Tag: Tesla

Musk wants electronic telepathy in four years

Tesla boss Elon Musk claims his latest company Neuralink is working to link the human brain with a machine interface by creating micron-sized devices.

Neuralink is aiming to bring to the market a product that helps with certain severe brain injuries due to strokes, cancer lesion etc, in about four years,.

Musk said that communicating a concept is engaging in consensual telepathy. Artificial intelligence and machine learning will create computers so sophisticated and godlike that humans will need to implant “neural laces” in their brains to keep up.

“There are a bunch of concepts in your head that then your brain has to try to compress into this incredibly low data rate called speech or typing. If you have two brain interfaces, you could actually do an uncompressed direct conceptual communication with another person.”

He said that the technology could take about eight to 10 years to become usable by people with no disability, which would depend heavily on regulatory approval timing and how well the devices work on people with disabilities, Musk was quoted as saying.

Tesla settles autopilot lawsuit

Tesla has settled the lawsuit against its former director of Autopilot Programs, Sterling Anderson, for stealing proprietary information about the Autopilot programme and recruiting fellow Tesla engineers to work with him at Aurora Innovation.

The lawsuit was settled with Tesla withdrawing its allegations without damages and Aurora agreeing to make itself available for an audit by a third party to make sure it doen’t have proprietary information from Tesla’s Autopilot program.

Aurora also agreed to cover the cost of the audit for up to $100,000. The startup claims that it had already ordered its own audit, which found no material Tesla confidential information.

As for the allegations of poaching employees, Aurora has agreed not to reach out to Tesla employees for a year and to release the names of former Tesla employees who have joined the startup already.

It seems rather odd that Tesla appears to be backing down having made such a bit noise against the outfit. It does appear as if the whole legal project went off half cocked from the outset.  The tech press did a quite shufty at all the Aurora employees on LinkedIn and it is  clear that Tesla has nothing to moan about.

A handful of Autopilot engineers joined Aurora while almost a dozen former Uber engineers working on self-driving have joined the startup, including Drew Bagnell, a Carnegie Mellon University who was part of Uber’s autonomous driving leadership until last December.


Silicon Valley gears up to fight Trump

Donald-Trump-funnySilicon Valley is leading the corporate resistance to President Donald (Prince of Orange)Trump’s clampdown on immigration.

Apparently Big Tech is spending a fortune on financing legal opposition, criticising the plan, as well as helping employees ensnared by his executive order.

It had long been expected that Silicon Valley would fight back against Trump. The industry has depended on immigrants and championed liberal causes such as gay rights.

At the moment, it looks like they are still in the organisation stage. Over the weekend, as Trump tried to shut out immigrants from countries which he does not do business with, most in the tech industry stopped short of directly criticising the new Republican president.

Apple, Google and Microsoft offered legal aid to employees affected by the order. Several Silicon Valley executives donated to legal efforts to support immigrants facing the ban.

Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk and Uber head Travis Kalanick both said on Twitter that they would take industry concerns about immigration to Trump’s business advisory council, where they serve.

Kalanick has faced opposition on social media for agreeing to be part of the advisory group. Kalanick in a Facebook post on Sunday called the immigration ban “wrong and unjust” and said that Uber would create a $3 million fund to help drivers with immigration issues.

Khash Sajadi, the British-Iranian chief executive of San Francisco-based tech company Cloud 66, was stuck in London because of the ban.

Sajadi is hoping that bigger tech companies like Google and Facebook would take legal action to protect affected employees. That could help set a precedent for people in similar situations.

He warned that it is going to take legal action as people speaking up is not going to be enough.

The tech industry also has other matters where it may find itself opposed to Trump, including trade policy and cyber security.

Over the weekend startup incubator Y Combinator president, Sam Altman, wrote a widely read blog post urging tech leaders to band together against the immigration order. He said he has spoken with a variety of people about organising but remains unsure about the best course of action.

“The honest answer is we don’t know yet. We are talking with legal groups and tech groups, but this is so unprecedented that I don’t think anyone has a manual.”

At Lyft, co-founders John Zimmer and Logan Green pledged on the company’s blog to donate a million dollars over the next four years to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which won a temporary stay of part of Trump’s executive order on Saturday night.

Dave McClure, the founding partner of 500 Startups and an outspoken critic of Trump, said his venture capital firm will soon open its first fund in the Middle East and will shift its attention to supporting entrepreneurs in their native countries, if bringing them to the United States proves impossible.

