Creating a Robotaxi fleet is a very difficult task. Depite the difficulty, some automakers are still striving to launch their own Robotaxi fleet, but most of them will not be able to implement this.
Ford has pushed back the launch of its future Robotaxi and autonomous delivery services from 2021 to 2022, the company announced today, citing the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Given the challenges of the current business environment, as well as the need to evaluate the long-term impact of COVID-19 on customer behaviors, Ford made the decision to shift the launch of its self-driving services to 2022,” Ford said in a statement to The Verge. The company says it will use the extra time to research “changes in customer behaviors,” which will allow the company to “evaluate and potentially change our go-to-market strategy to be meet new consumer demands.”
Most likely, this decision is due to the fact that Ford is now in a difficult financial situation. Today, the company announced its financial results for the first quarter of 2020 and reported more significant than expected losses in the first quarter and did not reach the dimmer.
Ford reports $2 billion first-quarter loss $F— Vincent (@vincent13031925) April 28, 2020
This is the real freaking demand issue, get it tslaq?!
Ford said it lost $ 2 billion, or 50 cents a share, versus a profit of $1.1 billion, or 29 cents a share, in the first quarter of 2019. Adjusted for one-time items, the car maker lost 23 cents a share, contrasting with an adjusted profit of 44 cents a year ago. Sales fell 15% to $34.3 billion from $40.3 billion a year ago.
Also Ford and its luxury brand Lincoln have canceled an all-electric SUV that was going to be powered by technology provided by EV startup Rivian. This decision, according to the company, was also dictated by the effect of the coronavirus pandemic. Ford invested $500 million into Rivian, a Michigan-based EV startup that is developing an all-electric pickup truck and SUV.
This situation further emphasizes the superiority of Tesla, who, despite the pandemic, continues to actively work on all of his projects.
The Automaker from Silicon Valley has achieved tremendous success in developing Autopilot, which along with its new update 2020.12.5.6 received feature new Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control (BETA).
“This feature will stop at all traffic lights, including green, blinking yellow, and off lights. To proceed through the intersection, pull the Autopilot stalk or briefly press the accelerator pedal to confirm that it is safe to proceed, ”the release notes said.
Each Tesla car continues to collect data while driving on the roads, which is what gives the company's cars a big advantage. The information received from one car through the neural network "trains" all the others.
Andrej Karpathy gave an extensive presentation about the progress Tesla's AI/Autopilot team has made thus far at the Matroid Scaled Machine Learning Conference 2020 in February. During the presentation, Karpathy referenced Tesla's vision-based approach, which uses the eight cameras found in all of the company vehicles.
Tesla has an advantage over competitors with its local mapping technique because its autonomous vehicles won't need to be preloaded with information. As such, Tesla will not need to travel to individual places to map out every stop sign, street light, or road marking. Tesla vehicles with FSD could eventually be able to adapt to new environments even if its the first time traveling through that route.
The progress made by the company at this stage makes the launch of Robotaxi Tesla real by the end of this year. Due to this, the car manufacturer from Silicon Valley, according to specialists from ARK Invest, can become the near-monopoly in autonomous ride-hailing market:
"In addition to vague local maps and its camera-based approach, 3D video labeling separates Tesla from its competitors, enabling the recognition of corner cases in solving for full autonomy. We believe Tesla's approach is highly differentiated and will be almost impossible for a competitor to replicate. While autonomous driving is an extremely complex problem to solve, Tesla could enjoy a near-monopoly in autonomous ride-hailing if it is successful."
Thanks for the tip DJM/Twitter
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.