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Tesla’s Elon Musk optimistic on progress for self-driving, robots

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Tesla (TSLA.O) chief executive Elon Musk on Wednesday set new goals for artificial intelligence products such as self-driving software and the use of humanoid robots in factories, but admitted he used to be optimistic.

Musk added that electric car makers are in early talks with major automakers to license fully self-driving technology.

On an earnings call, he said if regulators approved self-driving cars, perhaps the “biggest step change in history” would boost the value of Tesla’s cars. Musk also said Tesla’s robot, which is in testing, could be a giant product. He said he could help out at Tesla’s factory as early as next year, but only about 10 have been built so far.

Rising interest rates and competition from upstart EV makers have forced Tesla to cut vehicle prices to gain market share, hurting margins.

But Musk said Tesla will bet on long-term value from the FSD and will continue to push for more sales, even at the expense of profit margins. “With autonomy, all these numbers are going to look silly,” he said.

Tesla’s decision to license its technology comes after many failed to deliver on long-standing promises to develop software that would allow their cars to drive themselves.

Ark Invest’s Tasha Keaney said on Twitter that the licensing announcement was not surprising given the industry’s failures. “Autonomous driving is difficult and requires a huge amount of data,” he said.

According to its earnings call, Tesla has completed more than 300 million miles in the FSD beta, more than half of which have been done in the last quarter.

But Mr. Musk was more cautious than usual.

“People have kind of made fun of me, and they have probably made fun of me fairly fairly, but my predictions about the arrival of fully self-driving cars have been optimistic so far,” he said.

“I’m the boy who cried FSD, but I think I’ll be better than human by the end of this year,” he said. “I’ve been wrong before, so I may be wrong again.”

Reported by Avirap Roy of San Francisco.Editing: Peter Henderson and Sam Holmes

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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