Will Elon Musk bring self-driving robotaxis to India?
Remember those days when Tesla was all about electric vehicles and adoption of clean energy? Well, Elon Musk might just have stepped up the game, integrating advanced self-driving capabilities with cab-sharing services to give wings to his truly futuristic vision.
At the Tesla Autonomy Day, the serial tech entrepreneur further outlined his plans for the EV company, announcing the launch of ambitious robotaxis next year. If Musk is to be believed by 2020, his company will be putting at least a million self-driving robotaxis on the road in some parts of the US.
Although ambitious, Musk is positive that by the time Tesla’s autonomous system will be so far advanced that drivers would be perfectly capable of driving the electric car without paying attention to the road. Combine this with his broader vision of an autonomous taxi network and Musk is certain that customers would be able to reap major benefits, putting their self-driving cars out as part of a robotaxi fleet. A service much like Uber or Airbnb, except the self-driving part!
Of course, he would need regulatory approvals before his robotaxi fleet hits the roads.
“We will have more than one million robotaxis on the road,” Musk was quoted. “A year from now, we’ll have over a million cars with full self-driving, software... everything.”
Evidently, the EV maker has been working towards this goal for some time now. In fact, all Tesla cars being manufactured nowadays come packed with all the “hardware necessary for full self-driving”.
This includes eight vision cameras, 12 ultrasonic sensors, radar, and a full self-driving chip that is capable of processing up to 2300 frames per second.
Now the question remains, when do we get to test drive a Tesla or take a ride in one of their robotaxis in India? And who to answer this best than Musk himself?
On more than one occasion, the Tesla CEO has hinted about an expansion into the domestic markets. In a Twitter thread back in March, he even said he would love to be in India “this year, if not, definitely next!”
And the hints don’t stop here. Prior to this tweet, the billionaire entrepreneur had suggested that he is looking at a “partial presence in India, Africa & South America end of next year, with broader expansion in 2020.”
Meanwhile, India has also been gearing up for the EV revolution, one policy at a time. In a bid to boost the EV wave here, in 2013, the Government of India launched a National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020. Under the mission, in March 2015, the Scheme for Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid&) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME India) was launched for two years under Phase-I, which was subsequently extended up to March 31, 2019.
Keeping all the policies and Musk’s hints in mind, it is then not too outlandish to hope to see Teslas in India soon. But it might not be a cake walk introducing autonomous driverless robotaxis here, given the road conditions and traffic congestion on Indian roads.