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Technology Company CEO, Musk Says ‘I’m Out’

Elon Musk, technology guru, and CEO of TeslaSpaceX vowed that if the US left the Paris Climate Accord, he would leave President Trump’s White House advisory council. Well, it just so happens that the President of the United States, Donald Trump, made the announcement late Thursday to say exactly that; the US is out on Paris. In a tweet from Musk, he said, “Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the World.”


Musk has been a major supporter of green energy and helping to get the world off of fossil fuel use. The Tesla CEO even cited that climate change and the impact of leaving the Paris accord could be detrimental to the world. Musk said that he’d repeatedly made attempts to gain the president’s support for the agreement but to no avail.

Musk has been a loyal member of the advisory board even prior to this. But it seems to have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. The technology company leader stuck through some of the toughest times during the turbulent White House advisory board changes. Even after Uber CEO Travis Kalanick left the economic council, Musk stood by stating that it was for a greater good.

But Musk isn’t the only member to leave on account of the decision to not stick with the Paris Agreement. Even Robert Iger, Disney CEO, made a statement on Thursday evening saying, “As a matter of principle, I’ve resigned from the President’s Council over the #ParisAgreement withdrawl.”

Now, the question remains surrounding other members of the President’s advisory board who may follow suit.  As of the writing of this article, no new departures have been seen but we will continue to monitor this story as is develops.

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automatic driving technology

GM Debuts Automatic Driving Technology This Fall

Coming in the fall of this year, GM will launch its Super Cruise advanced highway automatic driving technology, debuting first in the new Cadillac CT6. Super Cruise has been in the works for a few years now, and the semi-autonomous drive mode is almost ready for its debut, after its release date was pushed from 2016 to 2017 to give engineers more time to focus on designing the safest system possible.

Super Cruise offers features similar to Tesla’s Autopilot, which can take over control of driving in highway settings, maintaining lane position and adapting speed based on surrounding traffic. The feature will be available on a limited basis, with access narrowed to “divided, limited-access highways” with “defined ‘on’ and ‘off’ ramps” according to The Verge. The system will also track driver head position using infrared cameras built into the steering wheel that will make sure they pay attention while the feature is engaged, and will alert them via a steering-wheel mounted light notification system, and audio alerts, if they stop.
automatic driving technology

GM has also incorporate a fail-safe measure that will stop the vehicle safely if a driver ends up not being able to respond to the alerts, a feature which Tesla also implements in its Autopilot software. Super Cruise can also be updated over-the-air, another similarity between it and Tesla’s offering.

However, unlike Autopilot, GM’s semi-autonomous highway driving features incorporate LiDAR data. Tesla has refrained from equipping its vehicles with the high-resolution laser detection tech, and GM isn’t putting LiDAR on consumer cars either. Cost of components and the aesthetics likely make this an unappealing way to go, but GM has an interesting workaround to both use LiDAR data and keep it off production vehicles: It’s deploying a fleet of LiDAR mapping cars that will image highways where Super Cruise is used and make that information available to the system over-the-air.

The option is a paid add-on, with a $2,500 upgrade price and a $3,100 additional requirement if you get a trim-model that doesn’t include a driver assist suite lumped into the existing price. Super Cruise finally getting on the road is definitely exciting, but this is also the year Elon Musk has said he’s aiming to field a first coast-to-coast test of Tesla’s full self-driving technology. In other words, we’re off to the autonomous races.

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Artificial Intelligence

Brain Enhancement To Accelerate Development Of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence : Elon Musk has another new company that is focused on developing the capabilities of the brain through AI. Neuralink, the new endeavor, officially came to light thanks to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, though it has been known for some time that Musk was working on brain-computer interface technology as a means to help ensure humans can keep pace with the accelerating development of artificial intelligence.

Artificial Intelligence

At Code Conference last year, Musk brought up the prospect of a “neural lace” that would be surgically connected to a human brain and permit a user to interact with a computer without the bandwidth challenges that come with current input methods, including keyboards, mice, and trackpads. He’s since tweeted that he has made progress on his own exploration of the technology, and more recently rumors emerged that he was planning to create another company with this project as its focus.

