Tesla Is Planning to Roll Out Its Own Ride-Sharing Service with Self-Driving Cars Next Year
While it'll hit the US first, you could soon be hailing a car with no driver (and no awkward chit-chat).
April 25, 2019
The next level of the global transport economy is fast approaching — even Down Under. First, there was news that Melbourne could be one of the first cities to test Uber's flying cars, then came the announcement of the proposed Hyperloop Transport System, which would get you from Sydney to Melbourne, or Brisbane to Sydney, in just 37 minutes. Sure, these are still a relatively distant dream, but one such technological advance is much closer than you may think — an Uber-like service with driverless electric cars, courtesy of Tesla.
At a conference earlier this week, Tesla founder Elon Musk announced that the company is planning to roll out a massive fleet of one million self-driving 'robotaxis' as early as next year. These autonomous vehicles are planned to hit roads in the US by mid-2020 — regulatory approvals pending, of course.
If all goes to Musk's plan, here's how it'll work: the app will function much the way all ride-sharing apps do — except the car will drive itself. The existing Tesla app will be fitted with a 'summon' option, where you'll be able to order the closest robotaxi from its stored location, and it'll drive itself over to pick you up.
Plus, some Telsa owners will be able to add their own car to the service, with the options to limit sharing to friends, co-workers or social media contacts. In areas where not enough share vehicles are available, Tesla will release a dedicated fleet to ensure short wait times.
But what does this mean for Australia? According to the ABC, Australian transport ministers plan to have a regulation for commercial self-driving vehicles in place by next year — a neatly timed goal with Musk's ambitious roll out. So, depending on which way next month's election swings, we could soon be riding in cars with no-one at the wheel.
If you're really interested, a four-hour livestream of the Tesla conference, in which Musk discusses the ride-sharing service, is available to watch here.
Tesla is aiming to put one million self-driving 'robotaxis' on US roads by mid-next year, depending on regulatory approvals. In Australia, regulations for commercial autonomous vehicles are set to be in place by next year.