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Tesla's autonomous driving technology continues to improve, but as with all new things that are ahead of their time, the media dives into full panic mode when something goes wrong. But what about when something goes right?
Joshua Neally from Branson, Missouri was driving his Model X electric car when the Autopilot feature helped him get to a hospital without crashing his car, or worse. Slate reports: "Neally was about 5 miles out of Springfield, near a set of interchanges just beginning to clog with merging vehicles, when he felt something coil and stiffen in his abdomen. At first he thought it was a pulled muscle. But the pain forked upward from his stomach, he said, until it felt like "a steel pole through my chest." When it refused to subside, Neally remembers calling his wife and agreeing through gasps that he should probably go to the emergency room".
When Neally experienced the pain, he was quick to react by enabling the Model X's Autopilot technology, which helped him get through the heavy traffic. Tesla's autonomous driving technology only works on highways for now, so Neally needed to drive the shorter distance to the hospital, while Autopilot handled over 20 miles of highway driving.
Tesla founder Elon Musk has said that the company is working on some exciting stuff in its autonomous technology sector, with Musk saying: "Full autonomy is going to come a lot faster than anyone thinks it will. And what we've got coming is going to blow people's minds. I mean, it blows my mind".
The company has increased the production of electric vehicles to 2000 per week, with the company making 14,402 vehicles in Q2 2016, an increase of 43% over the same three-month period of 2015. Around 2/3 of those vehicles were the Model S vehicles, while 4638 of those sales were the higher-end Model X SUV models. For the whole of 2016, Tesla has made 18,345 electric vehicles, short of their 20,000 goal by the first half of the year.
Tesla's upcoming Model 3 is planned to hit the production line on July 1, 2017 but it might get pushed back a few weeks or a month through issues with suppliers.
Tesla has committed to its plans of being the world leader in electric vehicle and battery technology, and has now increased that power by acquiring Solar City for $2.6 billion.
The new merged business will sell solar panels, Powerwall batteries that store the collected energy from the sun, and the electric cars like the Model S. Elon Musk did promise in his "Master Plan Part Deus" two weeks ago that we would see an "end-to-end clean energy" solution - doing what no other companies are doing right now.
Solar City recently said it will introduce an "integrated solar and storage offering", and a new solar product that is "focused on the 5 million new roofs installed each year in the US". Musk has said that any merger wouldn't cause issues for its plans on the Model 3 EV and Gigafactory, with the latter just opening recently.
When you hear the name Tesla you don't exactly think drag racing, but Autocar did, and so decided to pit the Tesla Model S P85D against supercar McLaren 650S. It's not exactly a fair fight: the latter is more than twice the price, and the Tesla has the advantage on the wet track, but nonetheless, it makes for a good watch.
As you can see, the Tesla puts up a good fight, proving it has more speed than it has any right to, or more than you might think it would, at least, thanks in part to its electric motor and extremely high 0-60 acceleration. The McLaren is no slouch either, boasting 641bhp, a lighter body, and launch control.
7-Eleven has just delivered its first package of goods with a drone, in the first FAA-approved drone delivery taking place in Reno, Nevada earlier this month.
On July 11, Flirtey flew an autonomous drone a mile from a 7-Eleven to a private home in Reno, with the delivery including a chicken sandwich, donuts, coffee, candy, and Slurpees - awesome, huh? The goods were packaged into two containers, which were flown separately. When they arrived, each contained was lowered to the ground by the drone, and then the homeowners grabbed the goods.
The drone flew autonomously to the Reno home, using the on-board GPS to navigate. Flirtey chose a store to delivery from, surveying consumers within a one-mile radius to see if they wanted to be part of the initial drone delivery program.
Golf is not exactly the most action-packed or cool sport, but it could get moreso soon, as pro player Bubba Watson has partnered with eyewear company Oakley to develop a jetpack designed for flying around the green. The primary goal is to shorten the time between play, but also get the lay of the land better with the broader perspective a jetpack affords.
The problem of course is now we just want to see jetpack races, jetpack basketball, jetpack MMA, etc. instead.
Facebook's first test flight for Aquila - the solar-powered plane that beams internet to remote regions -- was a success. Beginning on June 28 in Arizona, it went even better than expected: total flight time was about 288 minutes, much longer than the planned 96 minutes.
The plane -- developed by subsidiary company Ascenta in Bridgwater, Somerset - has the wingspan of a typical airline plane, but weighs less than a car, and consumes just 5,000 watts of energy.
"We're encouraged by this first successful flight, but we have a lot of work ahead of us," says Facebook head of engineering and infrastruture Jay Parikh. "In our next tests, we will fly Aquila faster, higher and longer, eventually taking it above 60,000 feet."
Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed the company's master plan in 2006, which was essentially to sell a low volume, expensive car, then a medium volume less expensive car, then a high volume affordable car, with each funding the one after it. 10 years later and with those lofty goals nearly accomplished, the time has come to pull the curtain on master plan part two, a key tenet of which includes your car making you money.
Self-driving safety in Tesla vehicles is largely determined by "fleet learning", the cumulative data derived from its self-driving vehicles and their experiences on the road. Turns out they're willing to pay you for that data: in the future, tapping a button on the Tesla app will add it to the "shared fleet", and you can set it to self-drive and provide data while you're at work or on vacation. The income is no paltry sum, either: Musk says it could potentially exceed the monthly loan or lease cost of the vehicle.
Further on the self-driving front, the vision is that once it's fully approved by regulators, you'll be able to 'summon' your Tesla from nearly anywhere (presumably with the app).
Tesla has found massive success in its Model X 75D electric vehicle, but the $83,000 starting price turns most people away. Well, the company has just unveiled its new Model X 60D, with a starting price of $74,000.
The new Model X 60D has a 60kWh battery that provides an EPA-estimated 200-mile range, which is around 37 miles less than the more expensive model. It has the same performance as the 75D, with a top speed of 130mph and acceleration of 0-60 in 6 seconds.
It looks like Tesla could be pushing out the new Model X 60D with gimped software, introducing the 60D model as a slightly less powerful 75D, all done with software. You can order the new Model X 60D right here, with delivery starting in September.
Tesla Motors and SpaceX boss Elon Musk has teased on Twitter over the weekend that he's working on 'Top Secret Tesla Masterplan, Part 2' which he's hoping "to publish later this week".
What the hell is Tesla's master plan? Well, BGR reports that on August 2, 2006 Musk published the first part of Tesla's Masterplan. The first part of Tesla's Masterplan was titled "The Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan (just between you and me)" and outlined Musk's vision for electric vehicles, where he detailed the specific steps his company was planning in order to bring an electric car that was affordable, to the masses. If you look at Musk's detailed plan, he has pretty much completed his goals bit by bit:
So, in short, the master plan is:
- Build sports car
- Use that money to build an affordable car
- Use that money to build an even more affordable car
- While doing above, also provide zero emission electric power generation options
- Don't tell anyone.