30 giugno 2017

Elon Musk News - Issue 89

Elon Musk News - Issue 89

Note From The Curator
The top three stories in this issue of Elon Musk News Premium are:
  1. Tesla in Talks to Set Up Electric Car Factory in Shanghai
  2. Tesla replaces head of Autopilot with OpenAI's neural net researcher
  3. SpaceX Sets Up a 'Weekend Doubleheader' of Droneship Landings
In just over an hour SpaceX is scheduled to launch the first of two Falcon 9s this weekend. The second launch is scheduled for Sunday at 13:25 PT. If successful, this back to back launch will be SpaceX's shortest ever window between launches. I will have all the details in Tuesday's issue. You can also catch the action live as it happens at space.com/webcast.

This issue also has some big news on the Tesla front, as well as news from South Korea that they want a Hyperloop in 4 years, Elon Musk's ascension to Glassdoor's top 100 CEO list with a 98% approval rating, and much more!

Thanks so much for being part of this community and enjoy issue 89!

Featured Quote
"What makes innovative thinking happen?... I think it's really a mindset. You have to decide."
— Elon Musk

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Zach says: The BulgariaSat-1 launch is scheduled for just over an hour from now. You can watch the livestream at spacex.com/webcast.

SpaceX will attempt to launch and land two Falcon 9 rockets this weekend on either sides of America, setting up the the tightest launch schedule in the company's history and offering the public a chance to view two droneship landings in three days. On Friday, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch as early as 2:10 p.m. from from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on a mission to put a Bulgarian satellite into orbit. The first-stage booster of the above Falcon 9 will attempt to land upright on the deck of Of Course I Still Love You, about 8-10 minutes or so after launch.

On Sunday, another commercial satellite launch (technically 10 new satellites part of Iridium's NEXT communications network) will take off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in southern California, using a different Falcon 9. After sending off the sats, the rocket will attempt a landing on Just Read the Instructions, a different droneship in the Pacific. Sunday's Iridium satellite launch is scheduled for 1:25 p.m. Pacific.
SpaceX has static fired a Falcon 9 at the Vandenberg Air Force Base ahead of a mission to launch the next set of Iridium NEXT satellites. Confirmation of a good test came via SpaceX on its social media channels, based on the results of the "quick look" data. The SpaceX team will then head into the Launch Readiness Review (LRR) ahead of the Sunday launch attempt with the window opening at 13:25 pm local time. SpaceX has the ability to continue the flow towards launch, despite the schedule change with the BulgariSat-1 pre-launch flow, due to two separate launch teams for its two – currently active – launch sites.
"Optimus Prime" is a measure to more rapidly and safely secure first stages after landing aboard drone ships. The primary reason for this robot existing is to better ensure the safety of those working aboard active drone ships. Removing the requirement for people to be aboard a barge with an unsecured 50,000 kilogram rocket that has a tendency to explode violently after falling over.

It is currently unclear whether the robot is intended to be a precaution only used in high seas or a tool to be used for every autonomous spaceport drone ship recovery. But the fact that it was seen conducting tests aboard OCISLY just a day before SpaceX's static fire test for the upcoming launch of BulgariaSat-1 indicates that the upcoming launch may be the robot's first truly operational test. It is also possible that SpaceX may simply choose to recover the stage and bring it back to port before conducting tests with the robot and an actual Falcon 9 S1 aboard OCISLY, with this latter option forcing less reliance upon a currently unproven (but nevertheless rather simple) technology.
Tesla is in discussions to establish a factory in Shanghai, its first in China, a move that could bolster its efforts in one of its major markets even as it further lifts China's position as a builder of electric cars. In a statement on Thursday, Tesla said it needed to set up more overseas factories to make cars that customers could afford. Such a strategy is a must in China, which charges steep tariffs for imported cars.

"To better serve the Chinese market, Tesla is in the process of discussing about the possibility of setting up a factory locally with the Shanghai government," a spokeswoman, Duan Zhengzheng, said in a statement. "Per our previous negotiations, by the end of this year, we will have a much clearer plan for our localization. Tesla has always been devoted to cultivating the Chinese market."
Tesla has replaced its Vice President of Autopilot Software Chris Lattner with Andrej Karpathy who will serve as the company's new Director of AI and Autopilot Vision. Lattner, a former 11-year Apple veteran who joined Tesla less than six months ago has departed the company, citing that the role was not a good fit him. "Turns out that Tesla isn't a good fit for me after all. I'm interested to hear about interesting roles for a seasoned engineering leader!" says Lattner through his Twitter account. A Tesla spokesperson echoed the sentiment, telling Teslarati that "Chris just wasn't the right fit for Tesla, and we've decided to make a change."

Karpathy, who prior to joining Tesla worked at Google's DeepMind and was a respected research scientist at Musk's artificial intelligence OpenAI nonprofit, has extensive experience training neural networks and working with deep learning AI. "I like to train Deep Neural Nets on large datasets." reads Karpathy's Twitter profile. In his new role as Tesla Director of AI and Autopilot Vision, Karpathy will report directly Elon Musk, and work closely with chip expert and Vice President of Autopilot Hardware Jim Keller on advancing Tesla's self-driving technology.
Steven Peeters had a dream for his Tesla Model S P100D, to break the world record for longest trip in an electric vehicle on a single charge. "My first line of thinking was 'this is going to be a piece of cake', because we have a big battery. But when doing a few test runs, it turns out to be a lot harder to get the power consumption so low you can actually drive these vast distances." Peeters said.

