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Elon Musk Shoots Down Rumors Tesla Hired Former Uber CEO to Head Up Upcoming Robotaxi Launch – Musk Says That’s Not Needed

In the past few days, since Elon Musk followed former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick on X, rumors have circulated that Tesla has hired Travis to head up the upcoming robotaxi service. However, Musk says this is “false” and explains why Travis is not needed.

Through time, Elon Musk has shifted Tesla’s focus squarely on solving level 5 full self-driving vehicles and launching an autonomous robotaxi service.

As Tesla evolves from an electric vehicle manufacturer to a robotics and AI company, Tesla’s robotaxi aspirations have started to gain more attention.

For example, recently, Tesla published a patent describing how a ride-sharing robotaxi could be cleaned autonomously. Tesla envisions using disinfectant vapor, UV sterilization, ultrasonic sensors, camera vision, and robots to clean an autonomous vehicle.

On August 8, Tesla is expected to take the wraps off the company’s robotaxi vehicle, designed from the ground up for autonomous ride-hailing service.

In the past few days, as the hype builds up for the robotaxi unveiling event, rumors have started to circulate, suggesting Tesla has hired former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick to head up the EV maker’s robotaxi efforts.

One of the main reasons behind this rumor is the fact that Elon Musk recently followed Travis Kalanick on X despite the latter not posting on the platform since 2019.

Why do people think the former Uber CEO could advance Tesla’s robotaxi efforts?

In Uber's early days, before the company disrupted the taxi business, the idea of using a ride-hailing app to take trips in strangers’ cars was unthinkable.

In addition, the level of red tape and bureaucracy involved in registering a taxi service in any major city had led many people to discount Uber as a company.

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Many cities, spurred by taxi cab associations, initially banned Uber from functioning within their jurisdictions. However, Uber, led by Travis, went into every council meeting and state government legislation to change the regulatory framework to allow Uber to reach its current level.

This is the same position Tesla’s robotaxi finds itself in. Currently, a few cities, including San Francisco and Phoenix, Arizona, have permitted driverless taxis to give services within their city.

However, these permits are only issued to a limited number of vehicles, barring the robotaxi operators from meaningfully disrupting the industry.

Once automakers, large tech companies, and AI startups solve fully autonomous vehicles, the conversation is expected to move on to regulatory hurdles, and given Travis Kalanick’s extensive experience in this front, a lot of Tesla watchers believe that he can provide meaningfully to advance Tesla’s autonomous robotaxi efforts in the regulatory efforts.

For the past few days, this train of thought has been gaining a lot of steam. However, late last night, Elon Musk poured cold water on this expectation.

Car Dealership Guy on X wrote, “So the rumor is that Elon hired Uber's founder (Travis Kalanick) to advise (or potentially run) Tesla's upcoming Robotaxi division. Can you imagine?” Musk, in response, simply wrote: “false.”

Musk has unequivocally put to rest rumors suggesting Travis Kalanick will participate in advancing Tesla’s full self-driving efforts; however, if you are disappointed by this news, Musk also says that Travis’s involvement is not necessary for Tesla’s robotaxi business to be successful.

In response to another X user who suggested that if Travis Kalanick joins Tesla, the company’s stock will easily shoot up above $400, up significantly from the current $250 price level, Musk responded by writing, “All that matters is improving Tesla's self-driving AI such that miles between interventions is greater than a human driver.”

For the longest time, Elon Musk has maintained that once Tesla is able to show lawmakers that self-driving cars are safer at statistically significant levels than human drivers, the regulatory roadblock to introducing a robotaxi service will be relatively easy.

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With his latest statement downplaying the need to include Travis Kalanick on the Tesla team, Musk appears to be reaffirming this belief.

Currently, Tesla is making great strides toward creating a fully autonomous system that can handle various driving conditions while being safer than human beings.

Tesla’s latest FSD version, FSD (Supervised) 12.4.3, has received great praise. The EV maker is also developing a new AI supercomputer cluster at Giga Texas to significantly aid in this effort.

I expect Tesla to solve level 5 full self-driving in the next 3 to 4 years, but please let me know what you expect in the comments below.

Overall, this is the latest we’ve seen on Tesla’s full self-driving efforts; however, we’ll be sure to keep you posted throughout Tesla’s robotaxi launch on August 8 and beyond.

Until then, make sure to visit our site,, regularly for the latest updates.

So, what do you think? Are you disappointed Tesla will not be hiring the former Uber CEO to head up the robotaxi business? Also, what do you think will be the biggest hurdle in launching a robotaxi service? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below by clicking the red “Add new comment” button.

Image: Screenshot from Elon Musk’s YouTube TED interview

For more information, check out: It Rained a Little & Only 3 Days After Taking Delivery, My Tesla Cybertruck “Cyber Wheels” are Already Completely Rusted

Tinsae Aregay has been following Tesla and the evolution of the EV space daily for several years. He covers everything about Tesla, from the cars to Elon Musk, the energy business, and autonomy. Follow Tinsae on Twitter at @TinsaeAregay for daily Tesla news.