Tesla launches robo-taxi car and oil destroyer

Via BI:

Tesla is all-in on its plans to take over the ride-hailing industry.

On Monday, CEO Elon Musk revealed the company’s plans to compete with incumbents like Uber and Lyft with the company’s strategy for an autonomous ride-hailing fleet.

Robo-taxis are essentially any Tesla vehicle with autonomous-driving functionality. To turn a Tesla into a robo-taxi, a car’s owner simply adds it to the Tesla Network platform by way of the company’s app.

Musk said that by “next year for sure, we will have over 1 million robo-taxis on the road.”

Riders will be able to summon a robo-taxi via the same Tesla app – similarly to how they call for an Uber or Lyft today. The key difference, of course, is that there won’t be a driver in the car.

Musk acknowledged the regulatory limitations and that not all regions will openly approve the company’s futuristic tech right away. Still, Tesla’s chief exec said he’s “very confident” in predicting the launch of the robo-taxi program by next year in certain parts of the US.

Musk also predicted rides via robo-taxis will cost significantly less. The average cost for a trip from a ride-hailing service today is about $US2 to $US3 per mile, he said, whereas Tesla’s program will likely come out to be less than $US0.18 a mile.

This is the end of the family car and oil industry unfolding before our eyes. As we have written before:

Electric Car Economics

An electric car is more expensive than an oil powered car (due to the cost of the battery), but cheaper to run (oil is expensive per unit of energy, lower running costs due to fewer moving parts, less energy loss with batteries and more efficient power generation).

This means the economic calculation is about amortising the cost of the battery over the distance travelled.

By my numbers, the current cross-over is about 100,000km per year and falling with decreasing battery cost. This means that a private electric car is not economically better (because most drivers don’t drive 100,000km per year), but an electric taxi is.

Levelised cost of driving

Driverless Taxi Economics

Self-driving cars will be very cheap as the most expensive component (the driver) is removed. The simplest way is to look at car hire companies:

  • Car hire companies are happy to rent a car to users for $60 a day with about a 75% utilisation rate = $45 a day to the car company. Let’s call that the capital cost of a car.
  • Now let’s add a third to the cost to cover the battery and the driverless technology – puts us back at $60 per day.
  • Given its driverless, it can operate for 24 hours a day – but call it 15 hours to take into account time to charge the battery, cleaning, slow periods, servicing and to make the math easier.
  • So, the car owner needs to make $4 per hour to make a return.
  • Assuming 1.5 trips per hour (roughly the average), add in electricity costs, 10% to the booking company and about $3.00 per trip is the end cost to the user.

It is pretty compelling. Basically, a driverless taxi would be cost competitive with (human driven) public transport.

The timeline

There are a range of tests currently being run. The ones I am looking at most closely include:

  • Waymo/Google have done the most testing and have progressed to testing without human backup drivers in Arizona. They are planning on rolling out 20,000 taxis in partnership with Jaguar Land Rover starting in late 2018.
  • GM/Cruise are possibly more technologically advanced than Waymo with an integrated (i.e. manufacturing + technology) solution in the US. They are targeting a 2019 rollout and have a petition to change laws for driverless cars in the US which will be ruled on in coming months.
  • nuTonomy is running pilot operations in Singapore, is looking to expand to 100 cars in 2018. Singapore conditions (a small heavily populated land mass, no snow and relatively autocratic government ) are one of the most likely to support driverless cars in initial stages.
  • Easymile has been running driverless bus trials (on mainly fixed routes) in a range of cities around the world.
  • Baidu (AKA China’s Google) is investing heavily and has released a free software platform (Apollo) which allows other Chinese car companies to use Baidu’s technology. Given government support and the Baidu platform, China will likely be a key player in driverless technology.

Once a certain level of regulatory acceptance is reached the take-up of this will not be gradual as most models present. It will be like mobile phones, parabolic, and the fallout for oil and car manufacturers be as massive as it is unstoppable.

Comments

  1. This is just a hype. It’s not going to happen any time soon 5 or 10 years and when it happens it will turn trafic into a nightmare

    • Pecunia Nervus Belli

      Read. It is being done in the next year.

      There are already LOTS, no not some – LOTS of completely autonomous vehicles on the road – including fleets of taxis (Google in several cities in the US).