According to the Wall Street Journal report, the medical conditions being studied could include epilepsy and severe depressive disorder. These efforts could build on existing therapies that use electrodes in the brain to treat symptoms of Parkinson’s, giving Neuralink a starting point with established science and an easier path to approval for human use. Clearing that lower hurdle would then set up the company for its longer-term goal of human augmentation.

It may sound far-fetched, but in fact this is basically the Musk standard playbook for building new companies based on big ideas. Both SpaceX and Tesla used the same model, starting with near-term products that weren’t nearly as ambitious as later efforts in order to crest a sustainable path to grand designs, like landing on Mars or affordable, mass-produced long-range EVs.

Musk will definitely have a full plate with Neuralink on top of SpaceX and Tesla, as well as his side venture The Boring Company, which is looking into solving urban transportation issues via tunnels. However, the CEO sees artificial intelligence as a risk that could potentially affect humanity at large, and his decision to pursue this potential solution likely seems as imperative to him as does the necessity of expanding our intergalactic colonial footprint, or weaning ourselves off of fossil fuels.

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electric vehicle

Electric Vehicles Go To Two Wheels

What To Expect With A Zero Motorcycles’ Electric Vehicles, I mean, Motorcycles.

With growing popularity, electric vehicles have started taking over. Some of the most popular brands on American roads are: Bolt, Prius, Proterra, and Tesla. It is rare to see or hear of a fully electric or hybrid motorcycle. Harley and Honda are two of the more popular brands of motor bikes. Their customers have expressed interest in the greener approach to riding but not many startups have been successful. Zero Motorcycles, Lightning Motorcycle, and Alta Motors are some US Companies still in the game.

electric vehicles

Zero Motorcycles CTO, Abe Askenazi, has been in the motorcycle industry for almost twenty years. He said right now a lot of Zero Motorcycles’ customers buy the company’s EV bikes alongside market-leading V-twins and V-4s. To him, that indicates Zero’s bikes perform at the same or better levels as riders’ long-held favorites. He continued, electric bikes are quiet, so riders can hear what’s happening around them, and won’t disturb the peace, which their neighbors appreciate. That quietness is one reason police departments buy Zero Motorcycles for their fleets. They can ride at any hour, and approach suspects stealthily if they drive electric.

Zero’s products range from lightweight “hot rods” to off-road models that cost anywhere from about $8,500 to $16,000. Some of the new bikes are promising 200 miles per charge, which is a significant improvement from past models. The motorcycles’ easy to read instruments, speed control, and acceleration are some of Zero’s customers’ favorite qualities.

Askenazi stated, “Optimization of chemistry has gotten us here. The beautiful thing is that batteries are plug-and-play. When that battery comes that will give you 1,000 miles, we’ll be able to use it. Where the industry is going though is not so much a bigger battery to go further between charges, but faster charging so you can go grocery shopping, plug it in, come back and then you’re ready to go again.”

The CTO said that batteries will eventually weigh less and take up less space on the e-bikes. This will allow more space for cargo and other components. Askenazi stated, “You gain a lot of practicality with this bike.” He believes over time there will be many improvements with lighter weight and stronger materials.

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    Introducing The Fully Electric Off-Road Mercedes G-Class

    Electric vehicles are typically constructed with a specific client in mind, and usually this envisioned customer is most concerned with getting around in ultimate efficiency. Tesla stirred up this stereotype with its fast sports cars, but the new Kreisel customized Mercedes G 350 d with a fully electric drivetrain adds another dimension to the image of the prospective EV buyer. The plan came together thanks in part to a high-profile stakeholder and design partner, Arnold Schwarzenegger. The former governor of California and actor drives a Mercedes G in the United States, but along with Kreisel, wanted to build a version of his beloved car that also meshed with his priorities and values when it comes to seeking out renewable energy alternatives wherever possible.


    Schwarzenegger said in a press release revealing the vehicle, “To me, with the electric version of this fantastic car, a dream has become true. The initial test drive was a real pleasure. The Kreisel is incredibly sporty and perfectly benefits from the advantages e-mobility has to offer. I really look forward to the following test runs and to the gradual further development in California.” The man who played Harry Tasker is now the official test driver for the first converted Mercedes G, and he is going to be helping with future design and development that will happen stateside in association with Austria-based Kreisel Electric.

