Tesloop Throws Hat Into One-Way Car Rental Ring
L.A. mobility service believes Telsa vehicles lead the autonomous pack
Los Angeles-based Tesloop, a connected car technology company, is laying claim that the Tesla vehicles it uses for shuttle services on California highways will be fully autonomous by the end of 2020. And to back up that bold prediction, the company has resumed tests to put a one-way rental service into the market that will fully employ the Tesla fleet’s autopilot and full-service self-driving features.
Tesloop, which previously stopped its tests late in 2018 to restructure its driving programs, already had set up less autonomous shuttle routes between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, established shortly after the company started operations in 2015. Its next project, which will likely be the acid test for those driverless features, is a shuttle between Santa Monica and San Diego for later this year. Pricing has already been set for between $39 and $79, depending on occupancy. Each Tesla car can accommodate five people.
“The economics of electric vehicles while interesting for city driving, are much more compelling on the highway,” said Tesloop founder Haydn Sonnad. “This means consumers can get unmatched value when going city-to-city in a Tesla. Our service is designed to replace trains, buses, commuter flights, or even driving gas cars for those who want the safest and most advanced driving experience.”
Is Tesloop’s Timetable Realistic?
Most competitors believe Tesloop’s autonomous timetable to be totally unrealistic, since no regulatory safety standards have been set for driverless vehicles with that industry still in its infancy. One official from the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration expects a wave of “knee jerk” laws in the wake of road fatalities that autonomous vehicles could cause if they hit the road earlier than expected. Tesla argued that its massive collection of real data used for the artificial intelligence component of the autonomous technology would be instrumental in eliminating such accidents.
Then there’s the issue of security, with Tesla models being very attractive for ambitious hackers to break into. Earlier in 2019 in Montreal, thieves broke into a Tesla rental’s security and managed to steal the vehicle, until GPS tracking eventually found the model before it was to be shipped overseas.
For years, Telsa has conducted bug bounty programs inviting hackers to break into and get control of their vehicles. Each vulnerability exposed results in a $15,000 payout to a white-hat hacker who discovers the breach. In March, one such hacker managed to break into a Model 3 car’s web browser and make off with $375,000 from the company’s coffers.