AI News, List: Executives who have left Tesla in recent months artificial intelligence
A Tesla senior director of engineering has left the company — here are all the key names who have departed in recent months
During 2018, a year in which the automaker faced production issues, investigations from the federal government, and questions about the decision-making of CEO Elon Musk, departures from senior employees added yet another challenge.
He earned the title of senior director of engineering in August 2018, and he was responsible for body manufacturing engineering, body equipment controls and maintenance engineering, stamping manufacturing and engineering, and Tesla Tool and Die.
Read more: Watch mechanics go through 6 fire extinguishers trying to douse flaming Tesla battery modules rigged to a Disney Princess car as molten copper comes 'raining down' everywhere
As of June 2018, Tesla sells the Model S, Model X and Model 3 vehicles, Powerwall and Powerpack batteries, solar panels, solar roof tiles, and some related products.
Musk, who formerly served as chairman and is the current chief executive officer, said that he envisioned Tesla Motors as a technology company and independent automaker, aimed at eventually offering electric cars at prices affordable to the average consumer.
Co-founder Martin Eberhard was the original CEO of Tesla until he was asked to resign in August 2007 by the board of directors. Eberhard then took the title of 'President of Technology' before ultimately leaving the company in January 2008 along with co-founder Marc Tarpenning, who served as the CFO and subsequently the Vice-President of Electrical Engineering of the company until 2008. 
The Tesla Roadster (2008) was the first production automobile to use lithium-ion battery cells and the first production EV with a range greater than 200 mi (320 km) per charge.
May 2013, Tesla raised $1.02 billion ($660m from bonds) partially to repay the DOE loans (early) after their first profitable quarter. In
Tesla's vehicles and operations are eligible for various forms of federal and state subsidy, which it was estimated in 2015 amounted to at least $30,000 for each vehicle sold, or cumulatively $4.9 billion.
As a result of the demand for Model 3, in May 2016, Tesla advanced its 500,000 annual unit build plan (for all models) by two years to 2018.
In the week preceding the debut on July 7, 2017, of the Model 3 sedan, Tesla's stock-market value declined by more than $12 billion from a previous value of $63 billion.
Brian Johnson of Barclays said that customer deposits for the Model S and Model X fell by $50 million, potentially indicating that Tesla's introduction of the Model 3 could be adversely affecting their sales.
Investors expressed concern about Tesla's plans for execution and competitive risk, as Volvo Cars committed to introduce only electric and electric-assisted vehicles by 2019.
Morningstar analyst David Whiston foresaw a revised, slower timetable for the Model 3 and a company acknowledgement of problems with building battery packs for its cars.
Axel Schmidt, a managing director at consulting firm Accenture, said that Tesla's problems with Gigafactory 1 prove that increasing Model 3 production 'remains a huge challenge'. In
In early November 2017, Musk advised investors of a production delay that was primarily due to difficulties with the new battery that would allow Tesla to significantly reduce the manufacturing cost of the Model 3.
On November 21, 2017, Bloomberg stated that 'over the past 12 months, the electric-car maker has been burning money at a clip of about $8,000 a minute (or $480,000 an hour)' preparing for Model 3.
For Q2 2018, Tesla reported delivery of 28,578 Model 3 vehicles, which exceeded combined Model S and X production (24,761), almost three times the amount of Model 3's than in Q1.
On Tesla's blog Musk elaborated that Tesla's status as a public company subjects it to the quarterly earnings cycle that puts enormous pressure on the company to make decisions that may be right for a given quarter, but not necessarily right for the company's long-term growth.
Additionally, as the most shorted stock in the history of the stock market, being a publicly traded company means that there are large numbers of investors who may have the incentive to attack the company. Musk
Furthermore, he indicated that he had high confidence in the funding being secured based on discussions with the managing director of the Saudi sovereign wealth fund who had requested Musk consider taking Tesla private and indicated strong capital support for doing so.
On August 24 Musk released a statement indicating that both he and the Tesla Board of Directors had made the decision for the company to remain traded on the public stock markets.
lawsuit characterized the tweet as false, misleading, and damaging to investors, and sought to bar Musk from serving as CEO on publicly traded companies.