      Lets say there are 1000 cars in total on our roads in peak hour. Each on of them has a single person (obviously some have more – very few) – a Tesla can pick up 5 users on its trip (going forward this will be six front seats will face backwards and become bench seats) – the cars would automatically work out which cars to pick up people assigned to their distance etc.

      This reduces congestion to 200 cars.

      Since the cars are also networked they have no need for traffic lights and can easily travel at high speeds without even stopping at intersections – there is no delay at take from stops (if there were any) as the exact amount of cars allowed through an intersection at any given moment would immediately take off at the same time.

      AI networked cars literally mean a complete and total end to all traffic congestion.

      You literally have no concept of what is happening.

      • There are ZERO Google/Waymo “completely autonomous vehicles on the road” given that even in their highly publicized trial in Arizona their so-called autonomous cars always have a “safety driver” on board.

        Ask yourself why they’re testing autonomous cars in Arizona where there is very little congestion and they very rarely have to contend with rain or snow. If they’re so confident about the technology, why aren’t they doing trials in NYC (or Canada) in mid-winter, or a massive third-world city with horrendous traffic like Bangkok or Jakarta? The simple answer is that the technology is still very primitive and would be absolutely paralyzed in conditions slightly more complex than quiet, wide suburban streets in Arizona or the freeways of Silicon Valley.

        Here’s something for you to read: https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2019/04/22/business/ap-us-autonomous-vehicles-not-ready-yet.html

        If Musk bets the farm that Tesla is going to develop fully autonomous cars anytime soon, Tesla is going to go bankrupt.

      • Here’s some other words from the same article:

        Inside, a safety driver sat at the wheel, with a Waymo representative in the front passenger seat.

        Like I’ve asked before, can you give me a link to a single article where a so-called driverless vehicle doesn’t have a safety driver? Cause if there’s a safety driver on board, it ain’t driverless and it sure as heck ain’t profitable!

      • Pecunia Nervus Belli

        John – some do – MOST dont.

        The law to allow them to be without drivers was past in April 2017

        https://www.theverge.com/2017/11/7/16615290/waymo-self-driving-safety-driver-chandler-autonomous

        The first vehicles were on the road in October 2017 – as in NO SAFETY DRIVER

        since mid-October, the company has been operating its autonomous minivans on public roads in Arizona without a safety driver — or any human at all — behind the wheel

        There is no debate, no discussion on this issue – absolutely zero.

      • “Pecunia”, you claim that since mid-October [2017], the company [Google/Waymo] has been operating its autonomous minivans on public roads in Arizona without a safety driver — or any human at all — behind the wheel.

        I repeat, can you provide a link to just one article published by an independent journalist, or someone who is not a Google employee, since mid-October 2017 where they ride in a Waymo vehicle in Arizona where there is no safety driver?

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        Lets say there are 1000 cars in total on our roads in peak hour. Each on of them has a single person (obviously some have more – very few) – a Tesla can pick up 5 users on its trip (going forward this will be six front seats will face backwards and become bench seats) – the cars would automatically work out which cars to pick up people assigned to their distance etc.

        People could have been doing this already for decades with taxis.

        They don’t.

        They don’t for the same reason they drive cars instead of catch buses and trains: convenience and personal space.

        Since the cars are also networked they have no need for traffic lights and can easily travel at high speeds without even stopping at intersections – there is no delay at take from stops (if there were any) as the exact amount of cars allowed through an intersection at any given moment would immediately take off at the same time.

        This requires every car on the road to participate in the system. Decades away minimum.

    • Level 5 as required for full self driving is 5-10 years away.
      Elon Musk is a charlatan and there is NO way Tesla will have a robo-taxi in 2020.
      They are running out of cash and he’s desperate to raise.

      Yes, I’m SHORT

      • Pecunia Nervus Belli

        BY the way stomper there are two things on the internet EVERYONE laughs at – the massive rise and rise of “new age flat earthers” – and the Tesla Shorters.

        I particularly like the article a few weeks ago – the SLAM DUNK – about how there were trucks idle outside his Giga factory and how there were hundreds of car yards all over north America filled with Teslas….slam dunk that one.