The two discovered that 40 kph was the ideal speed to take on this challenge. They also decked out their Tesla with a sign saying "TEST" since they were driving slowly for most of the journey. After 23 hours and 45 minutes of nonstop driving, the men arrived to their charger, making it 559.98 mi (901.2 km) on a single charge, breaking both world records and zooming past the 900 km mark. "We had fun along the entire way, but it is a very long drive," Peeters said.
Music industry sources say the carmaker has had talks with all of the major labels about licensing a proprietary music service that would come bundled with its cars, which already come equipped with a high-tech dashboard and internet connectivity. Label sources aren't clear about the full scope of Tesla's ambitions, but believe it is interested in offering multiple tiers of service, starting with a Pandora-like web radio offering.

The bigger question: Why doesn't Tesla simply integrate existing services, like Spotify or Apple Music, into all of its cars from the start — especially since Tesla already does a deal with Spotify for Teslas sold outside the U.S.? "We believe it's important to have an exceptional in-car experience so our customers can listen to the music they want from whatever source they choose," a Tesla spokesperson said. "Our goal is to simply achieve maximum happiness for our customers."
Zach says: These are some of the best photos of the Model 3 I've seen. I highly recommend checking them out!

Photos come from multiple posts on reddit by You You Xue who spotted the Model 3 at the San Mateo supercharger and got several high quality photos. Xue said he spoke to the employee who was driving the car, and that the employee stated that the car is pretty much the final design before the first delivery (not a direct quote from the employee, but Xue's summary of the conversation).

One thing to note is that the cockpit and steering wheel looks the same as it did in the other recent batch of photos we saw of them, so if this is pretty much the final design, then it's likely that we'll end up with a rather conventional steering wheel design on the finalized vehicle. It's still possible that it might change, but looking less likely as we get closer and closer to release.
Tesla has confirmed that it started production of the new Model 3 battery cell at Gigafactory 1 in Nevada over the weekend – an important step toward launching the production of the Model 3. Tesla said that it aimed to start the production of those vehicle cells during the second quarter and Tesla's co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, JB Straubel, confirmed this weekend that the production of the cells has started at Gigafactory 1.

Tesla has designed a new battery module and pack architecture to use the 2170 battery cells in the Model 3. The cells are manufactured by Panasonic, while Tesla is in charge of manufacturing the modules and overall battery packs. Everything is done under one roof at Tesla's Gigafactory 1 in Nevada.
Elon Musk confirmed Monday that Tesla has no plans to use its new 2170 lithium ion cell in the Model S and X. The news flies in the face of past assumptions that Tesla would convert all of its vehicles to the new cells being produced at Gigafactory 1 in Nevada.

Why maintain two battery standards? With the production lines for Model S and X well established at the Fremont factory and the factory already bursting at the seams just to accommodate Model 3 production, it is likely that Tesla is simply out of space at the Fremont factory. Reworking the factory to accommodate a different battery specification would add value in the long term in supply chain simplification, but is likely too much headache for too little return for the time being.
Tesla has scored a victory in Arizona after a judge ruled that an existing law believed to prohibit auto manufacturers from selling direct to customers did not apply to Tesla. Tesla pursued and obtained an automotive dealer license – a standard license traditional automotive dealerships are required to hold in order to sell vehicles – from the Arizona Department of Transportation following the ruling.

Tesla previously believed that a supporting law prohibited direct sales to customers even with the dealer license so the clarification from the judge that direct sales would be allowed with a run of the mill automotive dealer license came as quite a relief. The victory came after multiple failed attempts by Tesla to change state law to allow direct sales through the legislative process.
A new North Carolina bill has the potential to turn Tesla's luck around in the state, allowing it to operate its own dealerships. North Carolina House Bill 617 was originally written in April to provide guidelines for temporary automotive sales permits for antique and specialty vehicles, but was reintroduced on Wednesday with a broader scope. The new writing of the bill largely does away with the antique vehicle scope and instead provides guidance for manufacturer-owned dealerships as long as they sell only electric vehicles or have no other traditional dealer franchises.

Tesla is not explicitly stated in the bill but the writing makes it clear that it was written with an intent to allow Tesla to sell its vehicles directly to consumers in North Carolina. The bill has not been voted on yet but is expected to be put up for a vote in the coming days.
The Boring Company
Elon Musk's Boring Company looks like it has a potential client: the city of Los Angeles. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti on Sunday said "Like many other cities have, I'd love to see maybe even with the new tunneling technology that people like Elon Musk is looking at, whether we could have a quick and direct route from LAX to Union Station."

It didn't take long for Musk to catch wind of the clip and clearly he's into the idea. He tweeted "Promising conversations with @MayorOfLA regarding tunnel network that would carry cars, bikes & pedestrians. Permits harder than technology."
South Korea's bullet trains whisk people from Seoul to the city of Busan, 200 miles to the southeast, in a bit less than three hours. Apparently that isn't fast enough, because the government wants to build a hyperloop that will make the trip in just 30 minutes. The government caught hyperloop fever in January, when it asked Hanyang University for help figuring out how to make Elon Musk's vision of vacuum tube transportation work.

In a deal announced today, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies will contribute some of the know-how needed to successfully fling people through tubes at near-supersonic speed. "We are ready to build," says CEO Dirk Ahlborn. "The biggest showstopper is regulation." Clearing that hurdle shouldn't be much trouble for the government of South Korea, which wants this thing up and running in four years.
Musk's employees at SpaceX just propelled him to a new accolade, 8th place in Glassdoor's Top 100 CEOs list. The ranking is decided by anonymous entries from employees. Musk came in with a 98% approval rating among his employees, shattering the average CEO rating of 67%.

Musk's ranking comes solely from SpaceX, as his Tesla and Neuralink did not meet all the requirements to be considered for the list. "I'd say focus on signal over noise," he told Glassdoor. "Don't waste time on stuff that doesn't actually make things better." Musk's approval rating indicates that there are good things in store for SpaceX, which also ranked as Glassdoor's 40th best place to work this year.

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