Monday 6th April 2015
Tesla Cars Will Start Self Driving This Summer
All Teslas will get an over-the-air update this summer, probably around June, allowing them to drive in “Autopilot” mode.
Musk did confirm that the Autopilot mode would be “technically capable of driving from parking lot to parking lot.” The car will also be allowed to drive itself when you summon it, and when you’re parking it in your garage.
It seems Autopilot will be disabled when you’re not doing freeway driving, which is by far the easiest aspect of autonomous vehicle activity.
Just to be clear, we’re not talking about some far-off future Tesla. We’re not talking about Google driverless car prototypes or government road tests. This is a car you can buy today, which will be given the ability to drive itself in a few months via the same setup that updates your iPhone. Automated automobiles, automatically activated – Chris Taylor
Monday 25th May 2015
Apple and Uber are developing their own self-driving cars.
Tesla intends to release a software update next month that will turn on “autopilot” mode, immediately allowing all Tesla Model S drivers to be driven between“San Francisco and Seattle without the driver doing anything”, in Elon Musk’s own words.
Tesla-driven humans won’t be able to legally let their cars do all the driving, but who are we kidding? There will be Teslas driving themselves, saving lives in the process, and governments will need to catch up to make that driving legal.
This process is already here in 2015. So when will the process end? When will self-driving cars conquer our roads?
According to Morgan Stanley, complete autonomous capability will be here by 2022, followed by massive market penetration by 2026 and the cars we know and love today then entirely extinct in another 20 years thereafter – Scott Santens
Wednesday 28th October 2015
Tesla Autopilot 7.0 Unleashes Self-Driving Capabilities on Model S
Tesla’s use of an over-the-air update to create self-driving cars is one of the most important things ever to happen in technology.
Think of the foresight required. Hardware sensors had to be built years in advance to accommodate the future software. Think of the boldness. Establish facts on the ground – everywhere. Ship the future so fast they can’t ban it. The Network outruns the State.
There will be rearguard actions. Some states may try to ban it. Cross a border, car turns dumb. The future: now a geographical patchwork.
But on balance, Tesla has set a new precedent for permissionless innovation. And it can be applied to many other verticals outside cars. – Balaji S. Srinivasan
Regulators will not allow full autonomy for one to two years – maybe one to three years – after that. It depends on the particular market; in some markets the regulators will be more forward leaning than others. But in terms of when [full autonomy] will be technologically possible, I think three years.” – Elon Musk
I never thought I’d see autonomous automobiles driving on the freeways.
It wasn’t many years ago [they] put out a request to see who could build a car that could go across the Mojave Desert to Las Vegas from a place in Southern California, and several engineering teams across the country set out to do this. Nobody got more than about 300 yards before there was a problem.
Two years later, they made the full 25-mile trip across this desert track, which I thought was a huge achievement, and from that it was just a blink before they were driving on the freeways.” – Gordon Moore
Wednesday 28th October 2015
A Few Amazing Things We Have Today, That Back to the Future Missed
- Rapid, cheap whole genome sequencing and editing: We now have the ability to sequence a full human genome for under $1,000. The technology is developing at 3x the rate of Moore’s Law. We now have the ability to cheaply and precisely edit the genome with CRISPR/CAS 9. This will open up a new frontier of health and longevity that will have enormous implications on the future.
- 3D Printing: You can 3D print just about anything these days from 300 different materials — plastics, metals, concrete, chocolates, human cells. Complexity is free and scalability is inherent.
- Emergence of AI: We are in the early days of artificial intelligence. Tens of billions in capital are being poured into an AI “arms race” over the last decade. One fun recent example is Tesla’s “autopilot” software upgrade that just came out — their AI can drive you autonomously on the highway.
- On-Demand Economy: Amazon is working on same-day delivery mechanisms (possibly using drones). Uber has become ubiquitous as the simplest, most reliable way to get around.
- GPS: We really take for granted how good the GPS units in our phones really are. They receive up-to-the-second traffic data, route us to the shortest path, and even give us “street view” or satellite imagery to investigate what a place looks like before we get there.
