Tesla to start production of fully autonomous robot taxis in 2023
Musk promised that in 12 months this plant will begin to produce 500,000 Model Y crossovers a year
During Cyber Rodeo, an event to celebrate the opening of Tesla’s new gigafactory in Austin, Texas, Elon Musk revealed that in addition to half a million Model Ys a year, new models of electric vehicles will be produced here: the long-awaited Cybertruck pickup, as well as an even more futuristic “robotaxis”, about which there has been no information so far.
The company built a car assembly plant in Austin in two years. Unlike the factory in Fremont, California, owned by General Motors and Toyota before Tesla, this one was built from scratch. Musk promised that in 12 months this plant will begin to produce 500,000 Model Y crossovers a year. A technology for wireless transmission of energy over long distances has been created.
“It was not easy to build this huge building and bring all this equipment,” Musk admitted, speaking to guests and employees, wearing a black cowboy hat. “If you put the building on its side, it will be higher than the [tallest skyscraper on the planet] Burj Khalifa.” That is more than 828 meters.
In addition, at the Cyber Rodeo, Musk announced that 2023 will be the year of new Tesla vehicles, including the Cybertruck pickup truck, the Tesla Semi truck, the Roadster sports car, and something completely new – an autonomous passenger shuttle. “There will be a specialized robot taxi that will look quite futuristic,” said the head of the company.
For the first time, Musk appears to be moving away from his original plan to achieve autonomy by gradually training already-released electric vehicles that constantly collect traffic data. Now he’s talking about developing a vehicle that isn’t designed to be driven by a human.
Musk did not give any exact dates for the appearance of robotaxis, but most likely this direction will not be a priority until the company releases a fully functional version of the Full Self-Driving autonomous control program. Nearly all Tesla owners in North America will be able to sign up for the Advanced Autopilot beta this year, Electrek reports.
As early as next year, limited production of the humanoid robot Optimus, which Musk announced, should begin. Optimus will be “the first all-purpose droid” and will learn from tasks that humans normally do. In the future, Musk believes, the robot will turn into a “vessel” for downloading the knowledge and even the personalities of its owners.