        Turns out Elon had bought all the trucks to avoid delays in transport which affected previous shipments – and the car yards he had also bought and booked to hold deliveries of Teslas as they don’t have car yards themselves – and he bought them off all the failing internal combustion engine yard dealers.

        Trolo lolo lol lol lio lol.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oavMtUWDBTM

      • Pecunia Nervus Belli

        @Denis413

        Yeah – the guy is running the United States space program and delivering satellites into space on behalf of NASA – what a loser hey Denis.

        Much rather listen to some crack pot on Twitter….

        Are you even kidding with that comment ?

      • @Pecunia Nervus Belli – Tesla is not and will not get to level 5 in 2020
        Their clown show today shows that they are years away from FSD and as for them introducing a robotaxi service – it’s as fanciful as their Model Y and Semi.

    • People don’t get that the problem of self-driving cars is not only technical but also legal and political question. Technical issues are solved to the certain level but that level is not satisfactory for legal people. Who will be responsible when bad things happen, a car renter, car owner, car manufacturer …
      In current neoliberal system this cannot be resolved because only state can fix this by rationalizing the industry.

      • Early 2020 is when Australia is expected to have updated its relevant regulations. The biggest issue is the term driver. What does that mean in this instance? That’s what I learned from a presentation given by one of the people responsible for overseeing the rewriting of the regs.

      • And thats the problem. What happens when a driverless car kills someone. How will insurance work? Who WILL insure these cars. They cannot operate without insurance.

      • MountainGuinMEMBER

        Bruce, if the automated cars can prove they have lower accident rates than the average cars, insurers would be happy to offer insurance as it is all about risk and return. My understanding is that the current version of telsa autopilot has a far low accident rates than normal cars. But lower accident rates does not mean no accidents so there remains the question about who should be at fault if the car causes an injury and is at fault. In Australia, even a “perfect” automated car could still get cleaned up by wombats and roos that hide behind trees and decide to come out at the worst possible moment.

      • Pecunia Nervus Belli

        There would have been at least several hundred internal combustion engine vehicles explode just today alone around the world.

        Your post is like pointing to a car accident in the 1920’s and declaring we should “stick with hoofs and hay – horses are safer” – they are not.

      • Hey @Pecunia Nervus Belli who said EVs and Hydrogen Cell vehicles aren’t the future?
        My point is that Tesla makes poor quality and dangerous goods. Their brand is being trashed daily and they won’t survive.
        Some of the new EVs and hybrids with good quality look the goods to me.

    • Pecunia Nervus Belli

      Spontaneous-combusting vehicles.

      Accounting for the difference in total numbers of vehicles – there would still be almost 100 times more internal combustion engine vehicles exploding than EV vehicles. In fact it is one of the single rarest car problems to happen – out of the hundreds of millions of EV vehicles already built there has been a handful of fires.

      Tesla’s luck looks like it is about to run out and the short-sellers about to bank a massive payday.

      Yes – according to some absolute wing nuts on the internet, according to everyone else there is simply no question about this – the planet is turning to electric vehicles and the time of the internal combustion engine is totally finished.

      You would have to be stark raving mad to think otherwise – not saying you aren’t though.

      Added to which, this research out of the University of Cologne, calling EVs worse than diesel for CO2 emissions:

      The study did not include the energy required to manufacture the engine block of an internal combustion engine vehicle – it merely added the mining requirements of the lithium battery and then added electricity as though it were derived from a coal fired power plant.

      Most home owners are already converted to solar – so Tesla would immediately be 40% lower than diesel – add in the mining costs of an engine block and its close to 90% better.

      There are lots of studies which cover the true full CO2 costs of electric vs ICE cars – try looking at a balanced selection of HONEST data not the first thing which reaffirms your selection bias – its obvious and really, really boring.

      Australian coal powering China’s ‘green’ EV push.

      China leads the planet by several factors in electricity generation for domestic use from renewables – what do you think the Three Gorges was ? A water skiing extravaganza ?

      Why post such absurd tripe ?

      Lets go with your premise for a second – “yeah – fossil fuel emitting cars are better for the fight against global warming” – said not even the dumbest person on planet earth.

      • You religious nutters are quite something — I’m merely reporting the news.

