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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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technology moon delivery

Technology Company, Blue Origin Anticipates Amazon-Style Delivery To The Moon By 2020

Technology guru Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin and Amazon founder, is planning a trip to the Moon. His plan, uncovered through a draft proposal by The Washington Post presented to NASA and Trump’s administration, outlines Blue Origin’s intention to design a cargo spacecraft destined for the Moon that would help it carry experiments, supplies, and people to Earth’s largest natural satellite, hopefully by 2020.

technology moon delivery

Bezos has a pretty sharp grasp of terrestrial shipping through Amazon, so it makes sense that he would visualize providing similar services at a lunar scale. The CEO told the Washington Post that he thinks it is time for the United States to not only make its way back to the Moon, but also to stay, with the aim of setting up a “permanently inhabited lunar settlement.” The Moon is currently on the mind of many. Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO, recently announced that his company would be sending two private individuals on a tourist mission around the Moon, with a target flight date in 2019.

Blue Origin’s original proposal aims on getting the goods necessary to set up a permanent colony on the Moon, rather than shuttling humans or tourists to the destination. It also looks for resource commitment from NASA, both in terms of expertise and funding. In the white paper, the plan is to land the spacecraft at the Moon’s south pole, where there’s enough sunlight to power it through external solar panels, and where it has water ice nearby, which is essential for both human sustenance and the creation of rocket fuel. Its design could allow for flying 10,000 pound of materials and supplies, and it is intended to be usable with NASA’s own launch craft, the ULA’s Atlas V rocket or its own New Glenn rocket, which is still in development.

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    technology

    Once what was thought as science fiction could now soon become science fact. SpaceX (despite its short-comings and rocket explosions) is fixated on bringing earthlings into the business of galactic colonization. But why Mars? Besides the fact that the “red planet” has a similar planetary make-up and the fact that it’s close enough to get to in someone’s lifetime, Elon Musk thinks that it will give us options.

    What kind of options you ask? In his opinion, we can either stay on Earth and eventually face an “extinction event” or we can spread our wings throughout the space system and build our own “second Earth” to keep the species living on. The whole goal for SpaceX, at least for now is to set up an outpost for exploration and then eventually create a self-sustaining civilization that builds out from this outpost.

    On top of this, because Mars’ atmosphere is far less than that of Earth, Mars dwellers could potentially bounce from place to place not only cutting down on commute times but also lessening the mental stress when looking at your scale (I joke). But here’s the thing, it’s projected to cost roughly $10Billion per person if you wanted to move to Mars right now…and I’m sure many of us have other ways we would want to spend a cool 11-figure check.

    So in order to curb this cost, SpaceX thinks the solution would be to manufacture reusable vehicles. Musk says, “It’s kind of like Battlestar Galactica, if you’ve seen that thing.” The real goal is to get roughly 1million people to become the first colony on Mars, which could take 100 years or more. They want to get the cost of travel down from $10billion to $100-$200k and that is the task at hand to be able to build a vessel that can make headway in space but is also built out of material that won’t break the bank. Carbon fiber and other materials have been looked at as viable solutions to this.

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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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    Though Elon Musk isn’t building a Hyperloop transportation system physically, SpaceX is currently in the process of building a test track for Hyperloop pods. SpaceX is hosting a Hyperloop Pod Design Competition for engineering teams and students, and 23 winners were chosen earlier in 2016 to help build their pod prototypes. They also will race them on the test track, which consists of a 1-mile tube with the ability of achieving 99.8% vacuum.

    Pod testing would be a major milestone for Hypeloop technology. The two main companies battling to build the first operational Hyperloop systems, Hyperloop One, and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, currently have not initiated any pod tests. HyperloopOne has begun construction on its own test track in Nevada, but the SpaceX project seems a lot further along.

    Previously when SpaceX first released the competition, the timing of the final round, which entailed the actual test of final prototype pods, was set for summer of this year. Though, in July, SpaceX announced that would be pushed back till January 2017. It’s still not clear if the setback SpaceX recently experienced via the loss of Falcon 9 rocket along with Facebook’s Internet.org satellite this past week will affect those timelines.

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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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    News from Tesla was recently released reporting that the electric automobile company is planning on acquiring SolarCity. The news came as a surprise to traders early Wednesday. As a result, traders bit up SolarCity by 13% and drove Tesla down by 12%. During an acquisition, it is normal for the stock market to spike the target and drag down the buyer. SolarCity has a debt-to-equity ratio of 3.492 as of March 2016, while Tesla as a ratio of 3.215. Tesla is currently in a unique position because the market for electric cars is still considerably underdeveloped. Competitors such as Fiat Chrysler and General Motors still have lower ratios in the industry.

    Good news for Tesla is that most of SolarCity’s debt is project-level debt. Michael Morosi, of Avondale Partners, notes that the debt is consolidated on the SolarCity balance sheet, and is set against their cash flow producing assets. What that means is that the debt behaves like that of a mortgage debt instead of credit card debt. SolarCity has a highly visible burn-rate and is yet to break even. Tesla will have to deal with the debt before they can proceed with their plans for expansion.

