Tesla CEO Elon Musk took the stage Monday in front of a few dozen investors to put an exclamation point on the carmaker’s recent hardware improvements. “All Teslas produced today have everything necessary for full self-driving—all you need to do is improve the software,“ Mr. Musk said during an almost three-hour presentation at the company’s “Autonomy Day” event.
Mr. Musk highlighted advances Tesla has made in designing its own computer chips, improving its artificial intelligence in semi-autonomous driving situations and applying software updates to its active fleet of more than 400,000 cars. Mr. Musk sometimes took a typically combative approach (“It’s financially insane to buy anything other than a Tesla today”), and sometimes offered bits of granular detail, such as giving a profit forecast for the company’s planned robotaxi service.
Tesla critics said the presentation was likely to serve as an upbeat distraction from what is expected to be a sobering first-quarter earnings report later this week. Sure to draw scrutiny in the days ahead is Mr. Musk’s claim that Tesla will soon begin manufacturing 10,000 cars per week across its lineup. “At this point, 5,000 cars a week is a walk in the park for us,” Mr. Musk stated matter of factly.
But the CEO’s boldest claim yet came during the Q&A session, when Mr. Musk promised to have “at least some” regulatory approval of fully-autonomous robotaxi testing on public roads in 2020.