It's amazing how much can happen in the span of only a few days. SpaceX's president Gwynne Shotwell said that they should be launching rockets again in November, and Tesla's new Model S P100D was tested by DragTimes who confirmed its staggering 0-60 time of 2.5 seconds. Elon also gave an interview with Y Combinator's Sam Altman, you can watch the interview here.
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"I'm confident we can get to at least one meter per second [on Tesla's production line]. So, a 20-fold increase."
SpaceX hopes to start launching its rockets again in November, a mere three months after the company's Falcon 9 exploded on a launch pad at Cape Canaveral, Florida. That's according to SpaceX president and COO Gwynne Shotwell, who spoke today at Euroconsult's World Satellite Business Week — a conference in Paris. "We're anticipating getting back to flight, being down for about three months, and getting back to flight in November," said Shotwell
William Gerstenmaier, NASA's associate administrator for human exploration and operations, had a very astute response: "It's not a competition." He went on to explain that whichever company or agency first able to make it to red planet is irrelevant to the bigger picture of expanding the presence of humanity into deep space. "It advances us as a species," he said. NASA is rooting for SpaceX and the success of the Red Dragon program as much as Musk and his team are rooting for NASA.
Construction is expected to be completed by late 2017, with launches potentially starting as soon as 2018. SpaceX has stated that while NASA missions (launches of probes to different parts of the solar system, as well as the company's Commercial Cargo Resupply Services and Commercial Crew Program) will still be launched from the Cape, the launch of some non-NASA payloads (such as the SES, Thaicom and JCSAT satellites SpaceX has already sent to orbit) would likely move to Boca Chica.
While both companies are required to include one of these escape systems in their vehicles, the approach to testing the systems differs slightly between the two companies.
SpaceX's Dragon's escape system was directly tested in May 2015, during the craft's first pad abort test. The capsule was placed on a launch pad by itself (no rocket) and controllers fired the Dragon's eight SuperDraco launch-abort engines; in the case of an emergency (like a rocket explosion) those engines would fire the craft away from danger. The Dragon was able to reach an altitude of nearly 5,000 feet (about 1,500 meters), demonstrating that it could get away from the pad on its own.
Tesla's CEO defended the company's decision to push level 3 semi-autonomous system, a system under which the driver basically acts as the backup to the autonomous technology.
"I feel quite strongly that as soon as you have data that says that autonomy improves safety [we should bring it to market]. Even hypothetically 1 or 2 percent safer. There are 1.2 million people dying from automotive accidents a year. One percent is 12,000 lives saved."
Musk went on to highlight the real reasons why he thinks some companies are against level 3 autonomy: "And I think it would be morally wrong to withhold functionalities that improve safety simply in order to avoid criticisms or for fear of being involved in lawsuits."
Sam Altman of Y Combinator recently had the opportunity to have a 1-on-1 sit down with Elon Musk. During the interview, they conversed about various subjects including whether or not he [Musk] thought people getting their PhDs is generally useful, the colonization of mars, and artificial intelligence. But one statement, in particular, that Musk revealed in his talks with Altman stood out like a sore thumb: he believes that the team at Tesla can increase the speed on the production line by, a staggering, 20-fold.
Using the VBOX, Dragtimes was able to confirm a 10.7 second 1/4 mile and 760 horsepower (567KW). The Model S P100D's unofficial 10.7 second 1/4 mile blast tops the previous world record of 10.8 seconds held by a Model S P90D with Ludicrous.
Los Angeles is still in need of an electric energy solution that ensures reliability during peak times. As winter approaches, homes and buildings in the basin will need more natural gas for heat. These demands apply uncharacteristically high pressure to the energy system, exposing the Los Angeles basin to a heightened risk of rolling blackouts.
Last week, through a competitive process, Tesla was selected to provide a 20 MW/80 MWh Powerpack system at the Southern California Edison Mira Loma substation. Tesla was the only bidder awarded a utility-owned storage project out of the solicitation. Upon completion, this system will be the largest lithium ion battery storage project in the world. When fully charged, this system will hold enough energy to power more than 2,500 households for a day or charge 1,000 Tesla vehicles.
While Elon Musk continues to declare that his Teslas will soon be "by far the safest cars on the road," his former partners at Mobileye are singing a different tune. On Wednesday, Reuters reported that Mobileye Chief Technology Officer Amnon Shashua said Tesla was "pushing the envelope in terms of safety," and that this audacity would hurt the autonomous car industry.
Now that it's independent, odds are good that Mobileye wants to establish its own foothold in the market, and to distance itself from a company that will continue to make headlines whenever it loses footing. Car crashes are normal, unfortunate events, but computers are great scapegoats. Even if Tesla could cut automobile deaths in half, the rare Autopilot malfunction would still cause a media frenzy. Mobileye, which has moved on to other automotive partnerships, would rather not be tied to such a liability.
Elon Musk has warned people to stay vigilant and "revolt against the propaganda of the fossil fuel industry which is unrelenting and enormous". Now Tesla is having its own fight against the oil industry and it's not one to promote electric vehicles. The company is suing an oil pipeline services firm and its Chief Financial Officer who Tesla says tried to impersonate Musk to gain confidential information about Tesla's deliveries during the current quarter.
Shervin Pishevar, well-known venture capitalist and co-founder in the two-year-old L.A.-based futuristic transportation company Hyperloop One came to TechCrunch Disrupt today to chat about shooting across the world people and things — faster than the speed of sound.
But just how soon will we see that happen? Pishevar says his team is "full steam ahead" to get us there by 2021 and that the first one will likely be overseas. "The thing I learned from Travis Kalanick, Elon and others is they don't spend their time thinking about competition. They think about what they're going to build next," he said. "We're not thinking about the past, we're full steam ahead on the future."