    This first prototype was assembled in only two months, and carries a “realistic” maximum range of 300 kilometres, pretty impressive for a vehicle whose frame is not designed for maximum EV efficiency. It is powered by an 80 kWh battery, and the ar also claimed a 3 second faster 0 to 60 mph time of around 5.6 seconds, when compared to its gas-guzzling V6 progenitor. It also supports fast charging, recovering 80% of its capacity in just 25 minutes. It is a very cool retrofit, and hopefully one that consumers can soon pick up as an aftermarket modification. Kreisel is currently building a factory for large-scale production of its electric battery packs for use by automotive OEMs and other customers, so this is more of a side project.

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    Boom Supersonic Jet Technology Is On Its Path To Production

    Technology for supersonic airplane startup Boom is well on its way. The startup completed its wind tunnel analysis, verifying its first two years of aerodynamic design work and setting the stage for constructing the airframe that will become the basis of it first flight-ready aircraft. We spoke to Boom co-founder Blake Scholl and CEO about the wind tunnel testing that had been completed, and asked why this was such a large step for the startup.


    Scholl explained that this was a major turning point because it meant being able to move on to constructing large-scale hardware for analysis with human pilots. However, Scholl also told us that just a few years ago, this kind of technology milestone would have involved multiple wind tunnel tests through numerous physical model iterations over a drawn-out period of time.

    Scholl stated, “It used to be you do all your development in wind tunnel. Every iteration would take six months, cost millions; you’d better be a big company. But today, you can do aerodynamic development in simulation, where each iteration takes 30 minutes and costs almost nothing, and so you can do it with a tiny team. And then when you think you’ve got it right, you go to the wind tunnel and you verify rather than develop there.” The adjustments in the cost of the advancement process are part of what is helping Boom reach its achievement of creating a Concorde-like supersonic passenger jet that can operate at costs comparable on the traveler’s end to business class travel on regular planes today.

    Scholl’s target is not just to get supersonic flight down to business class prices. He envisions a time when they can bring costs down far enough that supersonic travel will be accessible to anyone who can fly today. Boom sees itself having a parallel trajectory with SpaceX technology or Tesla in terms of massively changing the economies of a transportation tech that at first seems out of reach, Scholl explained. “It’s the dividing line between development and being ready to build, so you do all of your testing and simulation initially, you think you have a design that looks like it’s going to go work, and then you go to the wind tunnel and you verify with real air and real flow that you’re seeing the results that you predicted in simulation and at that point then you’re ready to go forward and start constructing large pieces of the aircraft,” he stated. Scholl said that there was a “really awesome agreement” between the conclusions predicting in software simulation, and the results that bore out in actual wind tunnel testing, with a few areas for improvements the team will work on before heading to the construction phase.

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    Where companies like Tesla, Google, and even Uber are racing at break neck speeds to be a leader in self driving automobiles, Ford is taking a slower pace. According to reports, the long standing US automotive companies could see its first self driving car in 10 years, versus 10 months but for good reason. Last month Ford CEO Mark Fields said that the company will put self driving vehicles into mass production in 2021 but only for “ride hailing duty”. Normal consumers will have to wait longer in order to be able to self park one of these new rides in their garages.

    Why will it take so long? Mostly, this hesitation has a lot to do with the safety issues this new technology faces. There was already a reported death from the malfunctioning of Tesla’s new self driving electric car. With this comes many more questions regarding the fail-safes that should and hopefully will be put in place by automakers. Basically the greater level of automation implemented, the more time it will take for the human driver to get reengaged in actually driving the vehicle when the system needs that “human touch.”

    The results may show Ford becoming a laggard in the marketplace of self driving cars but then again it allows the company to sit back and watch companies like Tesla become to test subjects for the formal roll-out of the eventual Ford Self-Driving Auto. For investors of Ford, they’re just going to have to sit back and wait, which may actually work out for the better considering the missteps already going on within the market via some of the other “early birds”.

