By Lennon Cihak
Tesla may be building out a feature for vehicle-to-vehicle communication
Tesla may be building out a feature for vehicle-to-vehicle communication
Ian Maddox

Tesla recently wrapped up its 2022 annual shareholders meeting, and CEO Elon Musk hinted at a potentially exciting feature coming to the fleet: vehicle-to-vehicle communication.

Towards the end of the shareholders’ meeting, a gentleman in the audience mentioned how aircrafts use a system called Airborne Collision Avoidance System (ACAS). He elaborated on how ACAS relays an aircraft’s telemetry to prevent a collision.

“Sometimes too much telemetry,” Musk adds and laughs, assumingly referencing the Twitter account that tracks his private jet.

“Do you see Teslas communicating with one another and Dojo turning into some kind of air traffic control for Tesla supply chains and Robotaxi?” adds the gentleman.

Musk answered by saying he hasn’t thought about that before, which is interesting. He added that the goal with Dojo is to be the de facto computer for training the neural net with videos.

“Oh. That’s an interesting idea. I haven’t thought about that,” Musk responds. “Right now our goal with Dojo is to be really good at video training. We have probably the fourth or approaching the third, most powerful computing center in the world for AI training. Our first goal with Dojo is to make it competitive and be more effective at neural net training than a whole bunch of GPUs. We might get there… soonish.”

Musk also added that Dojo is built “from the ground up” to train AI using videos, and building such a computer has never been done before.

This question got Musk’s mind going. He paused for a moment and said there may be some difficulties in getting Teslas to communicate with one another - and it won’t be needed with Full Self-Driving.

“There will be some merits for Teslas to communicate [with] each other, but that won’t be needed for Full Self-Driving at all,” Musk responds. “But for a long time the vast majority of cars will be manually driven, so the value of Tesla-to-Tesla communication is not that high, except for, perhaps, communicating traffic issues, accidents, potholes, and road closures. A Tesla ahead of you has seen a road closure and you get that real-time update to your car so you don’t get stuck in the road closure situation. That’s the stuff that we are working on right now.”

Elon Musk's Answer

In January of 2022, Twitter user and Tesla enthusiast @BLKMDL3 tweeted at Musk asking about this type of feature. “Hey @elonmusk, can we get the air suspension in Model S/X to automatically raise quickly if the car detects a dip in the road ahead and then remember the location for next time?” BLKMDL3 writes. “Would be an awesome feature to have!”

Musk responded with, “Yeah.”

BLKMDL3’s tweet received quite a bit of attention.

Tesla has recently rolled out updates to improve a vehicle’s ability to raise and lower its suspension when arriving at a specific location. This is so the vehicle doesn’t scuff the pavement and cause damage to its underbody.

Since Musk stated that he hasn’t thought about vehicle-to-vehicle communication or how it would be done, we don’t anticipate this feature rolling out anytime soon. However, we can hope that it gets added to the pipeline of upcoming features due to its seemingly positive reception and want for it. This could also increase the safety of Tesla’s vehicles, even though they’re already the safest cars on the road.

It would be nice for vehicles within a 5-10 mile radius to notify one another of a construction zone, or accident, similar to Waze. This would allow the vehicle to reroute to a more efficient route or handle the situation accordingly. Going a step further, it would be exceptionally cool to see snapshots or videos of the upcoming situation by seeing a “hotspot” in maps, similar to how Snapchat shows hotspots, that are recorded via the vehicle’s cameras to more accurately prepare for it. But this may open a can of worms in regards to privacy.

Turning Tesla’s fleet into a mobile social network may go against Musk’s vision. He’s stated before that any user input in the vehicle should be considered an error, so having an interactive feature such as this may not be in Tesla’s deck of cards.

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Tesla News

Upcoming Release

View the release notes for the upcoming version 2022.24.1.

Confirmed by Elon

Take a look at features that Elon Musk has said will be coming soon.

Subscribe

Subscribe to be notified when new software is released.