Tesla reportedly delaying its robotaxi reveal until October

July 11, 2024
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Tesla won’t reveal its long-promised fully autonomous robotaxi until October in order to give the company’s engineering team more time to build and test prototypes, Bloomberg reports.

The delay has been communicated internally to Tesla employees but has yet to be announced publicly, Bloomberg says. Musk has yet to post anything about the delay on X.

At an earnings call earlier this year, Musk reiterated his belief that Tesla is not a traditional car company but, actually, an AI and robotics company. Facing pointed questions from investors about affordable EVs, Musk responded, “Really, we should be thought of as an AI robotics company. If you value Tesla as just an auto company … that’s just the wrong framework.”

Musk has been teasing the possibility of a Tesla robotaxi for a long time. He speculated that Tesla owners would be able to earn revenue from their personally owned autonomous cars by sending them out to pick up and drop off passengers. And the company even previewed a ridehailing function built into Tesla’s app.

But many of Musk’s predictions about fully autonomous vehicles have failed to come true. Today, Tesla’s Autopilot and Full Self-Driving systems require drivers to pay attention to the road and be ready to take control when needed. Drivers are also liable for any crashes that occur when the driver assist is engaged — and the company is in the midst of fighting several wrongful death lawsuits that have stemmed from fatal crashes.

Meanwhile, Waymo and several other companies are currently operating fully autonomous robotaxis in several US cities.

In the earnings report, Tesla said the robotaxi will be “purpose built,” which is a term used in the autonomous vehicle industry to describe vehicles built from the ground up to be self-driving and that often lack traditional controls like steering wheels and pedals.

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