Elon Musk: Tesla will stop selling cars to consumers once autonomous driving is perfected


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Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been talking a lot about Tesla Network lately, part of Tesla’s “Master Plan, Part Deux” which will enable Tesla cars with full self-driving hardware to operate as autonomous robotaxis to generate revenue for owners and for Tesla itself.

This is all still a ways off, but that hasn’t stopped Musk and others from theorizing about what might happen when the technological problems behind self-driving are solved. Recently, Musk stated that any Tesla bought today is an “appreciating asset” due to its potential to be used to generate revenue in the future. But an asset wouldn’t really appreciate unless a new, similar asset couldn’t be bought at the same price. So now, Musk has committed to making that happen, stating that once robotaxis become possible, Tesla will likely stop selling cars to consumers, at least at anywhere near the same price.

The exchange came, as it often does, as part of a nighttime tweetstorm from Musk. Among various other questions about the timeline for upgrading HW2+ hardware to Tesla’s new FSD computer and a comment about Tesla’s potential to have a million-robotaxi-fleet by the end of next year, Musk was asked whether prospective buyers would be able to keep buying Teslas well into the future, or if their potential as a revenue generating asset would make that price unattainable for a typical consumer:

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Driverless cars are coming for the airlines

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Our research has revealed just how much people’s travel preferences could shift with the advent of driverless cars.

As driverless cars become more capable and more common, they will change people’s travel habits not only around their own communities but across much larger distances. Our research has revealed just how much people’s travel preferences could shift and found a new potential challenge to the airline industry.

Imagine someone who lives in Atlanta and needs to travel to Washington, D.C., for business. This is about a 10-hour drive. A flight takes about two hours, assuming no delays. Add to that the drive to the airport, checking in, the security line, and waiting at the gate. Upon arrival in D.C., it may take another 30 minutes to pick up any checked bags and find a rental car–and even more time to drive to the specific destination. The average person would estimate a total travel time of four to five fours. Most people would choose to fly instead of driving themselves.

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Florida will allow autonomous cars with no safety drivers on public roads starting July 1

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The new law is intended to make Florida competitive with other states that have welcomed self-driving vehicles and testing.

Self-driving vehicles without any safety driver in the vehicle will be allowed on Florida roads starting July 1.

As Florida’s governor signed the new bill into law, he stated the intention is to remove “barriers to the advancement of autonomous vehicles” in the state.

Anyone who is onboard is also exempted from laws against texting or other distracted-driving activities in the vehicle.

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Volkswagen is testing anti-vomit technology for autonomous cars

 

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VW’s solution is better than a barf bag, but testing continues on the perfect solution to a messy problem.

One-third of all people are highly susceptible to motion sickness, according to the National Institutes of Health.

It tends to get worse when that susceptible person is a passenger instead of a driver, which will be the case more often as self-driving cars and semi-autonomous driving features enter the mainstream.

Volkswagen is testing solutions to carsickness in self-driving cars that involve such features as red and green LED lights and movable seats.

Forget the technical and safety challenges facing self-driving cars’ march toward the mainstream: good old-fashioned carsickness is coming up as a worthy consideration for automakers designing autonomous vehicles. Volkswagen has announced that it has set scientists in Wolfsburg, Germany, on the task of studying motion sickness in autonomous cars and developing anti-puke solutions (our term, not VW’s).

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Tesla Navigate on Autopilot drives itself poorly, Consumer Reports finds

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Tesla says it has improved its self-driving Navigate on Autopilot system with its latest software update. Consumer Reports begs to differ.

Last month, Tesla updated its Navigate on Autopilot software to allow its cars to change lanes automatically, without prompting or warning the driver. This gives the system the ability, for example, to navigate highway interchanges by choosing the appropriate lane. The system fulfills Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s promise to develop a system that can drive itself from highway on-ramps to off-ramps without intervention (though several system warnings note that the driver still has to pay attention, and it will shut off if the driver doesn’t hold the steering wheel for too long.)

Only, Consumer Reports says that the system does a poor job changing lanes and that watching over the system and correcting its mistakes is more work for drivers than just driving themselves.

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Lyft’s robo-taxis have made more than 50,000 rides in Las Vegas

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If you’ve been to Las Vegas in the last year, you might have seen one of Lyft’s self-driving cars tootling up and down the Strip. Heck, you might even have ridden in one.