- Private Spaceflight and Hyperloop: While Back to the Future flaunted flying DeLoreans, I’m proud of where we are with private spaceflight and the start of Hyperloop.
Saturday 21st November 2015
Tesla Autopilot Prevents a 45mph Head-On Collision – Seth Weintraub
“Was travelling a little under 45 mph. There was some rain, but roads were pretty dry. I was watching stopped traffic to my right.
I did not touch the brake. Car did all the work. Sadly no audio, because I had an Uber passenger and Washington has strict privacy laws about recording conversations.”
Saturday 21st November 2015
Tesla Self Drives Coast to Coast
Two new EV world records! – Carl Reese
Congrats on driving a Tesla from LA to NY in just over two days! – Elon Musk
The Model S crossed the country in record time for an electric vehicle—and drove itself nearly the entire way (from the Portofino Hotel in Redondo Beach California to East 31st Street in Manhattan).
Carl Reese, Deena Mastracci, and Alex Roy made the coast-to-coast drive in 57 hours and 48 minutes, a time that is still to be verified by an independent third party.
They had autopilot mode engaged 96 percent of the time, Reese says, using it at speeds around 90 mph. It eased the burden on the team, a big deal when you’re in a car for 57 hours straight.
It highlights how quickly and enthusiastically autonomous technology is likely to be adopted. – Alex Davies
Tuesday 29th December 2015
The First Person to Hack the iPhone Built a Self-Driving Car… in His Garage.
This is a fantastic story on many levels.
From the self-motivated hacking to the visionary tech to the unwillingness to conform to corp interests to the “Bitcoin preferred here”
Lesson from tech history seems to be that no matter how astonishing a company may seem just wait til you see the guys working out of their garage. – Michael Goldstein
George Hotz is taking on Google and Tesla by himself.
George Hotz, the first person to hack the iPhone, says he built a self-driving car in a month. How did he do it? Bloomberg’s Ashlee Vance went to Hotz’s home to find out…
Tuesday 29th March 2016
Self-Driving Car Startup Fights to Beat Tesla and Google
We want to ship a product by the end of the year that people will be able to install in their own cars and it will give them more self-driving capability than the Tesla today. – George Hotz
George Hotz’s pitch is that he can build self-driving car algorithms faster and better than any carmaker or even Google.
“Google is going to ship by the end of 2020? We’re actually making this stuff work,” said Hotz, who’s wearing jeans and a black hoodie with a large white comma on the front for his new company, Comma.ai.
Since he revealed his ambitions in a Bloomberg Businessweek article published last December, Hotz has attracted plenty of attention. The CEOs of Delphi, a major auto parts supplier, and Nvidia, maker of graphics processing units, have paid visits to his basement office at the “Crypto Castle,” a three-story house located in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill neighborhood and occupied by some of the city’s Bitcoin entrepreneurs.
He’s generated enough excitement to score an unannounced seed investment from venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz that values Hotz’s tiny, fledgling company at $20 million, according to sources.
Hotz began Comma last October and he’s well past the lone-hacker-in-the-basement stage. Yunus Saatchi, who has a PhD from the University of Cambridge in artificial intelligence, has joined as chief machine learning officer. Saatchi was a colleague of Hotz’s at Vicarious, a San Francisco-based AI startup with $72 million in financing from investors like Musk and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.
Jake Smith, a roommate of Hotz’s in the Crypto Castle who is involved in the Bitcoin community, is head of operations. And Elizabeth Stark, another prominent fixture in the Bitcoin startup world, is Comma’s legal advisor. (They’re all wearing Comma.ai shirts when I meet them.) Hotz plans to hire around eight people total in the coming three months. He’s looking for people in machine learning and consumer hardware.
Hotz is also starting work on what will become the company’s first product — a self-driving kit that car owners will be able to purchase directly from Comma to equip their vehicles with autonomous driving capabilities. He hasn’t come close to working out the details of what this product will ultimately look like, but he said it might be a dash cam that plugs into the on-board diagnostics 2 port, which gives access to the car’s internal systems and is found in most cars made after 1996. It will provide cars with ADAS features, like lane-keeping assistance and emergency breaking.
