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Tesla Assures That It Is on Target to Launch Driverless Taxis in 2020

Tesla says that it will leverage a sliver of the current volume of Tesla cars on-road to launch its driverless taxi service in 2020. The entire operation will be powered by Tesla’s proprietary Autopilot software to compete with the likes of Google’s Waymo and other players in the autonomous vehicles sector.

The roll-out will not go live in all regions simultaneously and is based upon current regulations for driverless cars. Also, only the Model 3 and the Model S can participate in this program, at least initially. All Tesla owners can add or remove their vehicles from the Tesla network and earn revenue of which Tesla will keep some percentage. The company will provide its own cars in areas where Teslas are scarce.

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Customers can summon Teslas from parking lots through a bespoke mobile app with Elon Musk himself predicting anywhere close to a million Teslas as a part of the network.

Tesla’s Autopilot technology is built on an advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) capabilities comprising of –

This effectively allows the cars to –

  • Self-parking
  • Lane-centering
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Highway lane-changing

These skills are updated on a regular basis by leveraging over the air (OTA) capabilities. Only last month, the company rolled out a feature through which cars can change lanes without the need for driver confirmation.

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Tesla also unveiled the Autopilot Hardware 3.0, a chipset that runs the Autopilot software.

Here is a snapshot of the chipset’s features –

  • The chipset will be integrated into all new models of Tesla
  • Over 144 tera operations per second (TOPS)
  • Neural Network Performance
  • Over 144 tera operations per second (TOPS)
  • Two AI accelerators
  • A graphics chip
  • An image signal processor
  • 5 times improved power consumption
  • 80% reduced cost overall

Tesla claims that its chipset is at least seven times more powerful than Nvidia’s Drive Xavier Chip.

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Here are a few financial statistics about the ridesharing platform –

  • Tesla’s platform will charge $0.18 cents a mile compared to the $2 to $3 cost of traditional ridesharing
  • Tesla owners stand to make $0.65 per mile which sums up to $30,000 per car per year

Elon Musk said that Tesla will be making cars without pedals or steering wheels in two years from now on — and in three years from now, the cars will cost $25,000 lesser, courtesy to a revolutionary battery pack being built by Tesla.

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