According to a Musk blog post, 'New technology in any field takes a few versions to optimize before reaching the mass market, and in this case it is competing with 150 years and trillions of dollars spent on gasoline cars.'
Tesla's production strategy includes a high degree of vertical integration (80% in 2016), which includes component production and proprietary charging infrastructure.
Tesla's technology strategy focuses on pure-electric propulsion technology, and transferring other approaches from the technology industry to transportation, such as online software updates.
Licensing agreements include provisions whereby the recipient agrees not to file patent suits against Tesla, or to copy its designs directly.
Tesla's global sales since 2012 totaled over 532,000 units at the end of 2018, of which, over 245,000 were delivered in 2018, up almost 138% from 2017.
Foreseeing Germany as its second market after the U.S. (and the largest in Europe), in 2016 Tesla stated the Dutch (Dienst Wegverkeer) RDW-issued Whole Vehicle Type Approval (WVTA) should be accepted as a legal compliance document, with no need to seek specific national type of approvals in EU member states.
Also in 2016, Tesla sold US$1 billion worth of cars in China, the world's largest market for electric vehicles, and in October of the following year it reached an agreement with the Chinese government to build a factory in Shanghai.
In August 2015, Tesla launched a revamp of its stores to include interactive displays focused on safety, autopilot, charging network and motors.
Some galleries are located in states with restrictive dealer protection laws that prohibit discussing price, financing, and test drives, as well as other restrictions.
Tesla's strategy of direct customer sales and owning stores and service centers is different from the standard dealership model in the global vehicle marketplace.
Under a buyback program called the Resale Value Guarantee available in 37 U.S. states, a Tesla Model S sold before July 1, 2016 included the right to return it after three years with reimbursement of 43% to 50% of its initial price.
In addition to maintaining the resale value, Tesla hoped to secure a supply of used cars to refurbish and re-sell with warranty.
According to Automotive News, the profit margin on used car sales in the U.S. is about triple that on new cars, and Tesla's direct sales would allow it capture resale profits.
As a vertically-integrated manufacturer, Tesla has had to master multiple technology domains, including batteries, electric motors, sensors and artificial intelligence.
Unlike other automakers, Tesla does not use individual large battery cells, but thousands of small, cylindrical, lithium-ion commodity cells like those used in consumer electronics.
It uses a version of these cells that is designed to be cheaper to manufacture and lighter than standard cells by removing some safety features.
and discounts using electric cars to charge the grid (V2G) because the related battery wear outweighs economic benefit.
As of 2017, Autopilot included adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, emergency braking, Autosteer (semi-automated steering), Autopark (parallel and perpendicular parking) and Summon (recalling the vehicle from a parking place).
With an estimated 50,931 units sold in 2016, the Model S ranked as the world's bestselling plug-in car for the second year in a row.
As of September 2018[update], the Model S, with global sales of 250,000 units, ranks as the world's second best selling plug-in electric car in history after the Nissan Leaf (over 350,000).
The Tesla Model S became the first electric car ever to top the monthly sales ranking in any country, when the electric car achieved the first place in the Norwegian new car sales list in September 2013.
The standard Model 3 delivers an EPA-rated all-electric range of 220 miles (350 km) and the long range model delivers 310 miles (500 km).
The Model 3 was the top-selling plug-in electric car in the U.S. in 2018 with an estimated all-time record of 139,782 units delivered, after being the top-selling plug-in car in the country for 12 months in-a-row since January 2018.
Also, during the first half of 2018, the Model 3 was also the top selling alternative powertrain vehicle in California with 12,674 units, followed by the Toyota Prius conventional hybrid (10,043).
In August 2018, the Model 3 surpassed the Nissan Leaf as world's best selling plug-in car CYTD 2018, with a record of about 17,895 units delivered, a monthly sales record for plug-in cars previously held by the BAIC EC-Series.
Musk said that the new model will have a range of 620 mi (1,000 km) on the 200 kWh battery pack and will achieve 0–60 mph in 1.9 seconds;
Musk confirmed that the range would be 500 miles and that the zero to 60 mph time would be 5 seconds versus 15 seconds for a similar truck with a diesel engine.
The Semi will be powered by four electric motors of the type used in the Tesla Model 3 and will include an extensive set of hardware sensors to enable it to stay in its own lane, a safe distance away from other vehicles, and later, when software and regulatory conditions allow, provide self-driving car operation on highways.
