Imagine the scene: You can't book a ride share and all you have are taxis who either reject you (“traffic kasi doon!”) or will ask for a little extra (“kontrata”) to get to your destination. It's absolutely frustrating and infuriating, but Tesla, it seems, could soon have a solution.
It's called the RoboTaxi, and Tesla wants to make driverless cabs a reality within the first half of 2020.
Tesla is optimistic that their in-house full self-driving computer can handle the demands of full autonomy. They claim that it can do up to 144 trillon operations per second (TOPS), making it one of the most powerful processors out there today. This computer then reads various data from the different cameras, sensors, and radars from the vehicle, as well as GPS. With a processor that powerful, Telsa says their self-driving tech can adapt to changing light conditions, weather, and can even detect unusual obstacles on the road.
So, how does it work? In essence, it's like a ride sharing app. If you have the Tesla app, it will be a cloud update that will allow you to book a ride or add your personal Tesla to the RoboTaxi fleet. With that, one can simply 'summon' the vehicle. But unlike a route-discerning cab driver, the RoboTaxi, will not argue with you that your destination is too far, or ask for an extra amount of cash for going to a congested area.
Granted, it's for the US only at the moment, but just imagine if it were to be introduced here. It could just ease all the hassles of trying to get in a cab in the first place. No more excuses such as “Malayo masyado”, or “pa-garahe na ako”.
Tesla CEO Elon musk said that they will roll out the tech later this year. However, this current iteration of RoboTaxi does need driver attention until full autonomous tech has been ironed out. That said, Musk said that they are targeting full autonomy for RoboTaxis by the second quarter of 2020. At the moment, there are no plans or announcements to introduce the RoboTaxi scheme in other countries.