Musk Says Tesla Self-Driving Taxi Coming in August

Tesla CEO says the company plans to unveil a robotaxi this summer

Graham Hope

April 8, 2024

3 Min Read
Elon Musk posted that the new service will be launched this August
Elon Musk posted that the new service will be launched this AugustGetty

A new name is finally set to join the self-driving taxi arena… Tesla.

The news was confirmed by CEO Elon Musk in typical style, with a post on X that contained minimum detail, but had maximum impact.

“Tesla Robotaxi unveil on 8/8” it said simply, setting the Internet ablaze and, at the time of writing, generating around 45 million views.

View post on X

The post came after he had earlier responded to a report by Reuters that Tesla was set to ditch its plan to develop a low-cost, $25,000 EV.

“Reuters is lying (again),” Musk wrote.

He also responded to a post that suggested that the low-cost EV and robotaxi were always going to be built on the same platform with an “eyes” emoji.

However, despite Musk’s online denials, it seems a safe bet that the same platform that would have been used for the low-cost car will also be utilized for the robotaxi.

What form that takes, though, remains anyone’s guess. Whether it will be a purpose-built AV, with no steering wheel or driving controls – as was to be the case with Cruise’s Origin – or a more conventional car, with full autonomous capability, is unclear.

Subsequent activity from Musk on X provided no real clues, other than to reaffirm Tesla’s belief that autonomy is achievable and will have game-changing consequences.

Related:Tesla Issues Sales Warning Amid Arrival of Latest Full Self-Driving Version

To a post that stated “Robotaxi will kill public transportation in my estimation,” Musk said: “Yes.”

He also pointed followers to his Tesla Master Plan, Part Deux, first published in 2016, which made great claims about autonomy, including that “all Teslas will have the hardware necessary to be fully self-driving.”

He added that once true self-driving is approved by regulators, “it will mean that you will be able to summon your Tesla from pretty much anywhere. Once it picks you up, you will be able to sleep, read or do anything else en route to your destination” – arguably the definition of a robotaxi.

Of course, Musk has made many claims about Tesla’s autonomous capabilities in the past, with plenty of deadlines for its full implementation having come and gone, and the firm’s Autopilot and Full Self-Driving tech still rated at only Level 2 by the Society of Automotive Engineers.

The software has faced intense scrutiny from the National Highway Transport Safety Administration after a number of crashes involving cars fitted with the tech, some fatal.

There are also likely to be questions surrounding how Tesla’s robotaxi will deliver its functionality, given Musk’s famous dislike of lidar, which is common on many self-driving taxis.

And Musk’s timing is interesting, too, given that the problems suffered by General Motors’ Cruise – which suspended all operations following an accident in San Francisco in October – have caused some to query the sheer viability of robotaxis at all.

Whatever is being planned, more will become clear in August – and the speculation and hype are likely to gain momentum until then.

About the Author(s)

Graham Hope

Graham Hope has worked in automotive journalism in the U.K. for 26 years, including spells as editor of leading consumer news website and weekly Auto Express and respected buying guide CarBuyer.

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