Ironically this will help countries identified by Trump as “enemies” develop their technology base.


Trump and Silicon Valley try to bury the hatchet

Donald-Trump-funnyDonald “Prince of Orange” Trump met with Silicon Valley’s top executives attempted to bury the hatchet and to smoke a peace pipe.

The meeting, in Trump Towers, focused chiefly on economic problems, including job creation, lowering taxes and trade dynamics with China, while largely avoiding the many disagreements the tech industry has with Trump on matters ranging from immigration to digital privacy.

For some reason, three of Trump’s kids sat in on the meeting. We guess it is because they know a little more than their dad about tech. Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka, sat at the head of a large rectangular table as the meeting began in a conference room on the 25th floor of Trump Tower.

Of course there is a small problem of conflict of interest because Trump’s kids are going to be running his business while he is being president.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence was also there as was  Apple’s Tim Cook, Facebook’sSheryl Sandberg and Tesla Motors’ Elon Musk, Alphabet Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, and IBM’s Ginni Rometty. Missing was Twitter, which Trump claimed was too small to be at the table and it had nothing to do with the personal spat that Trump was having with Twitter.

Cook and Musk joined Trump for separate meetings after the other technology executives leave, according to a spokesman for Trump’s transition team.

Bezos said in a statement the meeting was “very productive” and that he “shared the view that the administration should make innovation one of its key pillars, which would create a huge number of jobs across the whole country, in all sectors, not just tech – agriculture, infrastructure, manufacturing -everywhere.”

Silicon Valley got on well with  President Barack Obama and heavily supported Democrat Hillary Clinton during the presidential campaign.

Trump bashed the industry during the election campaign. He urged his supporters to boycott Apple products over the company’s refusal to help the FBI unlock an iPhone associated with last year’s San Bernardino, California, shootings, threatened antitrust action against Amazon and demanded that tech companies build their products in the United States.

Trump has also been an opponent of the Obama administration’s “net neutrality” rules barring internet service providers from obstructing or slowing consumer access to web content. Two advisers to his Federal Communications Commission transition team are opponents of the rules, as are the two Republicans on the FCC.


Norwegians sue Tesla for not being Viking enough

vikingTelsa’s Norwegian customers are unhappy with the US electric-car manufacturer, saying their models marketed with an “insane mode” of acceleration needed a lot more Viking.

Some 126 owners of the Tesla Model S sedan’s P85D performance version are seeking unspecified reimbursements after the model only reached 469 horsepower instead of a pledged 700 hp.

Kaspar Thommessen, an attorney at Wikborg Rein law firm representing the plaintiffs said that the car has too low horsepower and it affects the car’s performance, according to the consumers.

Tesla spokesman Even Sandvold Roland, said that is rubbish and it meets requirements “according to the measurement method required by the authorities.”

Norway is one of the biggest markets for the Model S, mostly because the state subsidises electric-car purchases. Still it is not cheap. Tesla flogs its P90D $96,700. It is an earlier model which had the so called “insane mode” acceleration option after it came out two years ago.

Norway’s Consumer Disputes Commission ruled in June that five P85D buyers who complained of inadequate acceleration should be reimbursed as much as 50,000 kroner apiece.

Sandvold Roland said Tesla’s own tests and independent checks showed the P85D can accelerate from 0 to 100 kilometers (60 miles) per hour in 3.1 to 3.3 seconds. That indicates the performance figures “have always been accurate,”


Katz are on a legal hot tin roof

elon-musk-tesla-109Car maker Tesla is suing an oil executive claiming he tried to impersonate Elon Musk to dig up confidential financial information from the company.

The lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of Santa Clara County, claimed that the chief financial officer for Quest Integrity Group, Todd Katz, emailed Tesla’s chief financial officer using a similar email address to  Musk’s.

Telsa claims he was looking to gain information that wasn’t disclosed in an earnings call with investors.

Quest Integrity Group has ties to BP, Chevron, and ExxonMobil.

Katz apparently used “elontesla@yahoo.com” to send an email to Tesla CFO Jason Wheeler asking about the company’s sales and financial projections.

Tesla’s brief John Hueston said that the point of this action is that this was perceived as an effort to gain inside information, non-public information.

“Although it was caught here, Tesla is worried about this happening in some other form. This could have resulted in highly valuable information being improperly disclosed,” he said.

However one of the key parts of the story is that whoever sent the email actually thought that no one would notice Tesla using a yahoo account.


