Tesla’s most important products this year and next will not be cars, Chief Executive Elon Musk said on Wednesday, but software that drives them autonomously and a humanoid robot.
The audacious promises by the best-known billionaire in the electric car industry face major challenges, from technology to regulation. Tesla and other auto technology companies have missed their targets to deploy self-driving cars for years.
“I love the fact that they’re pushing the envelope, but I think they are too aggressive,” said Roth Capital Partners analyst Craig Irwin.
Musk has built a career on defying skeptics with businesses in electric cars and rockets. Some Tesla drivers buy $12,000 self-driving packages in the expectation that full autonomy is around the corner, and 60,000 Tesla drivers are testing the latest self-driving software, a scale that rivals can only dream of.
“I would be shocked if we do not achieve full self-driving safer than human this year. I would be shocked,” Musk said, predicting full self-driving would become “the most important source of profitability for Tesla.”
“It’s nutty good from a financial standpoint,” he said, noting that robotaxis would boost a vehicle’s utility five times as owners can send their cars out to work when not needed.