The news: Tesla released more details on its planned robotaxi, a new vehicle it is building around the needs of ride-sharing customers, per Elektrek.
Why it’s worth watching: Robotaxis are just the latest in a long list of upcoming Tesla products. These include electric semi-trucks, the oft-delayed Cybertruck, an updated roadster, and a humanoid robot.
Robotaxi traffic jam: Tesla is coming from behind in the autonomous robotaxi space against companies whose vehicles have logged millions of miles of data.
For context, Waymo’s robotaxis are driving 25,000 miles each day, per TechCrunch. Waymo and its rival Cruise lead the robotaxis segment and together drove 1.39 million miles in 2021—70% of the total autonomous drives for the year.
Tesla has only discussed plans for its vehicle, but robotaxi services incorporate car technology, software, and services. This means Tesla would need to secure partnerships or develop peripheral businesses to support its plans. Meanwhile, existing autonomous ride services are already in full swing.
What’s the catch? Tesla is riding its strong momentum in car sales to expand into other areas.
While robotaxis seem like a natural next step, the company’s delay of full self-driving, its controversial choice to eschew lidar in favor of computer vision, and safety investigations could all be substantial roadblocks.
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