Musk also announced that the company would be involved in installing a solar-powered global network of the Tesla Megacharger devices to make the Semi more attractive to potential long-haul customers.
The job description on the Tesla website states: 'The new Programs Engineering, Design Engineer is responsible for designing, developing, and delivering prototype level components and systems for the Tesla Model Y as well as future Tesla product programs.'
It includes more affordable cars produced in higher volume, solar-power roofs, mid-size vehicles, SUVs and pickup trucks, as well as the refinement of autonomous vehicles and the creation of a sharing economy, in which cars can be active while the owner is not using them.
At the company's annual shareholder meeting in June 2018, Musk revealed Tesla's intention to enter a new market segment, offering a compact hatchback in 'less than five years'.
In September 2016, Tesla announced it had been chosen 'through a competitive process' to supply Southern California Edison (SCE) with 20 MW power (and 80 MWh energy) of battery storage.
In May, regulators ordered SCE to invest in utility-scale battery systems after natural gas provider Southern California Gas leaked 1.6 million pounds (730 t) of methane into the atmosphere when a well ruptured at its Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility.
In October 2017, Tesla brought 700 solar panels to the 'Hospital del Niño,' where the batteries helped bring care back to 3,000 patients who needed constant care.
Model S and X cars ordered after January 15, 2017 get 400 kWh of free Supercharging credits, which provides a range of roughly 1,600 kilometres or 1,000 miles per year.
In December 2016, after a complaint sent to Musk via Twitter about abuse, Tesla announced that it will start charging an 'idle' fee for vehicles that continue to occupy charging stations after they are fully charged.
In 2014, Tesla discreetly launched the 'Destination Charging Location' Network by providing chargers to hotels, restaurants, shopping centers, resorts and other full service stations to provide on-site vehicle charging at twice the power of a typical charging location.
As of 2016, the plant was not highly automated—it was expected to produce some 80,000 cars with 6,000 workers compared to a 'typical' plant that might produce 250,000 cars with 3,000 workers.
Hansen said that the company refused to tell the DEA about several employees who were allegedly moving cocaine and crystal methamphetamine on behalf of a Mexican drug cartel.
The factory is a $750 million, 1.2 million square foot facility that directly employs 500 workers.
In January 2018, Tesla announced, after testing on employees' roofs, that it would begin installing the Tesla Solar Roof on commercial customers' homes 'within the next few months'.
A 62,000 sq ft (5,800 m2) European service center operates in Tilburg, Netherlands along with a 77,650 m2 (835,800 sq ft) assembly facility that adds drivetrain, battery and software to the (imported) car body to reduce EU import tax,
In late 2016, Tesla acquired German engineering firm Grohmann Engineering in Prüm as a new division dedicated to helping Tesla increase the automation and effectiveness of its manufacturing process.
In July 2017, Tesla won a contract to install the world's biggest grid-scale battery in South Australia by promising installation within 100 days.
On May 20, 2010, Tesla and Toyota announced a partnership to work on electric vehicle development, which included Toyota's US$50 million future conditional investment
the battery pack, electronics and powertrain components are similar to those used in the Tesla Model S sedan launched in June 2012, and the Phase Zero vehicles used components from the Roadster.
On January 7, 2010, Tesla and battery cell maker Panasonic announced that they would together develop nickel-based lithium-ion battery cells for electric vehicles.
On April 14, 2008, Tesla sued Fisker Automotive, alleging that Henrik Fisker 'stole design ideas and confidential information related to the design of hybrid and electric cars' and was using that information to develop the Fisker Karma.
Musk wrote a lengthy blog post that included original source documents, including emails between senior executives and other artifacts attempting to demonstrate that Eberhard was fired by Tesla's unanimous board of directors.
In early 2014, Tesla reportedly tried to break the exclusivity agreement their charging partner in the UK had for locations along the UK's highways and tried to 'blacken Ecotricity's name with politicians and the media'.
Tesla unsuccessfully sued British television show Top Gear for its 2008 review of the Tesla Roadster (2008) in which Jeremy Clarkson could be seen driving one around the Top Gear test track, complaining about a range of only 55 mi (89 km) (a figure that was provided to Top Gear by Tesla itself), before showing workers pushing it into the garage, supposedly out of charge.
