Tesla isn’t an automaker, it’s a technology company. Some observers emphasize this again and again, also to justify the extremely high valuation of the share compared to the auto industry. Despite the correction since the end of January, Tesla still costs a good twenty times its sales in 2020, which is an unusually high amount. But CEO Elon Musk now hinted that Tesla’s software for autonomous driving could also be useful far beyond electric cars.
Tesla wants AI for the physical world
Undeterred by critics, Musk has been trying to implement his vision of autonomous driving not only since his famous “Robotaxi” announcement in spring 2019. While almost all competitors rely on high-resolution cards and lidar sensors for this, the Tesla boss wants to achieve the goal primarily with camera data that is evaluated using highly developed artificial intelligence.
Technically, he initially wanted to be ready by the end of 2019. Ultimately, it took until October 2020 for Tesla to install beta software for the first owners of its electric cars in the USA, which enables semi-autonomous driving (the testers have to keep their hands on the wheel and are still legally responsible) in cities. This software, known as FSD for Full Self-Driving, showed impressive results right from the start and, according to Musk, will soon be even better.
And in this context, the Tesla boss has now revealed on Twitter that he can imagine more for the artificial intelligence of the FSD system than just reliably controlling his electric cars. The software is increasingly developing in a direction in which it can “solve large parts of AI for the physical world,” he wrote in response to a question about the time for its next update. And if that wasn’t clear enough, Musk confirmed the specific question as to whether the Tesla AI would be able to solve other problems in addition to its FSD function, with a brief “that seems likely”.
Musk calculates FSD sales potential
What other uses he thought of, remained open, but Musk also confirmed that the Dojo training computer, on which Tesla is working for virtual FSD practice, should not necessarily only be used internally. “Potentially,” he wrote, however, very cautiously when asked whether the Tesla supercomputer should be opened for public use against payment.
Even if Tesla were to get a grip on autonomous driving on any route at an early stage, that would mean an enormous strengthening for the company. Most recently this January, Musk said he believed his electric cars could drive safer than average people this year.
The Robotaxi services that would then be possible alone would justify a Tesla valuation of $ 1 trillion, he calculated in the conference call on the latest business figures. And it looks like there will be more uses for FSD and Dojo in the distant future – as is customary in the software industry at a cost of almost zero for each unit sold, once the foundations are in place.