Musk promises a “dedicated robotaxis” with the futuristic look of Tesla

SAN FRANCISCO, April 7 (Reuters) – Electric car maker Tesla (TSLA.O) will make a “dedicated” self-driving taxi that “will look futuristic”, chief executive Elon Musk said on Thursday, without giving a timeframe.

The 50-year-old billionaire, wearing a black cowboy hat and sunglasses, made the comments during the opening of Tesla’s $1.1 billion factory in Texas, home to its new headquarters.

“Massive scale. Completely self-driving. There’s going to be a dedicated robotaxi,” Musk told a large crowd at the factory.

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Musk has repeatedly missed his full autonomy goals. In 2019, he said that human-driverless robotaxis would be available in some US markets in 2020.

In January, he said he would be “shocked” if Tesla didn’t achieve safer-than-human full self-driving this year.

Tesla will expand its “Full Self-Driving” beta software to all North American FSD subscribers this year, it said Thursday.

Tesla is now selling the advanced driver assistance systems for $12,000, with a promise of more features. He says the software does not make his vehicles autonomous and requires driver supervision.

The beta version, launched at the end of 2020, aims to allow cars to navigate city streets better. By January, it had been installed in nearly 60,000 vehicles in the United States.

Musk said Tesla had begun deliveries of Texas-made Model Y electric sport utility vehicles, aiming to produce half a million a year at the Texas plant, which he said would be the largest factory. United States automobile.

He didn’t give any details on these Model Ys, but they will likely be cheaper versions to better compete against cheaper competitors.

Tesla will begin production of its Cybertruck as well as a humanoid robot, Optimus, next year, Musk said.

The company’s new giga factories in Texas and Berlin, which will make vehicles and its own battery cells, face the challenge of ramping up production with new processes, analysts said.

Musk said Tesla simplified car manufacturing by making a car in three main parts.

Despite record first-quarter deliveries, a recent spike in COVID-19 in China forced Tesla to suspend production at its Shanghai factory for several days. Read more

Thursday’s event comes after Musk surprised the market this week by revealing he had bought a 9% stake in Twitter (TWTR.N) and would join the social media network’s board of directors. Read more

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Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Additional reporting by Akash Sriram in Bangalore; Editing by Richard Pullin and Clarence Fernandez

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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