More and more Tesla vehicles are predicted to hit the road in the coming years — and that may give the company a serious edge in the competition to develop better, smarter self-driving cars.
More than 200,000 Teslas are on the road right now, each providing the company with data it can use to improve its machine-learning technology. However, now that the Model 3 is in production, the number of Teslas on the road could explode. Business Insider reports that Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas told clients, in a note on September 26, that he believes that the company will hit as many as three million Teslas on the road by 2023. We’ll already have 300,000 Teslas on the road by the end of 2017, and a predicted 531,000 by the end of 2018.
“With the launch of the Model 3, we forecast the Tesla car population to multiply three times by the end of 2019,” Jonas said in the note, according to Bloomberg. “It has been generations since the investment community witnessed such a high growth rate in the population of a single auto firm,” Jonas continued, and added that by 2040, there could be 32 million Tesla vehicles in use.
Tesla’s machine learning technology advances its algorithms based on experience. This provides massive amounts of data with many, varied examples, allowing the algorithms to improve. This kind of data is critical to improving self-driving technology. With more Teslas on the road, the data will be rolling in, and the system will improve much faster, offering the company a tremendous competitive advantage.
Jonas emphasized that as the population of Tesla cars grows, so does the accumulation of their combined miles traveled, helping to train the Tesla machine learning network faster than competitors. “We estimate that Tesla’s cars travel a bit more than 7 million miles per day, a figure we forecast to reach 100 million miles by the 2023 or 2024 time frame, a level on par with what we estimate Uber’s fleet is executing on a daily basis today,” he said in the note. “In our view, firms that can capture sufficient quantity and quality of miles data will be in a strong position to develop competitive autonomous transport networks.”
Business Insider reports that Elon Musk is expected to produce more details about the “Tesla Network” and the planned car sharing program sometime this year.