He called it a 'salacious story' and provided data, annotated screenshots and maps obtained from recording equipment installed in the press vehicle as evidence that the New York Times had fabricated much of the story.
As a result, a carbon surcharge of S$15,000 (US$10,900 at March 2016 exchange rate) was imposed on the Model S, making Singapore the only country in the world to impose an environmental surcharge on a fully electric car.
The Land Transport Authority justified this by stating that it had to 'account for CO2 emissions during the electricity generation process' and therefore 'a grid emission factor of 0.5g/watt-hour was also applied to the electric energy consumption',
however Tesla countered that when the energy used to extract, refine, and distribute gasoline was taken into account, the Model S produces approximately one-third the CO2 of an equivalent gasoline-powered vehicle.
The July 11, 2016 Wall Street Journal reported that Tesla was being investigated by the U.S. SEC to see if the company should have disclosed a fatal crash involving its autopilot technology before the company sold more than US$2 billion worth of shares in May 2016.
The plaintiffs alleged, among other things, that the Tesla board of directors breached their fiduciary duties in approving the acquisition and that certain individuals would be unjustly enriched by the acquisition.
The lawsuit claimed that 'buyers of the affected vehicles have become beta testers of half-baked software that renders Tesla vehicles dangerous if engaged'
On April 19, 2017, Tesla factory workers filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging that Tesla uses 'illegal surveillance, coercion, intimidation and prevention of worker communications [...] in an effort to prevent or otherwise hinder unionization of the Fremont factory.'
According to CNBC, 'the United Automobile Workers (UAW) union filed four separate charges with the National Labor Relations Board alleging that [Tesla] has illegally surveilled and coerced workers attempting to distribute information about the union drive.'
In May 2018, the United Auto Workers union filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, seeking a federal investigation against Tesla for CEO Elon Musk's tweet apparently threatening worker stock options if they joined a union.
Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison chastised Musk for 'threats' of unlawful retaliation and presented a list of questions on union activities and worker safety records, asking for a response by June 15.
Between 2014 and 2017, ambulances went to Tesla's Fremont, California factory over 100 times to provide emergency services to workers exhibiting symptoms including fainting, dizziness, abnormal breathing and chest pains resulting from the physically demanding tasks associated with their positions.
Tesla has acknowledged that its recordable incident rate (TRIR), which measures work-related injuries and illnesses that have been reported to regulators, exceeded the industry average between 2013 and 2016.
In a statement, Tesla emphasized it is 'building entirely new vehicles from the ground up, using entirely new technology, production, and manufacturing methods, and ramping them at high volume.'
According to the company, 'the average amount of hours worked by production team members has dropped to about 42 hours per week, and the level of overtime decreased by more than 60 percent' after improvements were made.
It included findings such as the factory floor not having have clearly marked pedestrian lanes and instead having lanes painted different shades of gray because Elon Musk does not like the color yellow.
Tesla called Reveal's investigation an 'ideologically motivated attack by an extremist organization working directly with union supporters to create a calculated disinformation campaign against Tesla.'
Reveal responded by publishing the details of their investigation, which included interviews of more than three dozen current and former employees and managers as well as the review of hundreds of pages of documents.
Court documents and the journalistic investigation showed that at least 140 foreign workers worked on the factory expansion, some of whom had questionable work visas, for as little as five dollars per hour.
On June 20, 2018, Tesla filed a civil lawsuit in Nevada against a former Tesla employee, who a few days before had been dismissed after allegedly confessing to hacking Tesla's Manufacturing Operating System and to transferring gigabytes of confidential, proprietary data to external, unknown entities.
On April 20, 2017, Tesla issued a worldwide recall of 53,000 (~70%) of the 76,000 vehicles it sold in 2016 due to faulty parking brakes that could become stuck and 'prevent the vehicles from moving.'
On March 29, 2018, Tesla issued a worldwide recall of 123,000 Model S cars built before April 2016 due to corrosion-susceptible power steering bolts that could fail and require the driver to use 'increased force' to control the vehicle.
