Elon Musk is wrong on robotaxi timing, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi says

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told CNBC he agrees with Tesla CEO Elon Musk that the future of mobility is electric, but he disagrees with Musk that …

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told CNBC he agrees with Tesla CEO Elon Musk that the future of mobility is electric, but he disagrees with Musk that truly autonomous “robotaxis” will debut next year.

In an interview that aired on Uber’s IPO day on Friday, “Squawk Box” co-host Andrew Ross Sorkin asked him what the future of mobility looks like.

“First of all, it’s got to be electric,” the CEO said. “We think that’s a no-brainer. It’s good for the environment. It’s where the world is going. And we’re playing our part, for example, in London to move it electric.” He added that Uber, of course, thinks the future of mobility also has to be “shared.”

The ride-hailing giant will make its debut on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday, pricing its IPO on Thursday night at $45 per share.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently told investors he is ready to take Tesla into a new, driverless era. The company should have a million vehicles capable of functioning as driverless robotaxis on the road by the end of 2020, he said. He also told investors that self-driving technology and services will help his electric car company grow to a $500 billion market cap.

When the Uber CEO first heard Musk’s predictions about this, Khosrowshahi said, “I thought: If he can do it, more power to him. Our approach is a more conservative approach as far as sensor technology and mapping technology. The software’s going to get there. So I don’t think that his vision is by any means wrong. I just think we disagree on timing.”

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Elon Musk SLAMMED for response to ‘dangerous’ video of couple having sex in Tesla

Elon Musk SLAMMED for response to ‘dangerous’ video of couple having sex in … However, it seems that despite this, the firm’s CEO, Elon Musk , was …

Last week, a raunchy video was uploaded to PornHub , showing a couple having sex in a moving Tesla car while it was on Autopilot mode.

The video is of pornstar Taylor Jackson and her boyfriend, and has already garnered over 2 million views on the porn site.

Tesla explicitly states that Autopilot mode ‘does not make the vehicle autonomous’, and that drivers should keep two hands on the wheel at all times.

However, it seems that despite this, the firm’s CEO, Elon Musk , was unfazed by the video.

Musk took to Twitter to respond to the clip, and was very blasé about the footage.

He wrote: “Turns out there’s more ways to use Autopilot than we imagined. Shoulda seen it coming …”

Unsurprisingly, many Tesla fans are unimpressed by Musk’s response to the video – which could have ended in disaster.

One user replied: “This is dangerous…please all kidding aside, be clear about dangers.”

The Tesla Model S version 7.0 software update containing Autopilot features
The Tesla Model S version 7.0 software update containing Autopilot features (Image: REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach)

Another added: “There was a story where a driver using ‘auto pilot’ decided to look down to text.

“Guess what happened next? Yup – she KILLED someone.”

This isn’t the first time that a video of someone in a dangerous situation in a Tesla has hit the headlines.

This year alone, several videos have been posted of drivers asleep at the wheel of their Tesla car while it’s in Autopilot mode.

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Tesla restructures Autopilot software team, Elon takes the reins

CEO Elon Musk is taking the reins with now even more people reporting directly to him and some senior staff being let go while others being promoted …

Tesla is again restructuring its Autopilot software team, according to sources talking to Electrek.

CEO Elon Musk is taking the reins with now even more people reporting directly to him and some senior staff being let go while others being promoted.

In general, Tesla is known for having a high turnover rate, but it has been particularly true in the automaker’s Autopilot team.

The team went through several different leaders over the last few years.

In 2016, Autopilot program Director Sterling Anderson left to create his own startup in the field of automated driving.

Chris Lattner, a respected software developer behind Apple’s programing language, was hired to lead the Autopilot’s software team, but he only lasted about 6 months at Tesla.

Last year, Tesla ended up hiring Stuart Bowers from Snap as the new Vice President of Autopilot software.

During that time, many other executives on the team ended up leaving as Tesla increasingly pushed for difficult timelines on driver assist features to lead to a fully autonomous driving system.

Over the last year, things appeared to have stabilized with Bowers in charge of the software and Andrej Karpathy as the head of AI and Autopilot Vision.

They both gave presentations about Tesla’s progress in developing a full self-driving system during the automaker’s Investor Autonomy Day last month, but not everything went according to plan.

Leading up to the event and during the following days, Tesla fired several people in the Autopilot teams, according to people familiar with the matter.

A few weeks later, it has now led to a restructuring of the Autopilot software team.

According to people familiar with the matter talking to Electrek, Bowers saw several of his responsibilities being removed and people under him have been promoted and are now going to report directly to Musk.

Amongst the people being promoted, Milan Kovac, a software engineer who held several positions on Tesla’s Autopilot team over the last 3 years, has been promoted to Director of Autopilot Software Engineering at Tesla.

Several other senior Autopilot engineers have been let go and others promoted as part of this restructuring. We will update as more information becomes available.

We contacted Tesla for a comment about the restructuring and we will update if we get an answer.

Electrek’s Take

The turnover rate in the autonomous driving space is pretty high in general. The space is booming right now and many companies are competing for talent with experience in the field, which results in many engineers going from one company to another.

But when you factor in the fact that working for Elon Musk is extremely difficult and Tesla has been pushing some extremely aggressive timelines for Autopilot, it looks like Tesla’s Autopilot program is suffering from an even more chaotic turnover.

On top of the three Autopilot heads mentioned above, Elon also brought in Robert Rose and Jinnah Hosein, two top software engineers formerly from SpaceX, to lead the Autopilot program between the tenures of the other Autopilot leaders.

Several senior Autopilot engineers have also left the team and are now leading self-driving programs at other companies, like Sameer Qureshi at Lyft and Jamie Carlson at Nio.

