Technology research and investment firm Ark Invest says solid safety data and the huge progress being made in artificial intelligence could see Tesla roll out its first fully autonomous Robotaxi this year.
In published analysis that offers various odds on when Tesla will first commercialise its Robotaxi business model, Ark says the recent flurry of AI progress from large language models like ChatGPT to image-generation diffusion models like Midjourney, should accelerate innovation in the autonomous driving industry.
“Tesla, for example, already uses transformers popularised by large language models for lane and intersection prediction,” said Ark Invest in its recent analysis.
“In our view, Tesla’s vertical integration strategy and Dojo training supercomputer are key competitive advantages. Training currently runs at 100% capacity, suggesting that Tesla’s plan to expand Dojo by two orders of magnitude next year will help the company shorten the time between model updates.
“Recent videos of its latest full self-driving (FSD) software update, including one of a driver who nearly completes a full ride-hail ride without touching the wheel, suggest that Tesla is close to launch in some geographies.”
Ark says that 22% of its simulations predicted that Tesla will commercialise its first fully autonomous Robotaxi this year with another 33% of simulations predicting first commercialisation will happen next year.
Ark believes regulators will be won over by Tesla’s irrefutable safety data.
“Tesla’s data library should help prove statistically the safety of its vehicles, giving it significant advantage over peers in the regulatory approval process,” said Ark.
“Tesla’s customer-owned fleet drives more than 120 million miles per day, and over one million miles per day in FSD. In contrast, in their multi-year lifetimes, Cruise and Waymo have reached just one million miles each driven on public roads with no one behind the wheel.
“Moreover, accident statistics suggest that Tesla already has achieved performance superior to human drivers. According to our research, adjusting for its use on surface streets only, Tesla’s FSD is 5X safer than a manually driven Tesla.”
The numbers are hard to argue with. As part of it’s recent Impact Report, Tesla showed that the accident rate for Teslas using FSD is 80% lower than US average.
Ark Invest is well known for its optimism on Tesla’s future. The firm owns over $1 billion worth of Tesla shares and believe the share price will hit $US2,000 by 2027. Ark also believes that the global car market will shift to EVs much faster than many currently predict.
Ark Invest CEO Cathy Wood predicts that fully electric vehicle sales will reach 90% of global car sales in 2027 as consumers become aware of the shift taking place, causing demand for petrol and diesel cars to collapse completely.
Daniel Bleakley is a clean technology researcher and advocate with a background in engineering and business. He has a strong interest in electric vehicles, renewable energy, manufacturing and public policy.