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    There’s been much debate surrounding electric auto maker, Tesla over recent months.  Following the death of a driver who was using Tesla’s automated driving function at the time of the accident, everything Tesla has fallen under strict scrutiny.  Over the weekend however, Tesla may have found a way to change all of that .

    In a phone conference, Elon Musk stated that a new update to the car will be accessible for download in about two week for models delivered after October of 2014.  He also said that is was “very likely” that this update would have saved the life of the drive who died in the May crash in Florida.  In short, the new update would have identified the large metal object…which was a TRUCK!…to prevent the first and only deadly crash that the driverless system had been involved with to this point.

    This new radar technology that is now used as a primary control sensor as opposed to reliance on a standard camera system, can easily detect things through fog, dust, rain, snow, etc. Tesla stated that the effect of this new update combined with the ability for a radar system to “see through” most visible hindrances caused by weather conditions, will allow the car to put on the brakes “even if a UFO were to land on the freeway in zero visibility conditions.”

    The main goal for Tesla is to improve and even perfect the safety of its vehicles (shocker).  Improving the liklihood of safety will help the company retain a “zero fatality rate” moving forward…until the next accident I suppose.  Estimates by Tesla show that the new system was a major improvement for the safety of the vehicle and would allow the company to simply deploy the update rather than issue a full recall.  In our opinion, until we see real world improvements and a true zero failure rate, the jury is still out.

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    streaming technology

    So there you are just driving along the road, you stop at a red light and look to your left and see…NO ONE DRIVING! Now I know, normally you’d be scared but technology is quickly making this a possible “norm of the future”.

    Between Google, Uber, Tesla, and a host of other tech companies focusing on “the driver-less car,” this has begun to turn more into reality than science fiction. California, for example, has amendments to a bill before its legislative assembly that would essentially allow for the testing of cars without any driver present in the driver’s seat. And this could be conducted on actual roads!

    Michigan’s state legislators introduced a bill that would also give the right to test cars without a safety driver present. Both bills limit the situations where these kinds of vehicles can operate. For instance, the bill in California specifies that pilot projects cannot have their autos exceeding 35mph. Also, only approved areas will be allowed for use during the testing phase. There’s also a provision that automobile manufacturers along with their suppliers will be held liable for any accidents that would result from these trials.

    So far, every one of the 50 states require that a drive be operating a vehicle on a public road. In the case of Michigan, the bill actually represents a major economic opportunity and an option to keep car technology research and development within the state. Introducing these proposed amendments in California is also potentially going to increase Michigan’s process on the matter. Its bill already has support from Republican and Democratic legislative reps.

    The bottom line is that this technology is no longer a thing of the future and state lawmakers are highly likely to give the “OK” to vehicles without human drivers!

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    The news has been confirmed by Tesla that it will buy Solar City in a deal for 2.6 billion dollars. This deal will tie both of the companies together as one giant company. The newly merged company will sell different products like power wall batteries, solar panels, etc. Elon Musk is currently serving as the Chairman of the board in both companies.

    Tesla which is known for electric car manufacturing and Solar City which is known for producing solar panels and their installation are going to be joined as the chairman of both the companies, Musk, is planning something big for them according to recent press. The CEO further explains the reason to merge both companies in the “Master Plan Part Deux,” a follow up to his original Master Plan that he wrote more than 10 years ago.

    “Now that Tesla is ready to scale Powerwall and SolarCity is ready to provide high differentiated solar, the time has come to bring them together.”

    The merged company anticipates saving as much as $150M on Solar City/Tesla merger after the deal was approved by the companies’ boards. There would be a single application to control, monitor and access all the energy products of Tesla by using your smartphone. There are 45 days for both the companies to look for a better deal as they need regulatory approval. But because Musk is the chairman of both Tesla and SolarCity companies, there are most likely fewer chances for anyone to put a stop to this deal.

    SolarCity was founded by the cousins of Musk, but Musk is the largest shareholder of both the firms. There will be no impact of the merge on any plans of both of the firms. Therefore, they could quite possibly do what they had initially planned to do, in near future.

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