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Tesla wants a fleet of self-driving taxis by 2020

Tesla Model S
Image Credit: Tesla (Image credit: Tesla)

Tesla has laid out an ambitious vision for the future of self-driving cars, with plans for a fully-autonomous Tesla model and a fleet of robo-taxis on the road by 2020.

The claims came at a Tesla event hosted in Palo Alto, where ElonMusk waxed lyrical about the technology being developed at Tesla.

Tesla has made no secret of its plans for self-driving cars, with Musk suggesting that Tesla vehicles could one day ship without a steering wheel or pedals, and that automated driving would advance to the point that human driving became outlawed.

While Tesla has a reputation for missing its own deadlines, rapid development in the sector is making fully autonomy vehicles look like a very real possibility in the coming years. We're holding our breath on 2020, but Musk's prediction of "over a million robo-taxis on the road" still doesn't look too far off.

Look ma, no hands

The event showed off a new microchip, designed to vastly improve the company's fledgling self-driving software, Autopilot.

The chip, which Musk described as "objectively [...] the best chip in the world", was designed in-house and marked a shift away from using Nvidia's microchips inside Tesla vehicles. 

As reported by Bloomberg, Nvidia contested some of the claims made in the presentation, saying that a system made of multiple Nvidia chips would be more powerful – but conceded that Tesla has "raised the bar for self-driving computers".

Musk notably claimed that the hardware installed in Tesla vehicles was already sufficient for full self-driving capability (known as 'level 5 autonomy', which requires no interference from a human driver), and that the company only needed to iterate the software to get to a truly hands-free future.

Via Engadget