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Tesla Forecasts Autonomous Robotaxis In 2020

Elizabeth Balboa

Not even news of autonomous robotaxis could steer Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA)'s stock straight after a weekend Model S explosion and board shakeup.

What Happened

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Monday he is “very confident” the automaker will operate 1 million robotaxis next year. The mass of Teslas already on the road have been aiding in data collection used to enhance self-driving software.

The service won’t be “in all jurisdictions, because we won’t have regulatory approval everywhere, but I am confident we will have at least regulatory approval somewhere, literally next year,” Musk said at the firm’s Autonomy Investor Day.

Tesla’s software powers an Autopilot feature enabling highway navigation and lane changes as well as the ability to summon a vehicle from a parking space. Engineers expect their cars to be able to function on city streets and to respond to stop signs and traffic lights later this year.

Why It’s Important

Tesla’s service would emerge not a moment too soon. Lyft Inc (NASDAQ: LYFT) and Uber have already primed the ride-sharing market and prepared commuters for a future without car ownership.

Waymo began piloting its autonomous ride-share service last year, and General Motors Company (NYSE: GM) aims to launch its Cruise service some time this year.

Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) also began testing its competitor and set a 2021 target for widespread release. The project is being supported by a data-sharing partnership with Uber and Lyft. Notably, Ford shuttered its Chariot ride-share program earlier this year.

Musk warned his timeline may be off, as it historically has been, but he assured his vision would eventually come to fruition.

Tesla releases its first-quarter earnings this Wednesday.

Tesla traded lower by 3.8 percent in Monday's session and was down about 1.4 percent Tuesday morning at $259 per share.

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