Tesla CEO Elon Musk hinted that the California-based tech giant may be working on a self-driving vehicle designed for mass transit.
Musk said at a transport conference in Norway: “We have an idea for something which is not exactly a bus but would solve the density problem for inner city situations.”
Musk stressed that there is need for a new type of vehicle to help reduce congestion and traffic in cities. “I think we need to actually rethink the whole concept of public transport and create something that people are actually going to like a lot more.”
“I very much agree with solving the high-density urban transport problem,” Musk said. “There’s a new type of car or vehicle that would be great for that and that’ll actually take people to their final destination and not just the bus stop.”
“Autonomous vehicles are key,” he added.
His comments strongly suggest Tesla is working on a self-driving bus – or something very similar.
However, the development of what could be a self-driving bus is being kept secret for the moment. Musk said: “I don’t want to talk too much about it. I have to be careful what I say.”
Musk’s talk with Ketil Solvik-Olsen, Norway’s Minister of Transport, was in line with what he said in a recent quarterly update; Tesla is not just focusing on the production of vehicles and batteries, but also comprehensive transportation solutions.
If Tesla is indeed working on a mass-transit solution in the form of an autonomous ride-sharing service, then it won’t be alone – there are similar services currently being offered such as UberPool or LyftLine.
However, as Kyle Field at CleanTechnica noted: “It’s clear that it won’t be a full court sweep by Tesla, but it’s not difficult to imagine Tesla moving into the market with a commanding lead in autonomous technology, battery pricing, and brand image.”