Everyone is hung up on autonomous cars and I get that but there is a huge market for the "in-between". That is what many people are missing. I bet there are far more people over the next 5 years who still want/need a steering wheel but want to be able to look at their smart phone and/or watch a video even if it means once in a while they have to take over just not instantly. (William Smith in IRobot comes to mind )I think regulators are being sensible and knowledgeable in the case of driverless car testing. This was a surprise to me, couple of years ago I would have expected them to drag their feet and be obstacle for companies like Tesla to make progress. Now it seems that Tesla has not even started the regulatory approval process that does exist. Instead they spread FUD like "regulatory approval is the big unknown" to point fingers to someone else (while the bottleneck is their own R&D)
On long term, the vision only path Tesla chose seems to be the right one: it looks to be on the path of being able to produce L4 with the lowest manufacturing cost. Thus Tesla's bet seems to be paying off. Eventually. Not sure how hard it will be for others to adapt to this and drop lidars.
Regardless of the above, Tesla is not a leader in autonomous cars. At least Cruise and Waymo are way ahead in actually getting real cars on real roads driving real people around. This far Tesla is all big vision and a very promising looking L2 perpetually coming to market in "two weeks".
And they will pay alot just for that. So it's not just the robo taxi market that is at play here.