        As Stomper says, nobody is saying that EVs aren’t the future but people at the vanguard tend to put themselves in danger until the teething issues are ironed out. Tesla’s batteries are not stable and not safe. Period.

        Tesla itself is on borrowed time no matter what the fanboys say. The writing has been on the wall for a long time now. Musk will fight but he won’t beat ‘math’.

        ICEs explode randomly every day? Lol. Proof please.

        China is leading the world on ‘green’ issues? Trolololol. Don’t say that too publicly — you may have the police knock on your door to find out what you’ve been smoking.

        Don’t like what ‘other studies’ say that contradict your current beliefs? Just trash them with non sequiturs. Same old, same old.

        ite.


      • ICEs explode randomly every day? Lol. Proof please.

        Honestly I expect that somewhere in the world every day one or two internal combutstion engines do explode. Given how many of the things there are, the probable average age of the engines and the level of maintenance and knowledge most combustion engine owners are likely to have (including yours truly) the rate of internal combustion engine explosion probably makes it one of the safest things known to humans.

  2. Given that we’re well into 2019, how are the self-driving car trials that were supposed to start in 2018 coming along? Musk is delusional to claim that Tesla will have over 1 million robo-taxis on the road by 2020 (next year!) given that Teslas today are still obliviously slamming into semi-trailers and concrete highway barriers.

    • Pecunia Nervus Belli

      There are a thousand times more manually operated car accidents than autonomous – even accounting for difference in numbers.

      Autonomous vehicles are a thousand times safer and better drivers than manually driven ones.

      The fully autonomous taxi fleet in Arizona has now been operating for almost two years – since you asked.

      The autonomous vehicle tests on the Transurban Bolte link finished almost 12 months ago after a year and half of testing.

      Since you asked – yes – its all been done and without incident.

      • > The fully autonomous taxi fleet in Arizona has now been operating for almost two years – since you asked.

        If that is true, can you post a link to just one article from an independent journalist where they ride in a Waymo robo-taxi in Arizona without a “safety driver”. If the nerds at Google don’t trust their software enough to let it run without a safety driver to babysit, they can’t even compete with Uber given that their autonomous cars also require tens of thousands in additional custom hardware over a regular car.

      • mrjones0101MEMBER

        “A human driver will be behind the wheel, but only to intervene in case of emergency.”

        They aren’t driver-less if there’s a safety driver sitting in the drivers seat

  3. It might take 2 years it might take 10 years, but this will happen. So is the timeline the only thing under question or feasibility as a whole?

    • Pecunia Nervus Belli

      Its been happening for two years in Arizona.

      Old fuddy duddies in this thread just don’t understand the basics.

      • Ahhhh I get it… If the timeline of widespread application of technology falls outside of projected lifespan of some people, they just say that it will never happen, but what they actually mean is that they won’t be around to see the exponential phase of the application of said technology. Sort of like it happened with cars, or telegraph, or phones, or personal computers, or internet, or mobiles, or social media…

  4. Waymo lies about how often a human has to take over:

    only reports a fraction of disengagements. It has a secret process to decide which disengagement should be reported. by “secret” I mean that it has never been disclosed, nor did any third party audit it. Their disengagement reports are a marvel of obfuscation.

    The main problem is that self-driving is still an open research problem. Nobody knows what will it take to solve it or when, and if, it will eventually be solved.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/SelfDrivingCars/comments/b5m7du/selfdriving_cars_are_here_its_not_a_matter_of/ejk3omv/

    engineer in the driver seat slickly takes over driving just for a split second, hoping the journalist doesn’t register that those split seconds are when the self-driving cars’ abilities, or lack thereof, matter the most.

    https://theoutline.com/post/5964/the-self-driving-car-that-will-never-arrive?zd=1&zi=k5kn34zh

  5. Pecunia Nervus Belli

    And for my own post – ICE cars will be the vast majority – tiny majority within the next five years.

    If you could all stop deluding yourself about this basic reality – I can explain why and maybe you can get on top what is coming down the pipe.

    If not – who cares – enjoy the show.

    • AllblackMEMBER

      @Pecunia Barriers for AVs spoken about so far seem to be legislative and technological. What infrastructure barriers are there in Australia and elsewhere? Are modifications to road infrastructure required for them to be safe on existing roads?? I eagerly await this tech but it just seems like so much change is required for this to happen. Not sure there is enough political capital to get this done. NSW has only dropped $4M on some pilot trials at olympic park. Thoughts?