Tesla confirmed the fire began in the battery pack and was caused by the 'direct impact of a large metallic object to one of the 16 modules within the Model S battery pack.'
On November 6, 2013, a Tesla Model S on Interstate 24 near Murfreesboro, Tennessee, caught fire after it struck a tow hitch on the roadway, causing damage beneath the vehicle.
On March 28, 2014, NHTSA announced that it had closed the investigation into whether the Model S was prone to catch fire, after the automaker said it would provide more protection to its battery packs.
All Model S cars manufactured after March 6 have the .25-inch (6.4 mm) aluminum shield over the battery pack replaced with a new three-layer shield.
The NHTSA investigated the accident and concluded: 'A safety-related defect trend has not been identified at this time and further examination of this issue does not appear to be warranted.'
A month later, he revised that target to 'sometime in March' 2018 due in part to difficulties with robots on the assembly line, but primarily due to problems with the battery module.
In mid-November, with end-of-year buyer tax credits expiring in a little more than six weeks, Musk announced that the company was aggressively ramping up delivery capabilities with trucking contracts and even outright purchase of some trucking firms to deliver as many cars as possible before the deadline.
They were able to compromise the automotive networking bus (CAN bus) when the vehicle's web browser was used while the vehicle was connected to a malicious Wi-Fi hotspot.
Tesla reacted by securing the compromised system and by rewarding the security researchers financially via their bug bounty program and stated that the compromise did not violate customer privacy, nor vehicle safety or security.
At the June 2018 shareholder meeting, Elon Musk confirmed that Tesla will soon start to open its first body shops in the top ten U.S. metro areas, stocking some body parts, potentially allowing for same-day service.
group of investors asked Tesla in a 2017 public letter to add two new independent directors to its board “who do not have any ties with chief executive Elon Musk”.
The investors wrote that “five of six current non-executive directors have professional or personal ties to Mr. Musk that could put at risk their ability to exercise independent judgement.”
Tesla Autopilot also known as Enhanced Autopilot after a second hardware version started to be shipped, is an advanced driver-assistance system feature offered by Tesla that has lane centering, adaptive cruise control, self-parking, ability to automatically change lanes with driver confirmation, and enables the car to be summoned to and from a garage or parking spot.
As an upgrade above and beyond Enhanced Autopilot's capabilities, the company's stated intent is to offer full self-driving at a future time, acknowledging that legal, regulatory, and technical hurdles must be overcome to achieve this goal.
Autopilot Firmware 7.1 then removed some self-driving features to discourage customers from engaging in risky behavior and added Summon remote parking technology that can move the car forward and back without a driver in the car.
On August 31, 2016, Elon Musk announced Autopilot 8.0, which processes radar signals to create a coarse point cloud similar to Lidar to help navigate in low visibility, and even to 'see' in front of the car ahead.
By November 2016, Autopilot had operated actively on hardware version 1 vehicles for 300 million miles (500 million km) and 1.3 billion miles (2 billion km) in shadow mode.
It included adaptive cruise control, autosteer on divided highways, autosteer on 'local roads’ up to a speed of 35 mph or a specified number of mph over the local speed limit to a maximum of 45 mph.
When 'Enhanced Autopilot' was enabled in February 2017 by the v8.0(17.5.36) software update, testing showed the system was limited to using one of the eight onboard cameras, the main forward-facing camera
As of May 2017, HW2 is limited to 90 mph (145 km/h) on highway roads and the former 35 mph (56 km/h) speed limit on non-highway roads was removed, instead limiting to five over the speed limit or 45 mph (72 km/h) if no speed limit is detected.
The Autopilot can detect a potential front or side collision with another vehicle, bicycle or pedestrian within a distance of 525 feet (160 m), if one is found it sounds a warning.
Some industry experts have raised questions about the legal status of autonomous driving in the U.S. and whether Tesla owners would violate current state regulations when using the Autopilot function.
A spokesman for the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said that 'any autonomous vehicle would need to meet applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards' and the NHTSA 'will have the appropriate policies and regulations in place to ensure the safety of this type of vehicles.'
Full autonomy is “really a software limitation: The hardware exists to create full autonomy, so it’s really about developing advanced, narrow AI for the car to operate on.“
the car in front moved to the right lane to avoid a truck stopped on the left shoulder, and the Tesla, which the driver's father believes was in Autopilot mode, did not slow before colliding with the stopped truck.