“We believe our killer app is traffic,” Hotz said. “Humans are bad at traffic. We can make something that drives super-humanly smooth through traffic.”
Hotz said he won’t be able to turn every car into a semi-autonomous vehicle. At a minimum, the car will have to have anti-locking brakes and power steering. He’s hoping Comma’s product will work most with the five top-selling cars in the United States. – Aaron Tilley
Sunday 24th April 2016
George Hotz Scores $3.1m Investment for Self-Driving Car Startup Comma.ai
Comma hopes to sell road-worthy consumers car-automation ‘conversion kits’ for less than $1,000
Comma, has received $3.1m from well-known investment firm Andreessen Horowitz to make conversion kits that turn normal cars into semi-self-driving cars. Hotz plans to start selling these by the end of the year for Honda, Acura and potentially other brands.
For many consumers, automated vehicles still feel like science fiction and the province of giant research labs at Google, Uber and General Motors (GM). But there’s increasing evidence that many drivers’ first interaction with a self-driving vehicle will be one engineered by a small startup. Some of these companies are making automated public shuttles, or exploring ways to make existing cars autonomous in certain circumstances.
“We are going to win self-driving cars,” Hotz said in a recent interview. “The bar is low.”
That might seem like bold talk from a twentysomething who quit his day job at an artificial intelligence company last summer. But Hotz isn’t shy of attention. He recently challenged Tesla founder Elon Musk to a race to build the first vehicle that can navigate San Francisco’s tourist-packed Golden Gate Bridge on its own.
“I think we can maybe build better self-driving cars,” Hotz says. “He can build a better rocket.”
George Hotz’s Elon Musk dartboard (Photo credit: Chad McClymonds)
When asked what he would do with his new venture funds, Hotz said he would focus on hiring the best machine-learning programmers he could find. “Who I really want to hire is 20 more copies of me,” he says.
In December, Hotz made a name for himself when he showed Bloomberg Businessweek how he made an Acura drive itself down the highway. Hotz had hacked the car’s onboard computer. He then added a camera and a radar. Suddenly, the vehicle was cruising down Bay Area freeways as Hotz sat in the driver seat, his hands not on the steering wheel.
By the end of the year, Comma wants to sell consumers car-automation conversion kits for less than $1,000. Hotz is tight-lipped about what those will involve, but they will at least require some sort of alterations to a car’s onboard computer and hardware for the car to determine what’s going on around it.
Car automation has become increasingly democratized as much of the hardware behind the technology has fallen in price and the machine-learning techniques have been open-sourced. – Danny Yadron
Monday 23rd May 2016
- The AI revolution is the most profound transformation human civilization will experience in all of history. – Ray Kurzweil
Rise of the Robots is Sparking an Investment Boom
- Global influx of machines set to open one of the hottest new markets in tech
An army of robots is on the move.
In warehouses, hospitals and retail stores, and on city streets, industrial parks and the footpaths of college campuses, the first representatives of this new invading force are starting to become apparent.
“The robots are among us,” says Steve Jurvetson, a Silicon Valley investor and a director at Elon Musk’s Tesla and SpaceX companies, which have relied heavily on robotics.
A multitude of machines will follow, he says: “A lot of people are going to come in contact with robots in the next two to five years.”
The machines are starting to roll or walk out of the labs. In the process, they are about to tip off a financing boom as robotics — and artificial intelligence — becomes one of the hottest new markets in tech.
A boom is taking place in Asia, with Japan and China, which is in the early stages of retooling its manufacturing sector, accounting for 69 per cent of all robot spending.
“There is an exponential pace of improvement in hardware and machine learning algorithms,” says co-founder of Dispatch, a Silicon Valley company that is testing an autonomous delivery vehicle, Uriah Baalke. The result is a new class of machines that can operate by themselves in human space.
The technology advances behind this wave of innovation have come together remarkably quickly. Funding over the past five years by Darpa, the research arm of the US defence department, has brought breakthroughs in mechanical areas such as robotic limbs, says SRI International’s Mr Kothari.
