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Here are the top three stories in this issue of Elon Musk News Premium:
Sadly, SpaceX will not be launching any more Falcon 9s in 2016. There was a glimmer of hope that they would be able to launch Iridium's cluster of satellites on December 16th, however SpaceX stated on Wednesday that they are still finalizing the investigation of the September 1st explosion. The good news is that SpaceX has a full roster of customers, so 2017 should be a great year to watch more drone ship landings!
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"[We need to] put the correct price on carbon because we currently have an error in the economy which misprices carbon at zero."
After deciding to buy a Tesla, often the next decision is to purchase a Level 2 charging station for faster charging at home. Safety might not be the first consideration when selecting a charging station, but safety is actually the most important thing to consider.
President-elect Trump has spent a lot of time talking about how he plans to reinvigorate the manufacturing sector, repeatedly telling the public on the campaign trail, "We are going to bring back jobs that have been stolen from you." And yet the group of business luminaries he named on Friday to advise him on "job creation"... was missing a key name: Mr. Musk, the real-life Tony Stark.
In the last decade, Mr. Musk has created nearly 35,000 jobs among his various enterprises — and most of those jobs are classic manufacturing ones. His Tesla Gigafactory, a 5.5-million-square-foot battery factory under construction outside Reno, Nev., is expected to employ 6,500 people in manufacturing jobs by 2020.
Today, SpaceX announced it expects to begin launching again in early January—just four months after one of its Falcon 9 rockets burst into flames on a Florida launchpad. But the private space company helmed by Elon Musk is still missing one important thing before it leaves Earth: a license from the Federal Aviation Administration.
The SpaceX announcement posted on its website Wednesday said it was "finalizing the investigation" into the September 1 explosion and working to complete the final steps necessary to "safely and reliably return to flight, now in early January with the launch of Iridium-1." That launch will release the first 10 satellites in the Iridium NEXT constellation, which will eventually comprise 72 satellites. When Iridium, a telecommunications company, signed its $492 million contract with SpaceX in 2010, it was the largest commercial space deal in history.
Elon Musk must be a pretty good boss; his company SpaceX was named one of the 50 Best Places to Work by the job hunting website Glassdoor on its annual list for 2016.
This was the first time that SpaceX has made the list, and it placed 40th. The results, which were based on anonymous employee reviews from at least 75 people over the course of a year, were extremely close. The highest company on the list, Bain & Company, received a 4.6 out of 5, while the company in 50th place earned a 4.2.
A new picture emerged online recently that seems to be from Tesla's corporate party in San Jose last month. It's probably the best look we have so far at the Model 3's interior cabin as a whole. The first thing people notice is the lack of an instrument cluster. There already has been plenty of speculation about that and everything points toward Tesla using a heads-up display system to show all the information normally available on the instrument cluster.
But it's not the only minimalistic feature of the interior. Another less talked about interesting point is the lack of air vents – or at least visible air vents. A Tesla engineer giving out test rides during the unveiling of the Model 3 in March referred to the vehicle's HVAC as "a really unique ventilation system without traditional vents but only a single slot".
The Fremont City Council on Tuesday night approved Tesla Motors' plan for expansion that could potentially double the company's manufacturing site in the city's south end. Tesla's plan includes workups for a potential 4.6 million square feet of new structures for expanded operations to support, among other things, the rollout and production of the company's still-unreleased Model 3 car.
Tesla currently employs 6,210 workers at the factory, including more than 1,000 Fremont residents, according to the company. The city report says that at full buildout, the company could bring in more than 3,100 additional workers. In 2015, Tesla produced 50,580 vehicles at the plant. Production could increase to 500,000 new vehicles per year if all 11 potential buildings in the plan are constructed.
A new report coming out of Korea says Samsung Electronics has struck a deal with Tesla to supply chips for the company's autonomous driving technology. Unnamed sources, according to The Electronic Times, indicate that the Seoul-based electronics giant is looking to enter the growing market for self-driving and connected car technology. The newly formed partnership with Tesla will allow the company to strategically position itself within this growing segment.