    • drsmithyMEMBER

      Average vehicle age is ten years.

      We are a decade away from EVs being the majority of vehicles sold and probably twenty from them being a comfortable majority of vehicles on the road.

      This is not a technology issue it’s a $$$$ issue.

      (Outside of massive legislative changes and subsidies.)

  6. Elon Musk pretends to be a visionary but I think he’s really just nuts.

    As the blind man once said, let’s see.

    • The difference is often only obvious a long time after death.

      Musk’s timeframes may be a bit optimistic but we are looking at transformational change within a pillar industry (transportation, oil and automotive) within the careerspans of millions of service station workers, drivers, mechanics and automotive parts wholesalers, retailers etc.

      How often do we talk here about the impacts of the housing ‘crash’ on construction workers? It will pale in comparison to what is coming to the transportation industry.

      • Yes I agree entirely with what you’ve said here. The thesis is probably correct, the technology required to achieve it will take many years to perfect and adopt but it will be transformational.

        Not clear which companies will emerge as winners and I wouldn’t be betting on Tesla.

      • Pecunia Nervus Belli

        Mate his battery company, his car company, his space company, his boring company, his AI company.

        The Giga factory, SpaceX and Tesla have already completely changed the planet – totally. His AI company is about to announce a Brain Computer interface in the next few months – it will change everything.

        Tesla’s main goal was to speed up the transition to electric vehicles – hence why he open sourced his patents.

        He has already changed the world.

      • @Pecunia Nervus Belli

        FFS get off the koolaid – your fantasy love child is a f***ing FRAUD

  7. fElon is all about the stock pump; who knows the journey but I seriously doubt longs will end up smiling, except if u r long puts…. caveat emptor

  8. This tech has the power to transform the use of our road infrastructure, reducing the number of cars on the road dramatically during peak hours (through shared, point to point, autonomous vehicles).

    Multi-story car parks can be transformed into new schools and hospitals as the cars can remain on the road for their next customer or drive themselves to park further out.

    Less stop/start as cars pass through previously traffic-lighted intersections using AI.

    It will take some time though…

    • drsmithyMEMBER

      Taxis could have produced these outcomes decades ago. They didn’t.

      Why anyone thinks congestion is going to go DOWN when everyone currently sitting on a bus will now be able to summon their own personal bus, and when all the cars that currently sit in carparks all day will be on the roads instead, is beyond me.

      • Even StevenMEMBER

        If congestion does increase or remain unchanged, as you suggest, presumably that would only be because of the incredible convenience that is brought by driverless cars.

        You can’t have it both ways, drsmithy.

        Driverless cars will be a net positive. All we’re discussing is how the benefits will be apportioned.

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        Why didn’t Taxis didn’t produce the outcome? Price.

        That’s the wrong comparison.

        The right comparison is taxis against private vehicles, and taxis have won that one for quite a while (if you have a lifestyle where being without a car is doable in the first place).

        Re all cars currently being in car parks now being on the road, see the second comment of the thread. There won’t be the need for as many.

        But this assumes people are buying cars based on an objective analysis of costs over a long period of time. This very rarely happens.

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        If congestion does increase or remain unchanged, as you suggest, presumably that would only be because of the incredible convenience that is brought by driverless cars.

        Or simply because a bunch of people currently taking buses are OK with how long their trip takes overall, and aren’t bothered that in the future it’s because of congestion rather than schedules and constant stopping.

        Driverless cars will be a net positive. All we’re discussing is how the benefits will be apportioned.

        “Net positive” is a very broad statement. I am questioning the specific assertions made about congestion and private car ownership.

      • So if I live 20km out from the city and a taxi fare is $50 in each direction, you are telling me that would be a cheaper option now than a private vehicle? I find that hard to believe.

      • Pecunia Nervus Belli

        Yes – taxis are just like autonomous electric vehicles.

        I struggle explaining basic concepts to my kids sometimes – but they get this.

        It blows my mind that you would be asking such deeply inane questions. Is it just obstinence?

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        So if I live 20km out from the city and a taxi fare is $50 in each direction, you are telling me that would be a cheaper option now than a private vehicle? I find that hard to believe.

