The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) in Florida decided to lease 4 Tesla Model X SUVs to create an electric ride-sharing service.
They recently took delivery of the vehicles (pictured above), which they managed to acquire through private donations from local businesses in the University of South Florida (USF) area – where the service will be offered.
It’s part of HART’s HyperLink program, which is already in operation in several markets, but they want to modernize the service in a big way with the Model X which will only be available in the USF area.
Cesar Hernandez, government affairs specialist for HART, told the local Business Journal about taking every of the vehicles:
“They’re like little spaceships. Even when you get into them, you feel like you’re in a cockpit.”
The Model Xs will become available starting next week and people will be able to order the vehicles from the HyperLink app.
It’s interesting because if you believe that Tesla can achieve fully autonomous driving capabilities with the current hardware installed on its vehicles, like the company claims, it opens up some opportunities for transit companies.
As for HART, we understand that they currently don’t have the Enhanced Autopilot or Fully Self-Driving options. They are going to need drivers for now, but once the autonomous driving software is available and the legislation catches up, they could technically go autonomous by activating the features.
The only problem is that it would compete with Tesla’s own service, which the company has been calling ‘Tesla Network’, and they are apparently prohibiting the use of its autonomous cars for services other than Tesla’s, according to the fine prints on the option:
The details of ‘Tesla Network’ are still scarce at this time, but we assume that there will be some parameters that can be implemented to vehicles owned by third-parties, like HART’s Model Xs. Therefore, they could maybe simply incorporate the fleet into the Tesla Network with restrictions to only used the vehicles in the USF area.