Tesla CEO Elon Musk has announced that the company plans to roll out robotaxi with no steering wheel or pedals by 2024.
The announcement came after the world’s largest electric-vehicle maker recorded a strong net profit of US $3.3 billion in the March quarter.
Quarterly revenue stood at $18.8 billion, beating estimates for $17.9 billion, and up 81 per cent year-on-year. Earnings per share came in at $2.86, compared with expectations for $2.27, and adjusted earnings per share were $3.22.
The autonomous rideshare service will cost as much as a subsidised subway ticket, Musk said. Though it remains to be seen how cheap can he sell the robotaxi, considering that Tesla is known for selling expensive electric cars.
“It’s fundamentally optimised for trying to achieve the lowest fully considered cost per mile, cost per kilometre, accounting everything,” The Business Insider quoted Musk as saying.
“I think that really will be a massive driver of Tesla’s growth.”
Musk said that Tesla Robotaxi will also contain a “number of other innovations” though he did not elaborate how innovative it would be.
Musk first mentioned about the robotaxi earlier this month at Tesla’s Austin gigafactory opening, where he outlined a variety of future products including Optimus, Tesla’s humanoid robot concept.
The 50-year-old said that these “futuristic products” would mark Tesla’s departure from its passenger car business, which generates the bulk of its profits today.
“Optimus ultimately will be worth more than the car business, worth more than FSD,” he said.
Tesla has been hit by supply-chain issues, saying its factories have been running below capacity for the last several quarters.
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Tesla’s Shanghai Gigafactory, which was responsible for half the company’s global production last year, had been impacted by a surge in COVID-19 cases in China.
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But after the local authorities decided to ease some of the restrictions, a measured restarting of production has begun.
(With inputs from agencies)