Innovation

Tesla Introduces Self-Driving Microchip, Says Autonomous Taxis Are A Year Away

Tesla Introduces New Self-Driving Microchip, Says Autonomous Taxis Are A Year Away

Tesla invited investors and analysts to its California headquarters on Monday (April 22) to introduce a new microchip for self-driving cars and convince them that it will have an edge in the autonomous car industry, according to Reuters.

Chief Executive Elon Musk also said the car company was preparing autonomous taxis that would be available in 2020.

The presentation began 30 minutes late, and Musk admitted he often missed deadlines, but said he was bullish on the technology.

“Probably two years from now we’ll make a car with no steering wheels or pedals,” he said.

Tesla is expected to present a quarterly loss due to fewer deliveries of its Model 3 sedan, an attempt to become a large-volume car manufacturer.

Many carmakers and tech companies, including Alphabet and Uber, are working on bringing autonomous vehicle technology to the market. Despite this, many analysts predict that it will be many years before the technology is ready.

All Teslas being produced now, Musk said, have the microchip and the company is already working on a next generation one. The chip has been in development since 2016, and Musk had said his company would have fully self-driving cars by 2018, a deadline the company missed.

“Any part of this could fail and the car will keep driving,” Musk said. “A year from now we’ll have over a million cars with full self-driving, software, everything.”

Musk said Tesla designed the best self-driving chip because it was designed only for the purpose of autonomous driving, whereas companies like Nvidia are developing chips that do other things as well.

The presentation did not affect Tesla’s shares, which closed down 3.8 percent at $262.75.

The company’s vehicles have been involved in some crashes, a few fatal, using the autopilot system. It has auto steering and cruise control but requires driver attention. Some critics have criticized the company because they say it isn’t clear enough about what “driver attention” really means.

The company also has what it calls a “full self-driving option” for an add-on price of $5,000. It’s touted as “automatic driving from highway on-ramp to off-ramp,” with auto lane changes, autopark and a car summon. The company plans to add the ability to recognize stop signs and traffic lights, it said.  

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