Woz abandons Tesla for Chevy

Wozniak_photoApple founder, and all round good bloke, Steve Woz has hinted that he is abandoning his Tesla for the new Chevy Bolt.

Woz posted a picture of himself, smiling, next to a new, white Chevy Bolt. General Motors gave Woz the fully electric sedan for an extended test drive. He liked it.

“I expect to be switching cars soon!” Woz wrote in a photo caption.

The Bolt is due for release late this year. The four-door hatchback has an advertised range of 200 miles per charge, with a sticker price around $37,500. The EV will compete head-to-head with the Tesla Model 3.

The Tesla entry-level sedan, expect to start at $35,000, will be released late next year. Analysts expect full production to gear up in 2018. But that hasn’t stopped about 370,000 fans from placing $1,000 deposits for the EV.

The move will see Tesla’s making a big step from luxury vehicles to a broader market. But it looks like GM will have at least a year’s head start on the Model 3.

Woz’s approval for GM might indicate that there will be some major competition in the EV sedan market.

After seeing the interior and user interface, Woz wrote, “Tesla will have a difficult time selling me a Model 3. A lot of things wrong with the Tesla model S are done correctly (my opinion) in this car. But it’s still missing a place to put your sunglasses.”

The experience left the Los Gatos resident impressed with the design and function. “I was surprised and blown away. I had passed on the Volt when it came out but this one hits my sweet spot,” Woz said.

Germany wants robot cars to have a black box

black-box-rev-1000x667Germany is thinking about new laws to require car manufacturers equipped with an autopilot function to install a black box to help determine responsibility in the event of an accident.

The move follows the fatal crash of a Tesla Motors Inc Model S car in its Autopilot mode and increased  pressure on industry executives and regulators to ensure that automated driving technology can be used safely.

Under the proposed laws from Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt, drivers will not have to pay attention to traffic or concentrate on steering, but must remain seated at the wheel so they can intervene in the event of an emergency. Although if you are not concentrating on the road it is hard to see how you can suddenly grab a steering wheel.

Manufacturers will also be required to install a black box that records when the autopilot system was active, when the driver drove and when the system requested that the driver take over, according to the proposals.

The draft is due to be sent to other ministries for approval this summer, a transport ministry spokesman said.


Volvo engineer rubbishes Telsa’s unsafe automatic driving

vintage-car-crash-2An engineer for the outfit which gave the world the seat-belt is claiming that Tesla’s self driving car mechanism is unsafe.

Volvo engineer Trent Victor, senior technical leader of crash avoidance for Volvo, claims Tesla’s Autopilot system was being pushed as being far more capable than it actually is.

Victor said that the Autopilot “gives you the impression that it’s doing more than it is.” and said Tesla’s system was  an “unsupervised wannabe”.

Volvo is working on a Level 4 autonomous car, whereas Tesla’s Autopilot is considered a Level 3. The distinction is that a Level 3 autonomous system still relinquishes the controls back to the driver in the event of extreme conditions the computer can no longer manage, which Victor (and Volvo) finds extremely dangerous. A Level 4 car doesn’t require the “driver” to be in control at any time.
For now Tesla’s Autopilot system is widely considered to be the most advanced technology on the market, though Volvo’s argument that its inability to handle complicated driving conditions and rely on a driver that may be distracted due to a false impression of supervision deserves credence.


Nvidia teams up with Big Blue and Mellanox

IBM client centre, Montpelier, FranceMellanox, Nvidia and IBM have opened a design centre in France dedicated to research into using the POWER platform for commercial, industrial and scientific applications. The centre is situated in its existing building (pictured).

In case you haven’t been following the story so far, IBM has wheeled heaps of companies into the OpenPOWER foundation – and the centre in Montpelier will give open source software developers technical assistance to develop high performance computing (HPC) applications.

Mellanox keeps itself out of the limelight but it is responsible for Infiniband, while Nvidia has its Tesla advanced computing platform. IBM brings its licensable POWER architecture in the picture.

The French centre is the second such establishment – the three opened a centre in Germany last November and are the founding members of the foundation.

The aim is to help solve big challenges scientists and others face using HPC architectures and technologies.

IBM’s VP of HPC, Dave Turek, said the opening of the centre shows his firm is committed to open source collaboration. Nvidia brings its NVLink graphics processor interconnect to the party, while Mellanox’ Infiniband offloads data to the network level.