mercoledì 6 luglio 2016

Elon Musk News - Issue 23

"Why should companies exist at all?"

Elon Musk News

ISSUE 23  July 5th 2016

Here are the top 3 stories in this issue of Elon Musk News:
  1. How SpaceX kept its number one client happy after its rocket exploded
  2. Tesla Model S deliveries hit an almost two-year low globally, but Tesla is keeping its cards close to the chest
  3. Russia could get Hyperloop pilot project going by the end of the year

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Featured Quote

"Why should companies exist at all?"

— Elon Musk
Quote from Inverse | Photo from Every Elon Musk Video2

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Elon Musk News

How Elon Musk Started - His Life Visualized

Elon Musk is now Earth's most future-oriented person. How did such a person come to be? View the infographic.


How SpaceX kept its number one client happy after its rocket exploded

The failure of the commercial resupply mission, known as CRS-7, spelled delays for future missions to the station and lost NASA a new airlock it had developed for commercial spacecraft bringing humans to the station. It tightened the supply of necessary resources on the ISS and, back on Earth, emboldened opponents the space startup's opponents in Congress, which ultimately controls how much NASA can spend on its contractors.
Most of all, it represented a major hurdle for the commercial space business, which is trying to develop low-cost transit to space—with NASA and the ISS as the industry's key patrons. But SpaceX was able to return to flight less than six months later, and has since flown twice for NASA, launching a research satellite and ferrying a load of supplies ISS. Now, a new audit of the US space agency's relationship with its private space contractors shows how SpaceX retained the confidence of its government bosses.


Elon Musk says that about '500,000 people would have been saved (last year) if Tesla's Autopilot was universally available'

Fortune Magazine published a weird article today trying to tie Tesla's $2.3 billion secondary offering announced on May 18 with the recent fatal accident in a Model S on Autopilot. The author, Carol J. Loomis, highlights that Tesla didn't publicly disclose the news of the crash, which occurred on May 7, until June 30 when NHTSA announced that it will be investigating the accident.
Fortune reached out to Tesla for a comment on the assertion that the crash should have been considered material during the stock offering. Loomis somehow didn't disclose her side of the conversation but published an excerpt of Musk's response after he said that the event "is not material to the value of Tesla":
"Indeed, if anyone bothered to do the math (obviously, you did not) they would realize that of the over 1M auto deaths per year worldwide, approximately half a million people would have been saved if the Tesla autopilot was universally available. Please, take 5 mins and do the bloody math before you write an article that misleads the public."
Musk is referring to the fact that the accident is the first known fatality in just over 130 million miles where Autopilot was activated compared to about a fatality for approximately every 60 million miles globally. It's not a perfect sample size, but it roughly indicates that driving with Tesla's Autopilot is at the very least 50% safer than without.

Tesla Model S deliveries hit an almost two-year low globally, but Tesla is keeping its cards close to the chest

It's the first time ever that Tesla has its total quarterly deliveries go down two quarters in a row and the Model S deliveries are at their lowest point since Q3 2014. The good news is that the company appears to have kept some cards in its sleeve to generate more demand for the sedan. Upcoming expansions to other markets, like Mexico, South Korea, Eastern Europe and the Middle East, should help generate more demand for the vehicle.
Releasing a new higher-end version of its sedan has always helped the automaker generate more demand for the Model S, like it did with the P85D and then the P90D versions, and now soon the P100D should help Tesla capitalize on its existing customer base. The introduction of Autopilot 2.0 hardware could also help generate demand as more potential buyers will feel that the vehicle will now be "future proof", which should facilitate pulling the trigger.
While the second quarter delivery results are disappointing and it should reflect poorly on the company's earnings set for release next month, it's not all doom and gloom for Tesla, The company appears to be setting things up for an interesting second half of 2016 – both for production, as the company aims to produce 50,000 in the next 6 months, and on base on a product standpoint.

Tesla's Autopilot will get a significant update with version 8.0, following publicized fatal crash

The new 8.0 update, which is currently being tested with a select few Tesla owners and should be pushed to the fleet in the next few weeks, will allow for improvements in the general Autopilot experience in traffic, but more significantly, it will introduce automatic off-ramp in exits on the highway.
When Elon Musk first introduced the Autopilot, he made it clear that hardware limitations will not allow for a fully self-driving system, it will have to wait for the Autopilot 2.0, but he said that the system will enable self-steering on highways and self-driving at low-speed in parking situations, like with the Summon feature.
The v8.0 update will truly enable this vision by allowing off-ramp exit through activating the turn signal – much like the automatic lane change under the current version of Autosteer. A common problem with the early version of the Autopilot was that it had a tendency to try to take exits on the highway when it wasn't supposed to. After just a few weeks, Model S owners fed the Autopilot's collective network intelligence with enough information that it was able to largely eliminate the issue.


Russia could get Hyperloop pilot project going by the end of the year, says Moscow Deputy Mayor

A few weeks ago, we reported on Hyperloop One, one of the main companies developing hyperloop technologies, signing a memorandum of understanding with Moscow-based Summa Group, a Russian port, telecom and oil business headed by mysterious billionaire Ziyavudin Magomedov, to explore developing a Hyperloop project in the country.
While the deal was to determine if a project would theoretically be possible, now it seems that a pilot project is planning for an actual system as soon as December, according to Maxim Liksutov, Deputy Mayor of Moscow in charge of transport.


SolarCity pushing industry to 40% increase in useful lifetime of solar power installations

In a new report released by SolarCity, we are seeing that solar power systems have a usable lifetime of at least 35 years – 40% longer than the market expects. The key finding of the report is that power degradation (annual efficiency loss) of solar panels supplied to SolarCity is as much as 35% lower than for a comparable industry-wide selection of non-SolarCity panels, which are typically expected to last for 25 years. SolarCity feels it is the implementation of a stringent and industry-leading "Total Quality Program" that has driven this.

Blast From The Past

Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking Join Call for Ban on Artificially Intelligent Weapons

This was one of the most cited articles about Elon Musk in July, 2015. It's a great reminder of why he is so concerned about AI, and why he co-founded OpenAI.
Physicist Stephen Hawking and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk have joined scores of artificial intelligence and robotics experts calling for a ban on "offensive autonomous weapons" in an open letter published Monday.
"AI technology has reached a point where the deployment of such systems is–practically if not legally–feasible within years, not decades, and the stakes are high," reads the letter, which the Guardian reports will be presented Wednesday at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Buenos Aires. "Autonomous weapons have been described as the third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms."
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