As Lyft and Uber are on the verge of going public Elon Musk has announced that Tesla too plans to join the lift-sharing sector-albeit in a slightly different way.
The news was announced via a response to a twitter post from @LivingTesla who complained about the camera on the rearview mirror of the car.
The Tesla fan stated that until they know its purpose they would cover the camera. Musk responded saying the camera was installed there to monitor the interior of the car during a rideshare type experience once the car becomes apart of the “Tesla shared autonomy fleet.”
It’s there for when we start competing with Uber/Lyft & people allow their car to earn money for them as part of the Tesla shared autonomy fleet. In case someone messes up your car, you can check the video.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 5, 2019
Tesla on the way to self-driving
The critical thing about Musk’s ride-sharing plan is that it won’t come into effect until Tesla is fully autonomous. So Tesla drivers can add their cars to an autonomous fleet without actually needing to be present.
While Tesla cars aren't self-driving at present it's something Tesla has been very public about as working towards. Once Tesla has developed the technology, and the regulation allows it, Tesla cars could become autonomous with a simple over the air software update.
Once autonomous the ride-sharing arm of Tesla could begin. Ride-sharing services have had their fair share of misfortune and controversy, but as autonomous electric cars continue to develop at a rapid rate, this is no doubt the future of urban mobility.
Camera protects investment
For Tesla owners, the cars interior camera acts as both a deterrent and support. If any customers are suspected of ‘messing up the cars interiors’ the footage can be reviewed.
But its mere presence should act as a deterrence, the same way cameras inside public transport and cars do now. There is already a long list of advantages to being a Tesla owner and looks like there is now one more. Imagine being able to make money from your car while you sleep!?
There are lots of advantages to an autonomous rideshare system. But presently there are a lot of obstacles in the way. These include tough regulation on safety in particular cities, not to mention city design that will make it hard or autonomous vehicles to navigate.
People still scared
But another hurdle will be public opinion. A recent survey from AAA The results from the study revealed a massive 71 percent of Americans say that they’re afraid to ride in a self-driving car, that’s up from 63 percent who responded to a similar survey back in 2017.
The AAA suspect that the reason for the fear is simple; it appears as though self-driving cars are killing people. Last year an autonomous Uber vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona.
Uber ruled not responsible
A local judge recently ruled that Uber is not criminally responsible for the incident. There is a startup that’s trying to beat this by offering drivers to monitor autonomous cars remotely.
Designated Driver is a Portland-based company that has created a system where a human driver can remotely monitor driverless cars and take control of the vehicle if it is under duress or malfunctions.
The service is aimed at more commercial applications than individual car-sharing vehicles, but if fear is the hurdle for fully embracing Musk’s vision it could very well become an option.