Elon Musk Announces Tesla Self Driving “Robo-Taxi” Fleet


People have long questioned the sustainability of Tesla’s business model, especially in light of recent challenges. At an investor presentation today, CEO Elon Musk surprised everyone when he announced that the company would begin moving away from traditional car manufacturing and towards being an operator of a fleet of self-driving, “robo-taxis.”

Claiming that these self-driver Tesla’s could hit the road as early as next year, Musk and Tesla VP of hardware engineering Peter Bannon revealed a new chip technology, calling it a “Full, Self-Driving computer” that has been developing for the past three years.

The CEO would describe the new piece of hardware as being the “best in the world,” outclassing existing chips produced by giants such as Nvidia Corp . He went on to say that chip giants such as Nvidia had too many customers across various sectors, forcing them to provide “generalized solution[s]” that can’t compete with Tesla’s specialized piece of hardware. These new chips were installed in new Model S and Model X vehicles in March and are currently being installed in Model 3s.

Nvidia responded today with a corporate statement which said that Tesla’s claims were incorrect. “Tesla was inaccurate in comparing its Full Self Driving computer at 144 TOPS of processing with Nvidia Drive Xavier at 21 TOPS,” a spokesman said. “The correct comparison would have been against Nvidia’s full self-driving computer, Nvidia Drive AGX Pegasus, which delivers 320 TOPS for AI perception, localization and path planning.”

Worries over self-driving cars are widespread, with safety being the top concern. Experts weren’t impressed with the announcement, especially since news broke earlier of a Tesla which burst into flames while parked in a lot in Shanghai. There have been at least 14 instances of Tesla cars bursting into flames since 2013. Even last week, a Florida man sued Tesla over an autopilot crash that left him with permanent injuries, further calling into question the safety of these automobiles.

In response to these failures, Brokerage Evercore cut its recommendation on Tesla’s stock down to a “sell,” downgrading its target price from $330 to $240 per share. Evercore became the twelfth brokerage to ask investors to give up on Elon Musk’s car company, further escalating bearish sentiments surrounding the firm.

“We remain encouraged by Tesla’s vision and future growth prospects, but there is increased uncertainty around near-term demand versus previous bullish forecasts and growth cannot stall for a growth company,” Evercore analysts wrote in a note to their clients.

Currently, almost 40 percent of all analysts covering Tesla have a sell rating on the company, a record not seen since November 2016. Overall, shares of the automaker are down four percent in today’s trading session.

Tesla Company Profile

Tesla Inc is a vertically integrated sustainable energy company that also aims to transition the world to electric mobility by making electric vehicles. It sells solar panels and solar roofs for energy generation plus batteries for stationary storage for residential and commercial properties including utilities.

The Tesla Roadster debuted in 2008, Model S in 2012, Model X in 2015, and Model 3 in 2017. Global deliveries in 2018 were 245,506 units. Tesla went public in 2010 and employs about 50,000 people. – Warrior Trading News