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“I feel very confident predicting autonomous robotaxis for Tesla next year,” Musk said during Tesla’s Autonomy Day in Palo Alto, California on Monday. “Not in all jurisdictions because we won’t have regulatory approval everywhere, but I’m confident we will have … regulatory approval somewhere, literally next year.”
Musk noted that any customer would be able to add or remove their car from the Tesla taxi network – a model he compared to a combination of Uber and AirBnB. No driver would be operating the car, but owners could earn money on rides.
Tesla would take 25 percent to 30 percent of the profits earned per trip.
In places where there aren’t enough shared cars, Tesla would provide its own dedicated vehicles, including Models 3, S and X taxis.
Riders would be able to “summon” a car through Tesla’s ridesharing app.
Musk predicted 1 million Teslas could have fully autonomous capabilities in 2020, though admitted he is often fairly criticized for being a little off on timing.
“Sometimes I’m not on time,” he said, laughing. “But, I get it done.”
He added that at some point – potentially in two years – the cars won’t have steering wheels or pedals, either. Until regulators are comfortable with that, the taxis will have a way drivers could take over, if necessary, he said.
In October, Musk spoke about his plans to launch a self-driving ride-sharing service that would compete with industry leaders Uber and Lyft.
“We absolutely see the future as kind of a shared electric autonomy,” Musk said during a company earnings call. “The advantage that Tesla will have is that we’ll have millions of cars in the field with full autonomy capability and no one else will have that. So I think that will end up putting us in the strongest competitive position long-term.”