Better hurry up Uber, if it's not delayed, the Tesla Network will be coming next year.
Readers living in larger cities may have noticed Ford Fusions slathered with Uber logos roaming the streets with some intimidating sensor hardware on the roof. Putting two and two together, it's easy to infer that Uber is quietly collecting data to add to the collective knowledge of self-driving cars. One day, Uber hopes to in build and deploy them in a subscription-based service aimed at toppling car ownership. However, Uber is far from the only company with these plans.
The heat of competition has automakers and rideshare companies keeping research and data about autonomous cars secret in hopes to be the first in line to milk the cash cow. Not wanting to miss out, Tesla quietly posted plans for a rideshare company of its own during the release of its full autonomy-enabling Hardware 2. Part two of Elon Musk's grand plan outlined a rideshare company under Tesla, but now that level 5 autonomy (where the car can drive itself with no human inside) is available on new Teslas, customers theoretically have the ability to make some extra cash by pimping out their cars to rideshare companies while not driving. Tesla, it seems, would not be too happy with this.
On the webpage dedicated to Hardware two, there is a clause that states, "Please note also that using a self-driving Tesla for car sharing and ride hailing for friends and family is fine, but doing so for revenue purposes will only be permissible on the Tesla Network, details of which will be released next year." The name may not roll off the tongue as easily as the words "Uber" or "Lyft," but it bears the weight of Tesla's reputation in the startup realm, which is looking pretty good following the Hardware 2 upgrade. With a name and a date to look forward to, it seems that we're only a short span of time away from the driving apocalypse everyone keeps talking about. The only thing stopping Tesla now are regulations surrounding autonomous vehicles.