Home » Robotaxi regulators say Tesla hasn’t contacted them about plans teased by Elon Musk

Robotaxi regulators say Tesla hasn’t contacted them about plans teased by Elon Musk

by NBC News

SAN FRANCISCO — Two California agencies that regulate robotaxis said they haven’t heard from Tesla about its plans for the cars, even though Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced last week that he’ll reveal a new robotaxi product in August. 

The California Department of Motor Vehicles and the California Public Utilities Commission, or CPUC, said in separate statements to NBC News that Tesla hadn’t applied for the two permits it would need to operate a driverless car service in the country’s most populous state. 

Two other states that regulate robotaxis, Arizona and Nevada, also said they had not heard from Tesla about its plans.

The lack of permits — or any attempt to acquire them — raises questions about how quickly Tesla would be able to get a robotaxi service up and running. 

“Tesla’s a long way away from getting that approval,” said Brad Templeton, a consultant in the autonomous vehicle industry. 

Representatives for Tesla didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday. 

California, which has been ground zero for the rollout of robotaxis, requires aspiring robotaxi services to obtain at least two permits.

The DMV handles permits to deploy autonomous equipment on the road, and Tesla currently has the lowest-level permit, allowing it to test autonomous vehicles with human drivers present. Only three companies have the highest-level permit, which allows them to deploy autonomous vehicles without human drivers. 

“Tesla has not applied for a deployment permit with the DMV,” the department said in a statement in response to questions. 

If Tesla were to deploy robotaxis that are autonomous, it added, “the DMV will take steps to make certain that Tesla operates under the appropriate autonomous vehicle permits.” 

The CPUC handles permits to operate robotaxis as businesses, including for tech startup Waymo’s services in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Tesla has no CPUC permit and hasn’t applied, the commission said. 

“If Tesla…

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