An executive director familiar with the deal said, "This is a long-term project that requires about 3 years for design, production of prototype, and mass-production." adding, "Working with a leading company like Tesla will provide an opportunity to greatly increase capability of Samsung Electronics' automotive field."
Through their lobbying efforts since Donald Trump's election and the EPA's move to rush its new fuel consumption rules, automakers are sending a clear message that they don't want to mass produce electric vehicles – at least not on the timeline suggested by the agency.
Now several automaker lobbying groups representing nearly all major automakers (except Tesla Motors and a few French automakers) are now lobbying for the agency to delay finalizing the new rule until Trump takes over and replaces the head of the EPA.
The study found that the period of time known as "the handoff" — when the computer returns control of a car to a human driver — can be an especially risky period, especially if the speed of the vehicle has changed since the last time the person had direct control of the car. The amount of steering input required to accurately control a vehicle varies according to speed. Greater input is needed at slower speeds while less movement of the wheel is required at higher speeds.
Tesla Motors, Inc. has voluntarily recalled approximately 7,000 charging adapters after two cases of melted plastic around the NEMA 14-30 charging plug adapter were reported. No damage besides the melted plastic around the plug was reported in either case, according to a blog post made by Tesla.
The company writes, "In November 2016, we learned about two customers whose NEMA 14-30 charging adapters overheated. These are the only two such incidents that we know of anywhere in the world and neither resulted in any injuries or property damage. However, out of an abundance of caution, we're replacing NEMA 14-30, 10-30 and 6-50 adapters that were made years ago by our original supplier."
Replacements will be shipped beginning in the next few weeks, and Tesla advises customers to avoid using the specific adapter in the meantime. As noted, the recall does not involve the Tesla Wall Connector, Universal Mobile Connector (UMC), or popular NEMA 14-50 or 5-15 adapters that come standard with each Model S and Model X vehicle via the UMC kit.
What has changed from the heady days of 2008-2014, the solar lease golden years, is that the $65,000 solar system of 2008 now costs $28,000 – a much more reasonable and accessible number for a large number of people in the USA. The result of this is beginning to show in the financials at Tesla – according to the 2016 3rd Quarter report, "Revenue from solar energy systems under long-term loan arrangements increased by $9.2 million, or 101%, for the three months ended September 30, 2016" and "Sales of solar energy systems and components increased by $37.8 million, or 192%, for the three months ended September 30, 2016, as compared to the three months ended September 30, 2015."
So just maybe, the Florida market announcement might represent a significant step taken by Tesla that represents the next phase of the residential solar power industry: large scale market adoption directly by homeowners due to the increasingly strong financials of solar power. If this is the case, then we are in for a lot of installations.
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) is in talks with the Indian government to bring the technology to the country. HTT submitted a letter of intent to transport minister Nitin Gadkari about two weeks ago and is awaiting a response, Bibop Gresta, co-founder of HTT, told Indian media on Dec. 6. "I think India is a perfect country to implement this project because the roads are not that good here. The transportation is not capable to sustain a growth in a country like India," he said.
Once the Indian government signs the letter of intent, the company will need around eight months to conduct a feasibility study, according to Gresta. "Then after we get land permits, we can build a technically feasible Hyperloop in 38 months," he said.
OpenAI just unveiled a new virtual world. It's called Universe, and it's a virtual world like no other. This isn't a digital playground for humans. It's a school for artificial intelligence. It's a place where AI can learn to do just about anything.
Other AI labs have built similar worlds where AI agents can learn on their own. Researchers at the University of Alberta offer the Atari Learning Environment, where agents can learn to play old Atari games like Breakout and Space Invaders. Microsoft offers Malmo, based on the game Minecraft. And just today, Google's DeepMind released an environment called DeepMind Lab. But Universe is bigger than any of these. It's an AI training ground that spans any software running on any machine, from games to web browsers to protein folders.