The CEO of Uber has apparently declared that if the Tesla self driving vehicle is available by 2020, Uber will buy every single one. At least, that is, all Tesla will be able to produce that year, an estimated 500,000 vehicles, according to Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Tesla chief technical officer JB Straubel confirmed that number last month.
Travis Kalanick, the CEO of Uber, reportedly made the statement to Tesla investor and board member Steve Jurvetson. According to Jurvetson, Kalanick said he would buy all 500,000 if they could be manufactured by 2020 at the Top 10 Tech Trends dinner, which was hosted by the Churchill Club, a Silicon Valley business and technology forum.
While the Tesla self driving vehicle is not yet available to consumers, the company has been testing cars installed with first phase hardware since last fall. The first iteration of the technology will allow the cars to change lanes without driver assistance, although a person will still be required to use the turn signal. Musk has stated that he hopes to develop the technology to the point where a driver could direct the vehicle to pick them up, even if the car is sitting in the garage at home.
Autonomous vehicles have the potential to be more fuel efficient and safer, since they would not theoretically suffer from human errors in judgement. Unsurprisingly, Uber is interested in acquiring Tesla self driving vehicles, as they believe that they will eventually replace taxi services and be more comfortable and easier to hail for riders.
These new, innovative vehicles will not be the only offering from Tesla in 2020. By that point, their much more reasonably-priced car, the Model 3, will be available on the general market. It is expected to be priced at around $35,000 and will probably not include features like autonomous driving in order to keep the cost of the car low.