On wednesday Tesla released their highly anticipated v8.0 software update. In short, it has a lot of small improvements which add up to a lot. The biggest being autopilot's use of radar, which now enables Tesla's to see up to three cars in front.
There is also a great article by the Verge which dives into what is known so far about Elon's Mars colonization plans, an article about a new international all Tesla racing championship, and much more!
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In less than a week, SpaceX's CEO Elon Musk will finally explain how he plans to colonize Mars within the next few decades. It's a goal that he has adamantly championed for years, though he hasn't given many specifics about it. That will change on September 27th, when Musk is expected to talk about the vehicles and technologies needed to bring people to the Red Planet, and then build a long-term settlement there.
Musk has been vague about his Mars colonization architecture so far, though the internet rumor mill has been busy. Here's what we know about Musk's vision and what he may or may not reveal at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Guadalajara, Mexico. "I think it's gonna seem pretty crazy, no matter what," Musk told GQ in December.
Expertise, input and advice from seasoned NASA engineers will improve SpaceX's chances of nailing the first commercial landing on Mars as soon as late 2018, a senior space agency official said Wednesday, but Elon Musk's space transport company will likely seek more independence from U.S. government support on later expeditions to the red planet.
"NASA's role is somewhat limited," McAlister said in a conference call with space industry experts Wednesday. "We don't have full insight into the overall mission design, nor should we."
SpaceX's Red Dragon mission to Mars could mark a lot of firsts when it comes to space exploration, but one of the coolest new things about the whole project is a fancy, incredibly cool-sounding way to land on the planet's surface: Supersonic retropropulsion.
With supersonic retropropulsion, the spacecraft will fire its rockets while moving faster than the speed of sound. This allows the craft to ditch the parachute that its subsonic brethren use to slow down, making for a lighter and faster trip.
Unlike some previous updates, there's no killer new function in Tesla 8.0. Instead, there are hundreds of smaller tweaks that add up to a significantly improved experience behind the wheel. The total package, which started rolling out overnight, is the biggest over-the-air update of Tesla's operating system yet. The first thing I noticed after downloading it is the new look of Tesla's 17-inch touchscreen control panel: a cleaner layout with new icons, new map views, and importantly, a much improved entertainment system. But what really stands out is the new Autopilot.
Perhaps the biggest change from a technological standpoint is how Autopilot is shifting toward more reliance on its radar than its camera to guide the car through traffic. Radar is a tricky beast—it can distort a crushed soda can to seem like a major obstacle. But the potential benefits are enormous: it's unaffected by weather, and signals can be bounced beneath and around the cars in front of you. Tesla appears to be solving the radar puzzle, and the instrument cluster now shows obstacles on the road that the driver couldn't otherwise see—the cars in front of the cars in front of you.
Electric GT, an all-electric racing championship using only Tesla Model S sedans, unveiled its modified version of the Model S this week ahead of an official debut next week on the island of Ibiza. The racing series is marketing itself as "the first 100% zero emissions GT championship".
They will be using the long discontinued Tesla Model S P85+, renamed 'EDT Car V1.3', modified for racing by EGT engineering. Tesla offers several higher performance versions of the Model S, but Electric GT insisted on using the discontinued P85+. Apparently, it's because the P85+ is the last non-all-wheel-drive performance Model S.
After months at a standstill at the Michigan Secretary of State office, Tesla's application for a dealership license in order to service and sales its vehicles in the state was rejected earlier this month.
Tesla filed a lawsuit against the state in order "to vindicate its rights under the United States Constitution to sell and service its critically-acclaimed, all-electric vehicles at Tesla-owned facilities in the State of Michigan". The court battle will be an important one for the electric automaker since Michigan is the most populated state in the US that still doesn't have a Tesla store or service center.
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has an initiative called "SuperTruck". Under the program, the DOE gives significant grants to truck manufacturers to increase the fuel economy of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles by developing new technologies.
Daimler is one of the truck manufacturers taking the most advantage of the program. Under the first version, it developed the 12-MPGe Freightliner SuperTruck. Tesla hired several key engineers who previously worked on Daimler's SuperTruck program, which is particularly interesting now that we know Tesla is working on its own truck: 'Tesla Semi'.
As one might expect, the Model S P100D using Tesla's redesigned 100 kWh battery pack has a significantly stronger top end than the previous king of the hill – the P90D. Despite the P90D getting a jump off the line, the P100D continues to accelerate and reel in its opponent, before passing it all together. Even when starting from a rolling stop, the P100D is seen pulling away from its 90 kWh sibling almost instantaneously.
Vehicle-to-grid capacity would enable Tesla owners to plug their homes into their Tesla, and have its battery run appliances. CEO Elon Musk, it seems, wants his Tesla owners to make a profit: When not in use, the cars might soon taxi people around for you. Sooner, it looks like they'll store and supply energy from and to the grid.
The basic idea, for non-solar cars, is to store energy when electricity is cheap, and then to use this stored energy to power — or to sell it back to the grid — when electricity costs are peaking.
Elon Musk confirmed today that Tesla is aiming to unveil its new 'Solar Roof' product, in partnership with SolarCity, as well as a next generation Powerwall and new 'Tesla charger' on October 28. These are all products that have been talked about at some point or another, but very little is known about them at this point.
The 'solar roof', the integration of solar generation in the roof structure, was confirmed by Musk last month during a conference call discussing SolarCity's second quarter financial results. The product has been rumoured to be either something resembling solar shingles or photovoltaic panels integrated in steel roofing.