But the biggest advances have come in software. Improvements in computer vision, for instance, have made possible many companies like Dispatch, whose machines rely on being able to “see” the world around them, says Chris Dixon, a partner at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.
Machine learning algorithms, which are designed to adapt through an endless process of trial and error, play the biggest part in teaching robots how to navigate a world beyond the normal rules-based systems that computers are designed to handle.
“You won’t have to programmatically tell it what to do; it will figure it out,” says Vinod Khosla, a venture capitalist who has backed robot companies in markets including agriculture and healthcare. “Today, it’s really dumb intelligence — but that will change quickly.” – Richard Waters
Saturday 18th June 2016
Elon Musk: We Are Less Than Two Years From Complete Car Autonomy
The Tesla CEO spoke at the Code Conference and predicted that we’re closer to self-driving cars than anybody thinks.
“I think we are less than two years away from complete autonomy, safer than humans, but regulations should take at least another year,” Musk said.
While many auto and tech companies–from Google to Uber and GM to Lyft and Apple to Ford–are researching and testing autonomous vehicles, Tesla seems on the verge of announcing that its Model 3 consumer sedan will have full self-driving capabilities.
Musk did not confirm that feature, but when asked multiple times on stage, he replied that there would be another Tesla event later in the year in which he would have more details.
The only thing he would say is that Tesla would do “the obvious thing”–seemingly a reference to a prior comment he made about autonomous driving being a must have feature for future vehicles. – Brian Soloman
Monday 8th August 2016
Elon Musk Unveils Part 2 of His “Master Plan” for Tesla.
The first master plan that I wrote 10 years ago is now in the final stages of completion. It wasn’t all that complicated and basically consisted of:
- Create a low volume car, which would necessarily be expensive
- Use that money to develop a medium volume car at a lower price
- Provide solar power. No kidding, this has literally been on our website for 10 years.
In short, Master Plan, Part Deux is:
1 – Create stunning solar roofs with seamlessly integrated battery storage
Create a smoothly integrated and beautiful solar-roof-with-battery product that just works, empowering the individual as their own utility, and then scale that throughout the world. One ordering experience, one installation, one service contact, one phone app.
We can’t do this well if Tesla and SolarCity are different companies, which is why we need to combine and break down the barriers inherent to being separate companies. That they are separate at all, despite similar origins and pursuit of the same overarching goal of sustainable energy, is largely an accident of history.
Now that Tesla is ready to scale Powerwall and SolarCity is ready to provide highly differentiated solar, the time has come to bring them together.
2 – Expand the electric vehicle product line to address all major segments
Today, Tesla addresses two relatively small segments of premium sedans and SUVs. With the Model 3, a future compact SUV and a new kind of pickup truck, we plan to address most of the consumer market.
In addition to consumer vehicles, there are two other types of electric vehicle needed: heavy-duty trucks and high passenger-density urban transport. Both are in the early stages of development at Tesla and should be ready for unveiling next year.
3 – Develop a self-driving capability that is 10X safer than manual via massive fleet learning
Tesla is deploying partial autonomy now rather than waiting until some point in the future.
The most important reason is that, when used correctly, it is already significantly safer than a person driving by themselves and it would therefore be morally reprehensible to delay release simply for fear of bad press or some mercantile calculation of legal liability.
It is important to explain why we refer to Autopilot as “beta”. This is not beta software in any normal sense of the word. Every release goes through extensive internal validation before it reaches any customers. It is called beta in order to decrease complacency and indicate that it will continue to improve (Autopilot is always off by default).
Once we get to the point where Autopilot is approximately 10 times safer than the US vehicle average, the beta label will be removed.
4 – Enable your car to make money for you when you aren’t using it
When true self-driving is approved by regulators, it will mean that you will be able to summon your Tesla from pretty much anywhere. Once it picks you up, you will be able to sleep, read or do anything else enroute to your destination.
You will also be able to add your car to the Tesla shared fleet just by tapping a button on the Tesla phone app and have it generate income for you while you’re at work or on vacation.
