AI News, Elon Musk: Tesla Autopilot

Tesla Autopilot, Full Self Driving, Elon Musk, ARK Invest — CleanTech Talk with Tasha Keeney

She and ARK Invest CEO Cathie Wood recently hosted Tesla CEO Elon Musk in the studio for their new podcast series, so we built off of that chat and I also brought in several key autonomy topics I’m always eager to learn more about.

We slid into a short chat about the autonomous vehicle industry as a whole and suppliers in the industry before making our way to Tesla and the large team of experts at the company who are focused on advancing Tesla Autopilot on a daily basis, and who meet with Elon on a weekly basis.

Clearly, Tesla’s approach involves learning from drivers who have Autopilot on and then disengage for some reason, but I also wonder how much Tesla’s software is learning how to drive simply from monitoring what the human drivers do without Autopilot activated.

(This is really a topic it would be cool to talk about with Elon or one of his Autopilot team members, as there’s still plenty of mystery here.) Lex Fridman at MIT has been tracking Tesla Autopilot miles and last we heard had the figure just over 1 billion.

Getting to the topic of full self driving, Tasha touches on Elon’s comment on the ARK Invest podcast that he and the crew think Tesla vehicles “will be feature complete — full self-driving — this year,” and could be ready for drivers to go to sleep behind the wheel a year later — but that depends mostly on regulators.

We then briefly talked flying taxis and electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft — fun topics, but that will be a topic for another analyst and podcast discussion.

We ended the first part of this two-part discussion by chatting about the processing power needed in autonomous vehicles, the importance of that for over-the-air software updates, and Tesla’s overall hardware and software leadership.

As part of this whole matter, Tasha and I talked about a presentation from George Hotz (aka geohot) and a brief Q&A I had with him in which he emphasized Tesla was so far ahead on software in part because the company was so far ahead on hardware.

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