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SpaceX has 70 missions, valued at $10 billion, planned to launch rockets for commercial and governmental clients, and it reportedly wants to pick up the pace and send rockets skyward more frequently to meet growing demand and to satisfy clients who may have grown tired of delays. "Our launch rate is going to continue to grow," founder and CEO Elon Musk said. By the fourth quarter of the year, the company could be launching a rocket every two to three weeks, Musk said.
Media activity at the bustling spaceport is recovering after five years of deteriorating interest since the retirement of the space shuttle. In the past year covering SpaceX cargo missions, I've encountered Morgan Spurlock shooting an episode of Inside Man for CNN, A crew from Vice on HBO shooting for a segment, and a crew dispatched by Ron Howard who is producing a Mars-mission series for National Geographic.
Tesla Motors Inc. is scrambling to finish building its massive $5 billion battery factory here years ahead of schedule to meet demand for its coming cheaper sedan and provide power for new types of vehicles Chief Executive Elon Musk says are under development.
Tesla has doubled the number of people constructing the "gigafactory," which sits on more than 3,000 acres near Reno. Now, 1,000 workers build seven days a week on two shifts in an effort to start churning out lithium-ion cells by late 2016.
"We have to be ready with cell and pack production well ahead of vehicle production," JB Straubel, Tesla's chief technical officer and co-founder, said during a walk-through of the factory. "We're accelerating our construction plans and accelerating our planned ramp up of cell production."
Mark Rosekind , the head administrator of NHTSA, stated last week at a conference in Detroit that the auto industry and the utilization of Tesla's Autopilot "can't wait until it's perfect." As many are already aware, NHTSA is requesting an extensive list of varying information from the fatal crash in May involving one of Tesla's biggest advocates, now late, Joshua Brown. While many still side with the implementation of features such as Autopilot, there are still those that call for it to be disabled, such as some from Consumer Reports. So with all of this controversy surrounding the effectiveness and abilities of Tesla's semi-autonomous system, this statement from Mr. Rosekind is surprising and, actually, quite refreshing to hear.
In a conference call discussing its second quarter financial results today, Mobileye confirmed that it will end its partnership with Tesla for the development of the Autopilot program. Tesla's Autopilot system was designed in-house by the automaker and uses several different components, but Mobileye was an important partner supplying its EyeQ chip which processes the information from the Autopilot sensor's suite.
The reason for the two companies parting ways is not entirely clear at this point, but based on Mobileye CTO Amnon Shashua's comments, it might have something to do with the aftermath of the fatal Autopilot accident in a Model S, which first surfaced a few weeks ago.
Tesla is fighting restrictive direct sales laws in several markets like in Texas, Connecticut, Michigan, Indiana , but its fight in Utah is now the most "high-profile" since Tesla is challenging the state in its supreme court after it was blindsided out of its store.
The automaker built a $3 million store in Salt Lake City last year, but the full-fledged store was demoted to a gallery/service center two weeks before opening due to the Utah attorney general's office ruling that it was against the state's direct sales law following complaints from the local dealership association.
Elon Musk wants to make solar infrastructure beautiful. Or, as he puts it, he wants to build "a smoothly integrated and beautiful solar-roof-with-battery product that just works." That's according to his recently updated Master Plan, which he published on the Tesla Motors blog this week. And it's a very good idea.
It's impossible to know exactly what Musk means by "solar-roof-with-battery product" (one can imagine him introducing a new, all-in-one, energy-harvesting product category, but again, hard to say), but his choice of adjectives is telling. They imply something about existing consumer solar panels—namely, that they are currently less than stunning or beautiful.
It has been over a month since Tesla announced the proposed acquisition of SolarCity and the two companies have been doing their due diligence on the agreement ever since. They are now reportedly close to an agreement and could announce the "terms of a deal in the coming days".
Inside a secretive AI nonprofit backed by Elon Musk and other Silicon Valley figures, a handful of robots designed to help out in warehouses are gradually learning how to do useful household chores.
OpenAI, which was created to do basic AI research, is reprogramming robots developed by Fetch Robotics, a company that supplies warehouse automation hardware. Researchers at OpenAI are equipping the robots with software that lets them train themselves through trial and error.
"Elon has always been an introvert thinker. So where a lot of people would go to a great party and have a great time and drink and talk about all sorts of things like rugby or sport, you would find Elon had found the person's library and was going through their books," says Errol. "He'd find fun in that, not to say he wasn't a person who would party every now and then."