Apr 22, 2019

Tesla says it will roll out robotaxis in U.S. next year

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.

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China reopens Wuhan after 10-week coronavirus lockdown

People wearing facemasks stand near Yangtze River in Wuhan. Photo: HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images

China has lifted its lockdown of Wuhan, the city in Hubei province where the coronavirus outbreak was first reported in December, according to the New York Times.

Why it matters: As cases surged in January, China took the draconian step of sealing off the city of 11 million and shutting down its economy — a response that was viewed at the time as only possible in an authoritarian system, but which has since been adopted by governments around the world.

Go deeperArrow13 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 1,381,014— Total deaths: 78,269 — Total recoveries: 292,973Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 378,289 — Total deaths: 11,830 — Total recoveries: 20,003Map.
  3. Trump administration latest: Trump removes watchdog overseeing rollout of $2 trillion coronavirus bill
  4. Federal government latest: Senate looks to increase coronavirus relief for small businesses this week — Testing capacity is still lagging far behind demand.
  5. States update: New York death toll surged to its highest one-day total as state predicts a plateau in hospitalizations.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: The race to reopen America
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Trump removes watchdog overseeing rollout of $2 trillion coronavirus bill

Glenn Fine, acting Pentagon watchdog

President Trump on Monday replaced the Pentagon's acting Inspector General Glenn Fine, who had been selected to chair the panel overseeing the rollout of the $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill passed last month, Politico first reported.

Why it matters: A group of independent federal watchdogs selected Fine to lead the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, but Fine's removal from his Pentagon job prevents him from being able to serve in that position — since the law only allows sitting inspectors general to fill the role.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 34 mins ago - Politics & Policy