How the Model 3 gives Tesla an edge in the self-driving car battle

Tesla’s (NASDAQ:TSLA) Model 3 could give Elon Musk a major competitive advantage in the autonomous vehicle space, according to ARK Investment Management analyst Tasha Keeney.

“The Model 3 is the first mass-market car with hardware that makes it capable of becoming fully autonomous,” Keeney told FOX Business on Thursday.

Keeney said the new hardware gives Tesla an opportunity to improve technology ahead of the competition.

“Tesla is really putting feelers out there to collect this massive data set and we think that they can launch autonomous in the next two years,” she said, adding that the market opportunity is worth trillions of dollars.

Tesla is contending with ride-hailing services Uber, Waymo and most recently Lyft, who announced plans to develop its own autonomous vehicle technology in July. In Keeny’s opinion, Tesla will bring “monumental change” to the taxi market.

“Over the next say 10 to 15 years you’ll see people switching away from owning personal cars towards taking autonomous taxis and the real benefit with autonomous taxis is that we think they will be really cheap,” she said.  “We think that the price per mile of autonomous travel will be about 35 cents — that’s roughly half of what you pay to drive your personal car today.”