Robo-taxis from Tesla
Tesla made some waves today as Elon Musk said in a presentation yesterday that the future of robo-taxis is only around the corner.
He said that he expects that self-driving taxis could be on the road in 2020 as he said that by the middle of next year, over a million Tesla vehicles on the road will be able to operate without a human driver.
His idea is that Tesla drivers would be able to use a smartphone app to put their vehicles into service and pick up passengers using the company’s network, with Tesla taking a 25-30% cut of the fare.
On the other hand, he’s dispatched some of his people to investigate a video released in China on Sunday night that showed a parked Model S bursting into flames.
No one was injured, but this isn’t going to be great PR for the company and comes ahead of its first quarter results due out tomorrow.
I like Musk’s ideas, but think that the robo-taxi thing is too optimistic at the moment because I’m not sure how ready people are to use driverless taxis and I would also imagine that local authorities won’t be overly keen to be the first ones to approve their use given the potential blowback if things go wrong.
The combusting engine thing could be tricky, though – there have been at least 14 instances of Teslas catching fire since 2013 but they’ve all happened AFTER crashes. Spontaneous combustion of parked cars isn’t going to look good.
Advertisers looking to TikToc
The other thing I wanted to mention today was video-sharing app TikTok, which seems to be gaining popularity among advertisers as a cheap way to reach a young demographic.
It is estimated that it costs companies over 90% less to advertise on the app than on Instagram and even though TikTok is facing some legal problems at the moment, I doubt that it is going to slow advertiser demand just yet.
Given its popularity with the younger demographic, I would have thought that the established digital players will be taking increasing notice of this upstart.