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Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Tesla plans to introduce self-driving taxis in some U.S. cities next year, CEO Elon Musk announced on Monday at a company event for investors, during which it also unveiled a new chip to power its autonomous driving system.

The big picture: Tesla has long proclaimed its ambition to operate fleets of self-driving taxis. But limitations of the company's currently available autonomous driving tech — along with well-publicized accidents involving the limited self-driving technology its cars currently offer — raise questions about Tesla's aggressive timeline.

What's new: At the event, Tesla unveiled a new proprietary chip at the center of its autonomous driving tech that it designed on its own for the first time, and said it's already working on the device's next iteration. Previously, Tesla had been using Nvidia chips.

  • "All Tesla cars being produced right now have everything necessary for full self driving — all you need to do is improve the software," said Musk of the new chip. He told investors they'd be able to test-drive cars with the improved software later during the event.
  • Musk's acknowledgment of the need for improved software is also a nod to the limits of Tesla's current autonomous driving system, which cannot currently handle all aspects of the road without human intervention.
  • Tesla’s robotaxi fleets will be made up of vehicles owned by customers, who will be able to lend them out to ferry passengers when they’d otherwise be idle. Tesla will take a 20%–30% cut on those fares, according to Musk, who described the business model as a cross between Uber and Airbnb.

What's next: Tesla is scheduled to release its latest earnings report Wednesday, with analysts expecting disappointing financial results.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

6 mins ago - World

Scoop: Ukraine tells senators post-invasion sanctions are no help

Zelensky. Photo: Johanna Geron/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told U.S. senators visiting Kyiv this week that waiting to impose sanctions on Russia until after an invasion is of no use to Ukraine, according to four sources familiar with the discussions.

Why it matters: The Senate is currently working on a major sanctions package to deter Russia from attacking Ukraine. Democrats and Republicans are united in their support for Ukraine, but divided over whether it would be more effective to sanction Russia now to signal resolve, or hold up the threat of future sanctions to demonstrate the high costs of an invasion.

Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Starbucks has dropped plans to require that U.S. workers get the COVID vaccine or submit to weekly testing, the company announced Tuesday in a memo to employees.

Why it matters: The company's decision comes in response to the Supreme Court's ruling last week to block the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

4 hours ago - World

Netanyahu plea talks enter crunch time

Netanyahu (right) meets with his lawyer ahead of a court hearing last February. Photo: Reuven Casto/Pool/AFP via Getty

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's opposition leader and former prime minister, is negotiating a possible plea deal over the corruption charges against him, but Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit appears to be toughening his terms.

Why it matters: Mandelblit leaves office on Jan. 31. Negotiations could continue beyond that point, but the next attorney general may be less interested in quickly reaching a deal.