Elon Musk says Tesla will unveil its robotaxi on Aug. 8; shares pop

Elon Musk, Chief Executive Officer of Tesla and owner of X, formerly known as Twitter, attends the Viva Technology conference dedicated to innovation and startups at the Porte de Versailles exhibition center in Paris, France, June 16, 2023. 

Gonzalo Fuentes | Reuters

Tesla will reveal its robotaxi product on Aug. 8, CEO Elon Musk said in a social media post on X.

Musk has spoken about the robotaxi project for years, and it could represent a major new business for the carmaker as investors grow wary of the company during a period of slowing growth.

Tesla shares rose over 3% in extended trading after Musk’s tweet.

Musk shared the release date on Friday after Reuters reported that plans for Tesla’s highly anticipated low-cost car model had been scrapped. Musk accused Reuters of “lying.”

Tesla’s robotaxi project, according to Musk’s past remarks, would allow Tesla vehicles to use self-driving technology to autonomously pick up riders for fares. In 2019, Musk said that he expected to have over 1 million robotaxis on the road by 2020. Author Walter Isaacson also mentioned the robotaxi project in his biography of Musk, published in 2022.

Currently, Tesla offers advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS,) including its Autopilot option, as well as a premium Full Self-Driving “FSD” option, which costs $199 per month for subscribers. However, Teslas currently cannot operate without human intervention.

There is significant competition in the market for taxi services that use self-driving cars.

Alphabet’s autonomous vehicle unit Waymo operates driverless ride-hailing services in Phoenix, San Francisco and Los Angeles, and is now ramping up in Tesla’s home base of Austin, Texas.

GM’s Cruise service previously offered self-driving car services in San Francisco before being wound down under regulatory scrutiny after an accident. Since the incident, Cruise’s robotaxi fleet has been grounded, local and federal governments have launched their own investigations and Cruise leadership has been gutted.

– CNBC’s Lora Kolodny contributed reporting.

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