Tesla CEO plans to hand the auto keys to robots next year

The 2020 Tesla Roadster and Elon Musk’s Need for Speed

The 2020 Tesla Roadster and Elon Musk’s Need for Speed

April 22 - Musk predicts that Tesla will have autonomous robotaxis without drivers in some USA markets in 2020.

Chief Executive Elon Musk said Tesla Inc robotaxis with no human drivers would be available in some USA markets next year, continuing a habit of bold pronouncements that have excited many investors while often missing deadlines.

Within three years, Tesla will be manufacturing self-driving cars that don't even have steering wheels or brake pedals in them, Musk said.

"The fundamental message that consumers should be taking today is that it's financially insane to buy anything other than a Tesla", Musk said Monday at Tesla's headquarters in Palo Alto, California. Lo and behold, Tesla has indeed delivered, at least in terms of putting its FSD Computer in ever auto.

Tesla Founder and CEO hoped that robotaxis would return home and automatically park and recharge.

Meanwhile, drivers can stand to earn $30,000 per year by participating in the Tesla Network, Musk said.

Tesla installed its "full self-driving" computers on Model S and Model X cars last month, and began installing those computers on Model 3s this month.

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From Musk's vantage point, Tesla has a huge advantage over autonomous vehicle competitors because it gathers a massive amount of data in the real world.

Tesla's stock sank by almost 4 percent to close Monday at $262.75.

Tesla boss Elon Musk shot back in tweets that Panasonic is the culprit for the slow production of Tesla vehicles by operating at a pace that's constrained production of Tesla's Model 3 sedan. He said it was improbable but true that Tesla had designed the industry's best self-driving chip, saying Tesla's was dedicated for autonomous driving, while others, like Nvidia Corp, developed chips that could do other things as well.

"Tesla is starting to flirt with other battery makers in China, and Panasonic doesn't like that", said Sam Jaffe, managing director of battery consulting firm Cairn ERA. "I can tell you that right now". Then, Tesla will need to get regulatory approval for the fully autonomous cars to drive on roads, something Musk predicted would happen in a few states by the end of next year.

California, Tesla's biggest USA market, requires proof that fully autonomous cars can drive safely on public roads, but most other states aren't as stringent.

If they're allowed on the roads, fully driverless cars would allow Musk to carry out his plan to expand into the ride-hailing market with a fleet of sleek Teslas.

Tesla's chip was capable of seven times as many frames as Nvidia's Xavier system, said Pete Bannon, Tesla's head of Autopilot hardware. Musk says full self-driving features will be rolled out in future via over-the-air updates when available. Tesla vehicles rely on cameras and radars as their vision system for self-driving.

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