Elon Musk pins hopes on Tesla self-driving ‘robo-taxis’

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Tesla's self-driving car

Elon Musk has a new plan for profitability at Tesla: self-driving taxis.

The electric vehicle boss used this morning’s ‘Tesla Autonomy Day’ event to trail plans for fleets of autonomous vehicles that he says will constitute the world’s first driverless ride-hailing service.

Musk suggested that Tesla owners could lease their own vehicles to the service, which he said could launch in some parts of the United States as early as next year. Tesla would take a cut of up to 30 per cent of each fare.

During the event Tesla also announced the launch of a new chip that reportedly brings new autonomy and safety features to Teslas currently being manufactured.

Musk has previously said that Tesla’s self-driving technology will be safe to use on the roads by the middle of next year, providing regulators agree.

In a separate call with financial analysts, Musk said the ride-sharing plan was part of a strategy to return Tesla to stability.

The company has endured a difficult few years that have included major problems delivering cars to consumers, and a well-publicised dispute between Musk himself and US regulators.

Tesla shares are down 9 per cent over the last 12 months, and the company is expected to announce a substantial first-quarter loss in an earnings call on Wednesday.

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