Robotaxi fleets 10 years away, Lucid CEO says: ‘a mountain to climb’

SAN FRANCISCO — It will likely be a decade before self-driving taxis will be deployed on the road, Peter Rawlinson, the CEO of startup Lucid Group Inc, said Thursday.

“I think we’ll be 10 years away from seeing fleet robotic axes. They’re not coming anytime soon, even with the most advanced detection systems in the world,” Rawlinson, a former chief engineer at Tesla Inc, said at the Reuters Events Automotive summit.

“There is a mountain to climb — an intellectual mountain to climb in terms of software,” he said without elaborating.

Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk said in 2019 that robotaxis without human drivers would be available in some US markets by 2020. That turned out to be inaccurate.

On Wednesday, Tesla’s chief financial officer Zach Kirkhorn said it is “difficult” to be specific about the likely timelines for achieving autonomous technology. Tesla is currently selling its advanced driver assistance systems, marketed as “Full Self-Driving,” for $10,000, promising to deliver more features in the future.

Lucid, a rival to Tesla, has started production of its Lucid Air luxury electric sedans, equipped with a number of sensors, including 14 cameras and one lidar. “This is an unparalleled system in terms of technical sophistication,” Rawlinson said.

He said the current technology is a Level 2 or Level 2+ advanced driver assistance system.

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