How did it occur to Elon Musk to bet on the autonomous car? We have our own theory: 7:00 am. Elon Musk gets out of bed, has breakfast and goes into Recode, a reference medium in Silicon Valley. Scrolling through the screen, discover a story about autonomous cars. The bulb in your brain lights up and you know what your next innovative project will be.
There is no new technology in which Musk is not involved. His passion to go one step ahead in technology has led him to found Space X, a project that wants to take people to space. But, among its terrestrial projects, is the autonomous car, which aims to unseat Uber, Cabify and the entire taxi sector.
He wants to set up his own taxi business, but it will not be easy. The competition also wants to take over a piece of the plot. Both Google and Apple, two giants of the Internet Age, are developing their own prototypes of autonomous cars. Apple seems the furthest behind, since one of its vehicles was involved in an accident, yes, the fault was a human and not the machine. But this does not prevent the incident from causing bad press to your company.
The most advanced company of all seems to be Tesla, led by the controversial Elon Musk. He recently gave a press conference where he offered details on the progress of the autonomous car. To begin with, he announced that robotaxis will begin to circulate on the streets of the United States next year. What looked like science fiction will finally see it in the real world.
The guru not only talked about when his vehicles will be on the market but about the volume of production. “In a year we will have more than one million cars with the complete self-driving system, with the software, with everything.” But things do not stop there, Musk always wants to go further and predicts to make a car without a steering wheel or pedals within two years.
In parallel, the differential factor of the Tesla car is in a new microchip, developed by Samsung Electronics. This hardware, according to Musk, is the most advanced in the market. “The device is capable of generating seven times more frames than Nvidia’s Xavier system,” said Pete Bannon, head of the company’s autopilot hardware. A chip that has been manufactured since 2016 and that Musk wanted to have operational in 2018, a forecast that has not been met.
Tesla shares rose briefly after the announcement, but investors do not have as much hope as Musk that this will work. The autonomous car presents many regulatory problems in many states of the United States.
Musk seems to have things very clear, but both his senior managers and the industry are not so sure of seeing their prototypes so soon in the market. Musk says his vehicles are completely autonomous, although he has not yet reached level 4 driving, the highest standard of autonomy.