How robot taxis will change the cab-sharing scenario


Tesla and Google’s parent company Alphabet have invested a lot in autonomous vehicles, but with the current situation where does their production & launching stand?

Source Lexi Russel unsplash

As The Wall Street Journal’s Tim Higgins notes, Google’s self-driving car division, owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, has been working on autonomous technology for several years. Robotic taxi service was deployed in Phoenix, but a human driver was still in the car. 

The company plans to upgrade its software and computers to allow Tesla vehicles built after October 2016 and equipped with a range of cameras and sensors to support point-to-point autonomous driving without humans taking control. The safety of autonomous vehicles remains in question, but no, Tesla’s vehicle has been involved in a crash, and Uber operates one. In a series of tweets following Musk’s comments, the Automated Vehicle Industry Association (AVIA), a trade group for the automated vehicle industry, warned that promises of fully autonomous, driverless vehicles could lead people to believe their cars have more autonomy than they actually have, putting drivers at risk. 

Tesla aims to introduce a system that will allow users to book Tesla’s rides in an area where they can be cheered for a ride. This, in turn, will allow cars to autonomously offer rides to the public without the need for human drivers. 

Source : Andreas Benz from unsplash

Car owners can specify the network to which they want to connect their car so that it can be activated and used when the owner does not need it. This will allow the cars to make money as part of Tesla’s joint autonomous fleet. If we start competing with Uber and Lyft and all these people, we’re going to be there. 

Tesla’s autopilot function is to get a traffic light and stop sign function with a software upgrade. Models 3 and Y vehicles must stop at traffic lights or stop signs. By the way, this is the first time that a Tesla with autopilot functions can do this with stoplights and stop signs. 

Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo, widely seen as a leader in autonomous vehicles, has shied away from letting autonomous vehicles drive around without the safety of a driver. This is the kind of autonomy that would allow driverless cars. 

Tesla faces growing concerns about demand for its electric cars, said the company and its customers will reap big financial benefits once the self-driving robots are ready for prime airtime. 

Musk held the investor event to unveil the company’s first computer chip that will enable the full self-driving feature (FSD) that eventually comes to Tesla’s. Musk announced at the event that autonomous driving will be in place by the end of 2019 and Tesla will have a fleet of robots on the road by 2020, with the current situation of lockdown due to COVID-19, this looks a distant dream. The catch for Tesla investors is that it will be expensive in the short term. 

The deadline for the fully self-driving car is 2021, but Tesla boss Elon Musk says there is still time for the robot taxi. 

Tesla recently received a stock valuation upgrade from Credit Suisse, which will help it continue its push for a self-driving ride-sharing service. A year ago, in April 2019, Tesla CEO Elon Musk promised that his company’s first self-driving taxis would come to market by the end of 2018, at the same event where he said self-driving taxis would come to market by the end of 2019, which never happened, he responded on Twitter to a question about Tesla’s fleet of robotic taxis. 

Musk claimed the functionality would likely be ready by the end of 2020, but there could be some regulatory obstacles – wisely. Musk has also repeatedly pointed out that a full fleet of self-driving robots will require regulatory approval. The remaining steps, Musk said, are a “very important step that no one needs to pay attention to until the middle of next year,” which could cause some delays. 

It is unclear how the federal government might restrict Tesla, as the vehicle can be modified in many ways – for example, by removing the steering wheel and pedals. 

Musk could be referring to local and state laws that regulate ride-sharing – and networks like Uber and Lyft, as well as the federal government. 

AutoX announced today that its autonomous vehicles will be available through the Chinese navigation app AutoNavi, which is available in the US and Europe as well as in Japan and South Korea. Meanwhile, ride-hailing firms such as Uber, Lyft, and Chuxing face growing competition in China from start-ups working on self-driving vehicles. Uber and Lyft – among the most popular ride-hailing services outside the United States – are working with self-driving car companies such as Autopilot and Autotaxi, with Uber or Lyft hoping to include self-driving vehicles in their ride-sharing networks. 

Tesla Inc. announced plans to launch its robot-taxi service in the 2020s decade, the company announced some time back. 

Elon Musk predicted in the announcement that car owners could take their cars off the grid or pull them off. We will not have regulatory approvals everywhere, but we will have at least some regulatory approvals somewhere, literally within the next year. Customers will be able to add and remove their car from the Tesla network, according to the company.

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