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Tesla teases robotaxi ride-hailing app ahead of August reveal


Elon Musk hinted at what Tesla’s long-awaited robotaxi experience could look like during Q1 earnings, while the firm’s Bitcoin holdings remain unchanged. Electric car manufacturer Tesla and its CEO Elon Musk on Tuesday unveiled new details of its long-awaited autonomous ride-hailing service — allowing riders to summon supposedly driverless vehicles via an Uber-like experience. 

During a first-quarter earnings presentation on April 23, the company gave a preview of what the ride-hailing app could look like, showing the ability for a rider to summon a vehicle, set the interior car temperature, track its location, and decide what music to play.

Tesla has long teased the mass rollout of robotaxis. In 2019, Musk said he was “very confident” that Tesla would begin operating robotaxis by 2020 — something that didn’t come to fruition. 

The program would let a Tesla owner rent out their vehicle for rides, with Tesla taking a cut of revenue and the rest going to the vehicle’s owner — each car was forecasted to make $30,000 in gross profit per car annually.

During the latest earnings call, Musk clarified the program will work more like a “combination of Airbnb and Uber” where Tesla will operate the main fleet but there will be a number of cars owned by the end-user.

“That end-user can add or subtract their car to the fleet whenever they want, and they can decide if they want to only let the car be used by friends and family or only by five-star users or by anyone,” Musk said.

“At any time they could have the car come back to them and be exclusively theirs like an Airbnb,” he added.

Musk hinted the initial fleet would be around 7 million vehicles but envisioned it could eventually be in the “tens of millions.”

Tesla is slated to showcase its “purpose-built” robotaxi in August, which Musk has referred to as “Cybercab” in the latest earnings call.