Tesla says robotaxis coming to U.S. roads next year, slams rivals' use of Lidar

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Chief Executive Elon Musk said Tesla Inc robotaxis with no human drivers would be available in some U.S. markets next year, continuing a habit of bold pronouncements that have excited many investors while often missing deadlines.

FILE PHOTO: A Tesla logo is seen in Los Angeles, California U.S. January 12, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

“Probably two years from now we’ll make a car with no steering wheels or pedals,” Musk predicted, while acknowledging he is often late to meet aggressive targets.

Central to this promise is a new microchip for self-driving vehicles unveiled by Musk on Monday during a webcast presentation. Made by Samsung Electronics Co Ltd in Texas, the chip now in all vehicles is hoped to give Tesla an edge over rivals and show its massive investment in autonomous driving – described by Musk as “basically our entire expense structure” – will pay off.

The webcast presentation came two days before Tesla is expected to announce a quarterly loss on fewer deliveries of its Model 3 sedan, which represents Tesla’s attempt to become a volume car maker.

After launching the event with detailed technical descriptions of Tesla’s progress on hardware and software by top executives, Musk