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

Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.