        If you only do it a few times a year and the rest of your annual transport expenses are buses and trains, sure it will be.

        Look, if you’re in a demographic where ditching a car completely is feasible (inner suburbs, likely no kids, no jobs or hobbies that need specific vehicle capabilities, etc), then using taxis, Lime Scooters, public transport, etc, is probably going to be cheaper than a car. It certainly was ~15 years ago when I was in that situation and did the maths.

        People generally aren’t buying cars based on an objective assessment of costs. If they were, the roads wouldn’t be filled with Hiluxes, Q5s, and the like. They buy cars for convenience, privacy, status, utility and lifestyle. I haven’t seen a reason why this is likely to change, and they’re needs that aren’t going to be well-met by autonomous vehicles for the same reason they’re not particularly well-met by taxis.

        I also think the idea that people are going to let their vehicle go off on its own playing Uber to be rather fanciful as well. Obvious reasons why owners might not be keen for this are wear & tear, insurance/liability costs, and risk of damage from something as mundane as a baby sh!tting on the seat to the thing being maliciously crashed and written off.

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        Yes – taxis are just like autonomous electric vehicles.

        No, taxis are just like autonomous vehicles from a consumer perspective.

        If I order a car to take me somewhere, what difference does it make to me if that car is driven by a computer or a puny human ?

      • Shared, autonomous vehicles will provide a mix of low cost, convenience and comfort that isn’t matched by human driven taxis or public transport.

        The change won’t only be driven by consumer choice, but government regulation. Once the tech has improved to x times more safe (to travel in an AI vs human driven vehicle), insurance premiums will be rising and there will be a push to get the dangerous drivers off the road.. at least in suburbia. Sure it will take longer in rural areas.

        Most people won’t own the cars they use, so they could care less who is next in the vehicle.

        & in my example of $50 each direction, I was talking about someone working fulltime. So $500 (+ weekend driving). So no, taxis won’t be cheaper, but using autonomous vehicles whose cost comes in cheaper than parking + fuel would be an attractive alternative for those who want the convenience of door to door.

      • People still own horses for status, but there’s good reasons they aren’t still the primary form of road transport.

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        Shared, autonomous vehicles will provide a mix of low cost, convenience and comfort that isn’t matched by human driven taxis or public transport.

        But why will shared autonomous vehicles be preferred over private autonomous vehicles ?

        I don’t disagree regulation will drive uptake eventually, especially in CBD & inner-urban areas. But this is something that’s 25-30 years down the track when autonomous vehicles are a significant majority of all vehicles on the road (to be fair, it will probably happen in CBD areas much faster than that – 10ish years – as part of pushing vehicles out of them in general). That’s a very different proposition to it happening in a fraction of that time just because they’re awesome, which is where this started.

        & in my example of $50 each direction, I was talking about someone working fulltime. So $500 (+ weekend driving). So no, taxis won’t be cheaper, but using autonomous vehicles whose cost comes in cheaper than parking + fuel would be an attractive alternative for those who want the convenience of door to door.

        But this gets back to the congestion problem. If all the people currently on buses and trains get into cars, congestion is going to be horrendous. Similarly, when a substantial fraction of those cars that currently then sit in carparks all day, go off roaming the streets looking for more people to transport or automatically driving home so their owners don’t need to pay parking fees.

        People still own horses for status, but there’s good reasons they aren’t still the primary form of road transport.

        Indeed. Cars have massive functional advantages over horses. That is what drove their rapid uptake.

        However, the same is not true for EVs over ICE vehicles, nor is it true for shared vs privately owned autonomous vehicles, nor “autonomous vehicles” driven by AI vs low-paid humans. They are incremental improvements.

        I expect squashed incomes to contribute the most to shared vehicle ownership. It won’t be that people prefer them, it will be that they can’t afford the private vehicles they want anymore.

      • MountainGuinMEMBER

        Buses can be automated too. Driving a set route then returning to the depot to recharge seems easier than programming a car that needs to adapt to different routes.
        The percent cost reductions don’t seem as great as for automating a taxi, but the buses could be cleaned while charging and there are economies of scale in buying large batteries for buses.

