If you own a Tesla, you’ll likely already appreciate that it’s not like any other car on the market. Something else that will separate Tesla vehicles is their ability to drive autonomously, sooner, rather than later.
While Musk is well known for his aggressive (or ambitious) timelines, he’s on the record as saying the hardware required for full autonomy is already being shipped in vehicles today. By the end of this year (2019), the software will be ready to deliver full autonomous driving. Then comes the final hurdle to making it a reality and that’s regulation across the world.
Imagining that the millions of kilometers of data can indeed prove to the Government that the technology has reached a point where it’s capable of driving itself, Musk says they will enable Tesla owners to turn their cars into profit generating transportation devices.
In a tweet today, Musk confirmed that a new event will be held on April 22nd, where he will detail, in depth, the ability for vehicles to earn money by sending their cars out into the world and providing rides to customers, like that of Uber and the now public Lyft.
This will cause a massive shakeup in the ride sharing market. First of all, there’ll be a massive number of new entrants in the market. Without the need for a driver, there’ll also be an additional seat available for passengers. With a revenue chain providing income to the Tesla owner, it then changes the affordability of owning a Tesla, dramatically lowering the return on investment, if ride sharing helps pay off the car faster.
In response to further questions, Musk suggests people could manage a fleet of self-driving cars. What’s to manage? Well I assume that refers to the cars being charged which currently requires a human, in the ideal world, they’d return to base, charge and then get back to work.
If Tesla decide to take a cut of the owner revenue for delivering the ride sharing, this could be another significant income stream for the company.