Last night, Tesla announced some exciting hardware upgrades for the Model X and Model S that feature fully autonomous driving, at some point anyway. The announcement came just before a video detailing a Tesla ‘navigating a complex urban environment’ — which saw the car get on a drive itself through a suburban neighborhood, get on the freeway and then drop off the driver and park itself. It even ‘recognized’ a no parking zone found another spot.
If you planned on grabbing one to make your life as an Uber or Lyft driver easier, however, don’t. The announcement came with this legal disclaimer:
Please note that Self-Driving functionality is dependent upon extensive software validation and regulatory approval, which may vary widely by jurisdiction. It is not possible to know exactly when each element of the functionality described above will be available, as this is highly dependent on local regulatory approval. Please note also that using a self-driving Tesla for car sharing and ride hailing for friends and family is fine, but doing so for revenue purposes will only be permissible on the Tesla Network, details of which will be released next year.
In founder Elon Musk’s ‘Master Plan, Part Deux‘ he detailed future plans for Tesla’s own ride-sharing network. Musk didn’t give us much to go on, but he did mention the following in the Master Plan:
Since most cars are only in use by their owner for 5% to 10% of the day, the fundamental economic utility of a true self-driving car is likely to be several times that of a car which is not.
In cities where demand exceeds the supply of customer-owned cars, Tesla will operate its own fleet, ensuring you can always hail a ride from us no matter where you are.
So it seems ride-sharing is definitely in Tesla’s future, just not on Uber or Lyft. That’s okay, both are hard at work on their own self driving technology that we should see in the near future.