    “Tesla doesn’t view this as a reaction to GE breathing down their necks,” said Troy Ault, Director of Research at Cleantech Group.

    Tesla and SolarCity do have a history however, as Elon Musk and Antonio Garcias both have overlapping roles between the two companies. The generous 21 percent to 30 percent premium that Tesla gave SolarCity were affected by markets because of the post announcement shift in price. Tesla is currently 4 years away from its target of hitting full capacity, and therefore is making a bold move by acquiring SolarCity. Most experts claim that SolarCity will continue to operate at their normal pace, even after the transaction is completed. This is mostly because Tesla is busy completing the release of the Model 3. SolarCity’s immediate role within Tesla was not reported.

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    With a significant amount contribute day Elon Musk, Automotive company Tesla Motors, Inc. is selling around $2 billion worth of its $TSLA stock in equity offerings, so that they can accelerate production of the Model 3. This is according to a regulatory filing which was filed early last week. The company is selling 6.8 million shares, which last traded at $218.34 by the end of the morning trade. Musk is selling close to 2.8 million shares — or $600 million, to satisfy taxes on options he is exercising. However after the sale of those shares, Tesla reports that the number of shares of .TSLA held by Musk will grow.

    The proceeds of the sale is set to go towards Tesla’s goal of producing half a million cars annually by 2018. The company expected to hit that number by 2020, however bumped it up after a new earnings report showed a high volume of pre-orders for the new Model 3. With a large number of pre-orders being placed, Tesla reports that it has 325,000 reservations for the Model 3, it is not a surprise that the company wants to ensure fulfillment of all orders.

    Ironically, longtime bear Goldman Sachs underwrote the offering, signaling that they felt the stock was undervalued and worth purchasing. Stocks tend to move faster as the new ratings are issued by banks. Shares for tesla ended up 3 percent that day. Tesla also plans on delivering 80 to 90 thousand new vehicles by the end of 2016. The launch of the Model 3, a $35,000 electric car, is critical for the company’s success, and may even be the most important launch ever for the automotive company. This is why the company wants to ensure that it has the capital to meet the high demand it is seeing for the car.

    Bloomberg recently reported that it’s two top execs are leaving the company ahead of mass production of the Model 3, which sent the already rocky stock to a 4 percent low. Net shares of Tesla now lay flat. There is also an included footnote in the filing which states that the company plans to also “use a portion of the net proceeds from the offering for working capital or other general corporate purposes.”

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    Two top manufacturing executives are leaving tech sector giant Tesla Motors Inc., including the global head of production, at a time when the electric-car company is about to release its most important car: the mass-production Model 3. A Tesla spokesperson confirmed both departures and said Reichow will remain until his replacement is found.

    A person familiar with the situation who isn’t authorized to speak about the matter said the executive changes are linked to delays, glitches, and a recall that have bedeviled Tesla’s Model X. Tesla denied any connection between the departures and production problems with its SUV.

    “After being at Tesla for over five years and leading its production team for the past three years, Greg Reichow has announced his intention to take a leave of absence from Tesla so that he can have a well-earned break.”

    The latest high-level personnel changes brings to five the total number of Tesla vice presidents who have left the company this year, and Reichow marks the biggest departure.

    He served as the leader of car production and had been one of Tesla’s highest-compensated employees, making almost $6.4 million in cash, stock, and options in the last two years, according to company filings. Tesla did not elaborate on Ensign’s plan to leave.

    “Greg and the team deserve a lot of credit for building an all-new manufacturing organization from the ground up and for making Model S and Model X a reality,” said Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk in an e-mail to Bloomberg.

    “We’re confident that with the strength of the team, high-quality manufacturing at Tesla will continue.” In the same e-mail provided by Tesla, Reichow added: “My belief in Tesla’s ability to successfully deliver great cars and inspire the world to drive electric remains as strong as ever.” While Tesla described Reichow’s exit as a leave of absence-and other executives have left and rejoined-the company also said Reichow will be involved in handing off his responsibilities to a successor to ensure uninterrupted production.

    The launch of Tesla’s Model X, which Reichow helped oversee, was marred by delays. Tesla will report first-quarter earnings after the close of stock trading on Wednesday. Other senior executives who have left Tesla this year include Michael Zanoni, vice president of finance and worldwide controller; James Chen, vice president of regulatory affairs and deputy general counsel; and Ricardo Reyes, vice president of global communications.

    Ensign joined Tesla in June 2014 after working at Honeywell for more than a decade. Next up for Tesla may be its biggest manufacturing and production challenge yet: building the Model 3. Before the designated launch date of late 2017, Tesla needs to massively ramp up production capacity-first for the Model X, then for the batteries that power all of Tesla’s vehicles, and finally for the Model 3 itself. Shares of this tech stock have declined in price starting on April 27 dropping from highs of $255 to lows on Wednesday of $220.40

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