      • “But why will shared autonomous vehicles be preferred over private autonomous vehicles ?”

        Lower day to day cost, no capex, smaller environmental footprint.

        Difficult to predict timing, but think your suggestion is reasonable (5-10+ years inner city, 15-20+ years middle-outer suburbia, depends on the city). Where did I say it will happen in a fraction of that time? I didn’t.

        Not all people will go from trains and buses to shared cars. As MountainGuin points out, buses can be automated, potentially to the point where some might also drop off door to door. Those on train lines may stick to that where it’s faster or from outer suburbs where the traffic isn’t yet mostly automated.

        All technology goes through incremental improvements, but when you compare the development 20 years apart it is a massive functional change. For those who currently drive themselves, autonomous vehicles have the potential to give them back hours in the day in which they can be more productive than the best they have today (such as listening to a podcast or talking on the phone).

      • Buses can be automated too. Driving a set route then returning to the depot to recharge seems easier than programming a car that needs to adapt to different routes.
        The percent cost reductions don’t seem as great as for automating a taxi, but the buses could be cleaned while charging and there are economies of scale in buying large batteries for buses.

        Yes, buses are very low-hanging fruit for this sort of thing.

        Though bus drivers will probably put up a fight.

        Taxis constrained to CBD areas (ideally areas with no private vehicle access at all) are also very low hanging fruit.

      • Lower day to day cost, no capex, smaller environmental footprint.

        But the same applies to use of taxis + public transport vs cars today, and they have not displaced private car ownership. That’s my point.

        Difficult to predict timing, but think your suggestion is reasonable (5-10+ years inner city, 15-20+ years middle-outer suburbia, depends on the city). Where did I say it will happen in a fraction of that time? I didn’t.

        I interpreted your comment as supporting the ideas in the original article about timing. Apologies if that was not your intent.

        Not all people will go from trains and buses to shared cars. As MountainGuin points out, buses can be automated, potentially to the point where some might also drop off door to door. Those on train lines may stick to that where it’s faster or from outer suburbs where the traffic isn’t yet mostly automated.

        My point (and annoyance) is this: people claim that autonomous vehicles will massively reduce congestion because [reasons]. But if you start examining those reasons and playing out the ways things are likely to actually end up working, they fall apart.

        They are largely built on two premises:
        1. People will be happy to swap individual personal transport (be it their own car or taxis) for car-pooling.
        2. People will give up private car ownership and/or be prepared to send their private cars out to be taxis during the times when they aren’t using them.
        3. Consequently, overall vehicle numbers will be dramatically reduced.

        Neither of #1 or #2 seem particularly likely to me, consequently #3 won’t happen. As I said, the most likely outcome I see from autonomous vehicles (assuming they don’t carry so much of a price premium that private ownership is restricted to the wealthy) is people deserting existing public transport to get into their private autonomous cars.

        All technology goes through incremental improvements, but when you compare the development 20 years apart it is a massive functional change. For those who currently drive themselves, autonomous vehicles have the potential to give them back hours in the day in which they can be more productive than the best they have today (such as listening to a podcast or talking on the phone).

        Horses to cars was not an incremental improvement, it was a revolutionary improvement. Massively higher load carrying capability, longer lifetime, able to work 24/7, less waste, lower resource requirements, etc.

        People try to paint ICE to EV, or autonomous shared vehicles as a similar level of revolution and it’s simply not true. Autonomous shared vehicles are at best a functionally minor increment improvement over taxis (though they will end up cheaper). EVs are, again, functionally no different to ICE vehicles, just (eventually) cheaper.

        Now, autonomous private vehicles are a non-trivial improvement, precisely because they will let people recover time in their day – but the robot cars enthusiasts tend to gloss over them (at best) or insist they’ll be basically nonexistant because why would anyone want to own their own car (at worst). IME those saying everyone will give up their cars tend to be people who are already living happily without a car, or are those who do not have a lifestyle where a private vehicle carries a lot of value (eg: don’t have kids, don’t participate in sports or hobbies that have specific vehicle requirements, drive relatively infrequently (eg: only on weekends), don’t have parking at their residence, etc).

      • “But the same applies to use of taxis + public transport vs cars today, and they have not displaced private car ownership. That’s my point.”

