Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART), which serves the Tampa, Florida metro area, has leased 4 Tesla Model X for a new ride-sharing service.
The purchase was funded through donations from local businesses in the University of South Florida (USF) area, where the service will be offered. The new Teslas will be part of HART’s HyperLink program, which connects riders with bus stops in the congested area around the university. People can order the vehicles using a smartphone app.
HART’s Model X apparently don’t have the Enhanced Autopilot or Fully Self-Driving options, but, as Electrek notes, autonomous driving will surely be an attractive feature for last-mile services like this one, once the technology becomes available. This could be a lucrative new line of business for Tesla, which (read the fine print) prohibits vehicle owners from operating an autonomous commercial ride-sharing service except as part of the as-yet theoretical Tesla Network.
“[The vehicles] are like little spaceships,” Cesar Hernandez, Government Affairs Specialist for HART, told Tampa Bay Business Journal. “Even when you get into them, you feel like you’re in a cockpit.”