Tesla is even suing Xpeng, an EV startup that hired several former Tesla Autopilot team members, for allegedly stealing the Autopilot source code.

The situation is worrying to a degree, but it’s not all doom and gloom. The team still have many talented engineers working on Autopilot and they keep delivering more advanced features.

But will they deliver full self-driving capability on Elon’s timeline? Unlikely in my opinion, but I’d like to be proven wrong.


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Self-driving cross-country trip possible for everyone with a Tesla this year, says Musk

Today, CEO Elon Musk pushed that timeline forward a bit, and stated that Tesla’s long-planned autonomous cross-country roadtrip would actually …

Tesla has been making bold claims about future autonomous driving plans lately, most recently holding an “autonomy investor event” where the company laid out plans for its future full self-driving technology. At that event, Tesla stated that they would be ready to roll out a fully autonomous robotaxi fleet as early as next year, depending on regulations.

Today, CEO Elon Musk pushed that timeline forward a bit, and stated that Tesla’s long-planned autonomous cross-country roadtrip would actually occur later this year. Tesla has made claims in the past about enabling cross-country Autopilot travel, but the news today is that not only will it be possible for Tesla to do this on their own to demonstrate their technology, but that any Tesla owner (*with FSD software) will be able to do the same.

In previous mentions of the cross-country roadtrip, Musk has stated that Tesla could use specialized software to get the roadtrip done, but that it would be “cheating” to do so. Surely, picking the right roads, writing software specific to certain situations, would make the job much easier. But making a generalized solution for self-driving is much harder, as there will be many more unexpected situations and poorly-marked offramps in the real world.

So Tesla has pushed back plans for an LA-NY roadtrip until the software is ready without needing special code.

Until now, we’ve expected that this roadtrip would occur on a private, internal build of Tesla’s software, and that it would be used to help development, and for demonstration purposes, and that perhaps the software to enable it wouldn’t be fully available to the public until later. The last time we heard about it, it was going to happen on “alpha” software – which owners do not have access to.

But today Musk suggested that this software will be available to everyone by the end of this year:

We could have gamed an LA/NY Autopilot journey last year, but when we do it this year, everyone with Tesla Full Self-Driving will be able to do it too

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 9, 2019

Tesla and Musk are no stranger to short timelines, but this one seems shorter than most. In less than 8 months, not only will Tesla be able to do a demonstration drive across country, but the public will be able to do it as well.

A lot needs to be done before then. Autopilot still doesn’t stop for stop signs and red lights (though it does recognize them), only recently stopped requiring driver confirmation for lane changes, and still has trouble with some things like stationary vehicles. It also still requires that drivers keep their hands on the wheel. The FSD computer has only recently rolled out and tens of thousands of cars will need to be retrofit before “everyone” has this capability.

Some even still think that Tesla’s approach is unsustainable, with most of the rest of the industry thinking LIDAR is necessary to make full self-driving happen. But as we’ve recently reported, at least one AI expert agrees that Tesla has a huge lead in software. And a recent study by Cornell states that cameras should be enough for autonomous driving. Musk, for his part, thinks any company that relies on LIDAR as a crutch is “doomed…doomed!

Questions still remain over whether this drive will be a “zero-intervention” drive where the driver just never touches the wheel (but still, for example, puts the car in park, plugs the car in, etc.), or if it will be a “simulated headless” drive where the driver is only inside the car for regulatory purposes but the car otherwise acts as if nobody is in it. The latter was promised in 2016 when Musk stated that within two years (by 2018), owners would be able to use Tesla’s “summon” feature to have the car pick them up on the other side of the country, even recharging itself along the way.

Electrek’s Take

We’ve heard these promises many times before, and Tesla has missed many timelines before. Musk himself acknowledges that he’s sometimes optimistic with timelines, and this seems like another one which seems quite optimistic.

But about a year before Tesla’s original 2014 release of Autopilot, the Model S had zero driver-assist/active safety features at all, and Musk said that Tesla would be ahead of the industry in autonomous driving in a year. Nobody believed it at the time, but this statement eventually came true – and it was even on time. And Tesla has maintained their lead in driver-assist software since then.

So this could go either way. They might pull it off this time, but I’m not counting on it yet. I’d love to see it though, and if it happens, I guess a roadtrip will be in order.


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Elon Musk is a giggling baby in the latest terrifying deepfake

Billionaire Elon Musk has been transformed into a giggling baby in the latest terrifying deepfake. Published by deepfake creator “The Fakening,” the …

Billionaire Elon Musk has been transformed into a giggling baby in the latest terrifying deepfake.

Published by deepfake creator “The Fakening,” the video shows the face of the Tesla and SpaceX CEO placed onto that of prominent YouTuber Andrew Schrock’s infant child.

Developed with the aid of artificial intelligence, Musk can be seen giggling and playing with toys.

The baby-faced Musk even goes on to discuss how humanity is “one giant cybernetic collective,” as infants often do.

Twitter users almost unanimously reacted to the video in horror, repeatedly describing the content as “nightmare” material.

Nightmare fuel https://t.co/jIjLAQn9cr

— el jefe (@ThatElJefe) May 8, 2019

Several, however, found the video intriguing, while one individual wished they had an Elon baby for themselves.

The video is just one of many emanating from a tight-knit community of deepfake creators. Everyone from pop star Billie Eilish to President Donald Trump has been transformed into a deepfake by the technology.

The emergence of deepfakes has stirred concern among government officials who fear the technique could be used to disrupt elections. Experts on disinformation argue though that the fear is overblown.

In the most prominent and recent use of the technology, soccer star David Beckham was given the ability to speak 9 different languages as part of an ad campaign warning against the dangers of malaria.

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