Wednesday 30th November 2016
Building an AI Portfolio
The following stocks offer exposure to Artificial Intelligence. – Lee Banfield
Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL)
Stock Price: $776
Market Cap: $531 billion
Healthcare Images – Google Deepmind
Machine Learning – GoogleML
Autonomous Systems – Google Self-driving Car
Hardware – GoogleTPU
Open Source Library – TensorFlow
IBM (NYSE: IBM)
Stock Price: $162
Market Cap: $154 billion
Enterprise Intelligence – IBM Watson
Healthcare – IBM Watson Health
Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN)
Stock Price: $752
Market Cap: $355 billion
Personal Assistant – Amazon Alexa
Open Source Library – DSSTNE
Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT)
Stock Price: $60
Market Cap: $473 billion
Personal Assistant – Cortana
Open Source Libraries – CNTK, AzureML, DMTK
Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA)
Stock Price: $94
Market Cap: $50 billion
Stock Price: $1,250
Market Cap: $176 billion
Personal Assistant – Viv
Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM)
Stock Price: $68
Market Cap: $100 billion
Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA)
Stock Price: $188
Market Cap: $29 billion
Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN)
Stock Price: $133
Market Cap: $20 billion
Healthcare, Cancer Detection – Grail
Mobileye (NYSE: MBLY)
Stock Price: $37
Market Cap: $8 billion
Wednesday 14th December 2016
Full Self-Driving Hardware Becoming Available on All Tesla Cars
This is huge news. It was just a few years ago that the sensors/cameras used on the Google cars were over $100,000 to achieve level 3 autonomy.
To have the hardware component installed on all Tesla cars (including the $35k Model 3) moving forward happened years ahead of when I feel most of us that follow autonomous vehicle tech would have imagined. From a tech perspective, this is mind-blowing news. – Nathan Wright
Musk announced that all Tesla cars being produced as of today, including the Model 3, will have everything they need onboard to achieve full Level 5 self-driving in the future.
The biggest change might be the new onboard computer that provides over 40 times the processing power of the existing Tesla hardware, which actually runs the in-house neural net the car maker has developed in order to handle processing of data inbound from the vision, sonar and radar systems.
Musk said on call discussing the most recent update to the existing driver assistance Autopilot software that it basically stretched computing power to the limit, which is why the upgraded CPU is required for full Level 5 autonomy. The new GPU is the Nvidia Titan, Musk said on the call, though it was a “tight call” between Nvidia and AMD.
The validation required for full autonomy will still take some more time, but Musk said on a call that it’s actually already looking like it’ll be at least two times as safe as human driving based on existing testing. – Darrell Etherington
Wednesday 14th December 2016
George Hotz Open Sources the Code Behind His Self-Driving Car Project
- I think Telsa’s plan for attacking the whole problem is brilliant and going to succeed. If Telsa is the iOS, we want to be the Android. We’ll be the ones getting the 80%, we’ll be a little bit worse for a bit, but that’s kind of the plan. – George Hotz
Hotz’s Comma.ai is releasing the company’s self-driving software, as well as the plans for the necessary hardware, which Hotz calls Comma Neo. All of this code will be available for free — in fact, it is already on Github.
Hotz framed the self-driving software, called Open Pilot, as an “open source alternative to [Tesla’s] Autopilot” during a press event that was held in a San Francisco house that serves as Comma.ai’s headquarters.
He claimed that the Open Pilot and Comma Neo combination “provides almost all the same functionality as Autopilot 7,” which is the second-most-recent version of Tesla’s self-driving software.
Hotz said that Comma.ai decided to go open source in an effort to sidestep NHTSA as well as the California DMV, the latter of which he said showed up to his house on three separate occasions. “NHTSA only regulates physical products that are sold,” Hotz said. “They do not regulate open source software, which is a whole lot more like speech.”
He went on to say that “if the US government doesn’t like this [project], I’m sure there are plenty of countries that will.”
Hotz compared Open Pilot to Android, and said that it’s really aimed at “hobbyists and researchers and people who love” self-driving technology. “It’s for people who want to push the future forward”. – Sean O’Kane and Lauren Goode