        How many times are you going to repeat this nonsense? Taxis would be far more expensive & public transport far less convenient, for many needing to travel from middle-outer suburbs.

        Many of the people I know who drive into work do so because they live a long way out and/or not on good public transport routes. Taxis would be too expensive, but if they could carpool easily in a point to point autonomous car I expect they would.

        Some drive to work for the privacy it offers and no doubt some autonomous cars will continue to carry 1 person.

        I don’t know anyone who drives to work for “status”.

    • Yeah, nah!

      The pollies will just ramp up imports of the vibrants, and both sets of parents, to make double damn sure that they are still able to “fight congestion” to win elections.

  9. LabrynthMEMBER

    I have noticed over the last few years a lot, I mean up to a dozen a month easy of petrol stations being flogged off with long 10+10+10+10+10 year leases on very low yields 4%-5%. I see the big oil companies who own the land sign up their operating arm to these leases and sell the land to the Joe public.

    Maybe they are getting out while they need them with no intention of renewing after the first 10 years.

  10. yeborskyMEMBER

    “Hey, that was my turn-off from the main road just back there. Can you back up a bit?”

    “I’m sorry, Dave. I can’t do that.”

  11. Can’t wait, the monthly compilation of dash cam owners Australia is going to be way longer than 15 minutes!

    • Pecunia Nervus Belli

      AI cars will be hundreds of times safer than humans.

      Your point is like saying computers will never do maths as well as a man with a pencil and paper – its quite frankly absurdly stupid.

      • You clearly have no idea on AI or the inherent limitations around it

        Hint: take off the rose coloured glasses stop listening to Musk and start listening to what the technical experts are saying instead
        Hint 2: Bloomberg / Reuters etc tend not to be experts, they just want to pump articles.

        The only thing close to full self driving we currently have – and what many experts are predicting we will ever have – is basically by bruteforcing the problem by littering the car with extremely powerful, fast and accurate sensors. Which means Tesla is screwed wrt FSD because they don’t have those sensors.

        It’s not the 80/20 rule, iti’s more like 99.99/0.01 rule – and without the .01% being solved – it aint safe

  12. Whoever put the headline up seems to have misspelt ‘Musk makes another baseless assertion’.

  13. “This is the end of the family car and oil industry unfolding before our eyes.” – Seriously?? Grow up guys, The oil industry is going now where.
    I notice you never covered this from the weekend:

    ifo Schnelldienst: Electric Vehicles are not a Panacea for Climate Change

    Apr 17, 2019

    Electric vehicles will barely help cut CO2 emissions in Germany over the coming years, as the introduction of electric vehicles does not necessarily lead to a reduction in CO2 emissions from road traffic. Natural gas combustion engines are the ideal technology for transitioning to vehicles powered by hydrogen or “green” methane in the long term.
    http://www.cesifo-group.de/ifoHome/presse/Pressemitteilungen/Pressemitteilungen-Archiv/2019/Q2/pm_20190417_sd08-Elektroautos.html

    http://brusselstimes.com/business/technology/15050/electric-vehicles-emit-more-co2-than-diesel-ones,-german-study-shows

    And why don’t you ever cover the problem of your beloved lithium batteries being an ecological disaster that may well be worse than staying with fossil fuels due to there highly toxic waste?? and no mention of the tonnes and tonnes of carcinogenic toxic fumes that spew out of the back of the spaceX rocket.

    Such a BS fraud.

  14. Sure, buy a US$50,000 to US$100,000+ car only for it to be used as a public urinal.

    It’s things like this that seriously make me question the economic credentials of MB.
    There is a reason Taxis are generally cheap, base model vehicles or else purchased at fleet rates.
    So unless Musk is going to be doing some serious discounting, I don’t see this happening.

    • MountainGuinMEMBER

      No V, the bulk of taxis in australia seem to be recent model hybrid Camrys. These cost a lot more than base Camrys or other brands of cars. So the taxi industry is very aware of the savings car technology can deliver.
      Extending this point, the taxi industry is also aware of how much lost revenue app based technology like Uber has cost it.
      So why wouldn’t combining great car tech with great app tech work?

  15. Most of the comments on here have no clue.

    Please watch his 2 hour presentation that he gave a few days ago. This is not 10 years away or pie in the sky stuff.