The company has just revealed it’s now given more than 50,000 automated rides to paying passengers in the city, up from 30,000 in January 2019. Lyft says the figure makes it the largest commercial self-driving car program currently operating in the U.S.

Lyft partnered with vehicle technology firm Aptiv to launch the service, with locals and tourists alike able to request a ride in the usual way, via the Lyft app. It uses 30 modified BMW 540i cars, all kitted out with Aptiv-made sensor, cameras, and software to ensure a safe ride.

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Autonomous cars : Consumer excitement soars despite barriers

 

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Consumers believe autonomous cars will take on a larger role in their daily lives, going beyond the act of driving to also have autonomy in running errands and completing chores.

Consumer preference for riding in self-driving cars is set to double within the next five years. While only 25% of consumers would prefer to ride in a self-driving car over a traditional vehicle in 12 months’ time, over half (52%) say driverless cars will be their preferred mode of transport by 2024.

These findings have been published in Capgemini Research Institute’s report “The Autonomous Car: A Consumer Perspective.” The positive response from consumers suggests that they see huge benefits with autonomous vehicles in terms of fuel efficiency (73%), reduced emissions (71%) and saving time (50%). Such is the sense of optimism and anticipation, over half of the consumers (56%) say they would be willing to pay up to 20% more for an autonomous vehicle over a standard one.

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China just held a car race without any drivers

BD3F8AE6-328D-4CB3-8764-9A3A17B4B83FDriverless cars compete during the 3rd World Intelligent Driving Challenge in Tianjin.

China’s annual driving challenge attracts dozens of hopefuls.

China’s road to mastering driverless-car technology is bumpy and full of surprises — literally. Just ask those attending the country’s top autonomous-vehicle race .

In hot and windy conditions this week in the eastern city of Tianjin, dozens of self-driving cars raced for glory. On a circuit covering an area of 10 soccer fields, they navigated through bumps, sudden turns and artificial fog. Even fake cows and sheep suddenly crossed their paths for good measure. Some teams wreaked less havoc than others.

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What’s the piece-of-the-pie for driverless cars in the $2 trillion infrastructure plan?

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Potholes and roadway decay, it’s messy and dangerous, among other infrastructure crumblings.

There are emerging discussions that perhaps Congress and the White House might agree to a rather significant spend on America’s infrastructure. Some say it could be on the order of $2 trillion potentially allocated. Whether or not you favor such an expenditure, most would likely agree that our infrastructure does seem to be progressively crumbling, as evidenced by everything from dams that break without apparent warning to a plethora of tire-bashing potholes permeating our roadways from coast-to-coast.

According to the most recent Report Card on our infrastructure by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), we all need to be seemingly ashamed of what we’ve allowed our country to become since the United States infrastructure earned a paltry and embarrassing D+ grade.

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Fleets of driverless cars could smoothen traffic by at least 35%

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Driverless cars that are networked and in constant communication on the road could improve the flow of traffic by at least 35%.

The findings were reported by researchers at the University of Cambridge who programmed miniature robotic cars to drive on a multi-lane track where various traffic obstructions occurred. Each tiny robotic car was fitted with motion capture sensors and a Raspberry Pi which enabled them to communicate via WiFi.

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How electric and driverless vehicles will change building design

 

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The world’s first affordable automobile had a dramatic impact on residential design. On October 1, 1908, the first Model T Ford was built in Detroit. Unlike horses, most people could afford to have their own private car and keep it at their home. Between 1908 and 1927, Ford built some 15 million Model T cars.

Moving on from horses and carriages, for over a century homes and apartments have been designed to cater for private car ownership where drivers are human, and vehicles are powered by petrol or diesel.

As people began driving their own private cars, residential property design changed to provide a place to keep the vehicles (garages), and commercial venues had to accommodate individuals leaving their vehicles parked, instead of being dropped off by a carriage that immediately moved on (carparks).

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China’s rolling out dedicated highway lanes for self-driving cars

 

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In a bid to lead the race to fully-autonomous vehicles, China is building highways with dedicated lanes for self-driving cars.

A new 62-mile stretch of freeway will have two lanes dedicated to autonomous vehicles (AVs), according to FutureCar. The idea is that the infrastructure investment will give AVs access to real-world traffic conditions — but also that the separate lanes will ensure that the still-limited AV tech is tested in a way that minimizes risk for human drivers.

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