According to footage captured by a dashboard camera, the stationary street sweeper on the left side of the expressway partially extended into the far left lane, and the driver did not appear to respond to the unexpected obstacle.
Tesla released a statement which said they 'have no way of knowing whether or not Autopilot was engaged at the time of the crash' since the car telemetry could not be retrieved remotely due to damage caused by the crash.
According to the NHTSA, preliminary reports indicate the crash occurred when the tractor-trailer made a left turn in front of the Tesla at an intersection on a non-controlled access highway, and the car failed to apply the brakes.
The diagnostic log of the Tesla indicated it was traveling at a speed of 74 mi/h (119 km/h) when it collided with and traveled under the trailer, which was not equipped with a side underrun protection system.:12 The underride collision sheared off the Tesla's glasshouse, destroying everything above the beltline, and caused fatal injuries to the driver.:6–7;
13 Approximately nine seconds after colliding with the trailer, the Tesla traveled another 886.5 feet (270.2 m) and came to rest after colliding with two chain-link fences and a utility pole.:7;
The NHTSA's preliminary evaluation was opened to examine the design and performance of any automated driving systems in use at the time of the crash, which involves a population of an estimated 25,000 Model S cars.
According to Tesla there is a fatality every 94 million miles (150 million km) among all type of vehicles in the U.S. It is estimated that billions of miles will need to be traveled before Tesla Autopilot can claim to be safer than humans with statistical significance (although fewer than billions of miles will be needed if Tesla Autopilot is more dangerous).
Researchers say that Tesla and others need to release more data on the limitations and performance of automated driving systems if self-driving cars are to become safe and understood enough for mass market use.
In September 2017, the NTSB released its report, determining that 'the probable cause of the Williston, Florida, crash was the truck driver’s failure to yield the right of way to the car, combined with the car driver’s inattention due to overreliance on vehicle automation, which resulted in the car driver’s lack of reaction to the presence of the truck.
Contributing to the car driver’s overreliance on the vehicle automation was its operational design, which permitted his prolonged disengagement from the driving task and his use of the automation in ways inconsistent with guidance and warnings from the manufacturer.'
According to the report, for the drive leading up to the crash, the driver engaged Autopilot for 37 minutes and 26 seconds, and the system provided 13 'hands not detected' alerts, to which the driver responded after an average delay of 16 seconds.:24 The report concluded 'Regardless of the operational status of the Tesla’s ADAS technologies, the driver was still responsible for maintaining ultimate control of the vehicle.
The fire truck and a California Highway Patrol vehicle were parked in the left emergency lane and carpool lane of the southbound 405, blocking off the scene of an earlier accident, with emergency lights flashing.
the Autosteer feature of the Model S appeared to mistakenly use the left-side white line instead of the right-side white line as the lane marking for the far left lane, which would have led the Model S into the same concrete barrier had the driver not taken control.
Vehicle data showed the driver had five seconds and 150 metres (490 ft) 'unobstructed view of the concrete divider, [...] but the vehicle logs show that no action was taken.'
In the minute before the crash, the driver's hands were detected on the steering wheel for 34 seconds in total, but his hands were not detected for the six seconds immediately preceding the crash.
According to telemetry data recovered after the crash, the driver repeatedly did not touch the wheel, including during the 80 seconds immediately preceding the crash, and only touched the brake pedal 'fractions of a second' before the crash.
The Tesla had slowed to 55 mi/h (89 km/h) to match a vehicle ahead of it, and after that vehicle changed lanes, accelerated to 60 mi/h (97 km/h) in the 3.5 seconds preceding the crash.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk criticized news coverage of the South Jordan crash, tweeting that 'a Tesla crash resulting in a broken ankle is front page news and the ~40,000 people who died in US auto accidents alone in [the] past year get almost no coverage', additionally pointing out that '[a]n impact at that speed usually results in severe injury or death', but later conceding that Autopilot 'certainly needs to be better &
In September 2018, the driver of the Tesla sued the manufacturer, alleging the safety features designed to 'ensure the vehicle would stop on its own in the event of an obstacle being present in the path ...
- On Sunday, July 21, 2019
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