Tesla CEO Elon Musk has announced that his company will unveil an electric articulated truck in September 2017.
Additionally, the Tesla CEO said an electric pick-up truck would be shown off in around 18-24 months.
In 2016, Elon Musk expressed the company’s desire to branch out beyond cars.
However, analysts are concerned Tesla will not meet demand for its current projects.
Image source Flickr
The Model 3, a more mid-market car compared to what Tesla currently offers, has 400,000 pre-orders – vastly more than the company can manufacture in a year. The Model 3 is due to go into production later this year.
The first death potentially caused by self-driving technology is now being investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The driver of a Tesla car died in Florida in May after colliding with a truck.
Under scrutiny is Tesla’s Autopilot feature, which automatically changes lanes and reacts to traffic.
In a statement, Tesla said it appeared the Model S car was unable to recognize “the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky” that had driven across the car’s path.
Tesla said the crash was a “tragic loss”.
The collision led to the death of Tesla driver Joshua Brown, 40. The driver of the truck, which was pulling a trailer, was unhurt.
A video on YouTube, which appears to have been posted by Joshua Brown, shows a dashboard camera recording of a previous incident, with the car steering to avoid a truck in the next lane.
He wrote: “Tesla Model S autopilot saved the car autonomously from a side collision from a boom lift truck.
“Hands down the best car I have ever owned and use it to its full extent. It has done many, many amazing things, but this was one of the more interesting things caught on the dashcam.”
On June 30, Tesla stressed that cars being controlled by Autopilot had travelled 130 million safe miles to date.
Tesla said in a statement: “The high ride height of the trailer combined with its positioning across the road and the extremely rare circumstances of the impact caused the Model S to pass under the trailer, with the bottom of the trailer impacting the windshield of the Model S.”
“Had the Model S impacted the front or rear of the trailer, even at high speed, its advanced crash safety system would likely have prevented serious injury as it has in numerous other similar incidents.”
The NHTSA will look at whether the Autopilot function performed as expected, or was at fault.
Such investigations can sometimes lead to a recall. Should that be the case, it is likely Tesla would put out an “over-the-air” update to its cars, rather than having to physically take the vehicles back.
However, the incident could be a serious blow to the reputation of autonomous technology at a time when regulators across the world are considering how to safely introduce it on public roads.
Tesla’s shares dropped by 3% after the government said it would investigate the crash.
The Autopilot function was introduced by Tesla in October 2016. In a conference call, the company’s enigmatic chief executive Elon Musk urged caution in using the technology.
“The driver cannot abdicate responsibility,” he said.
In June 30 statement, Tesla said: “It is important to note that Tesla disables Autopilot by default and requires explicit acknowledgement that the system is new technology and still in a public beta phase before it can be enabled.
“The system also makes frequent checks to ensure that the driver’s hands remain on the wheel and provides visual and audible alerts if hands-on is not detected.
“It then gradually slows down the car until hands-on is detected again.”
In its statement, the NHTSA stressed: “The opening of the Preliminary Evaluation should not be construed as a finding that the Office of Defects Investigation believes there is either a presence or absence of a defect in the subject vehicles.”
Back in 2012, Google managed to successfully lobby the state of Nevada to allow driverless cars to take to the roads. Ever since, we’ve watched in wonder as the Google car successfully navigated more than a million miles, all by itself.
This image provided by Google shows a very early version of Google’s prototype self-driving car. The two-seater won’t be sold publicly, but Google on Tuesday, May 27, 2014 said it hopes by this time next year, 100 prototypes will be on public roads. (AP Photo/Google)
It’s all been made possible by recent advances in artificial intelligence. It was once thought that making a driverless car would be impossible because it is not possible to program a computer to deal with every possible eventuality on the road.
But now the science of artificial intelligence has moved on substantially. Robots now have the capacity to learn without having to be preprogrammed. Instead, they learn a bit like you and I. Just like us a computer can now receive information from the physical world and interpret in a useful way. In a way, it can really “see.”
Google call this technology deep learning. It’s what allowed IBM’s computer Watson to beat the best players in the world at Jeopardy! back in 2011. And it’s what’s allowing the Google car to navigate the roads of Nevada today.
Each time the car goes out, it builds up a bigger picture of how the road works. Being a computer, it’s then able to remember millions of specific patterns out there in the real world. Nobody programmed all those patterns into the car. It just learned, like we do, that patterns can be generalized.
For us, this is a piece of cake. For computers, this is a quantum leap. It means that they can predict when dangers might be about the arise on the road and take the necessary action to prevent them from happening.
It’s essential we use this technology given the sheer number of car accidents on our roads. In America alone some fifty thousand people die each year, and hundreds of thousands of others are injured.
Then, consider the knock-on effects of all that carnage. Millions of dollars of investment in people, wasted. Billions of dollars of insurance paid out just to replace car wrecks. Thousands of businesses disrupted by unforeseen rises in their insurance premiums.
The autonomous car has the potential to solve these problems, and it’s all based on one of the highest technologies out there. Companies like Tesla are already selling consumer cars with some elements of autonomy. Tesla’s model S, for example, will drive you down the highway without you having to lift a finger.
We’re not quite at the stage where the cars can do it all themselves, though. Manufacturers still have to figure out how to make the cars work when it’s dark and when roads don’t have sidelines. But the road testing that’s been done so far is promising, and the number of naysayers is dwindling.
It’s quite incredible that 10 years ago the idea that we might have the first fully autonomous car by 2020 was far-fetched. Now, though, it seems like a certainty. The technology is virtually proven. All that it needs is one final push and we can finally rid ourselves of the endless carnage on our roads.
Porsche has unveiled its plans to build an all-electric car aimed at challenging Tesla’s dominance of the battery-powered sports car market.
The German automaker said it would create more than 1,000 jobs via a €700 million investment in new facilities and assembly line.
Porsche’s Mission E, revealed as a concept car earlier this year, is due to go on sale by 2019.
The four-door car’s range will be 310 miles, and hit 62mph in 3.5 seconds.
This pitches the Mission E – a name unlikely to stay once the launch date nears – against Tesla’s powerful Model S.
Porsche is owned by Volkswagen Group, currently embroiled in Dieselgate scandal, which has said it would invest in a range of all-electric and hybrid vehicles across its brands over the next few years.
Dr. Oliver Blume, chairman of Porsche’s executive board said putting Mission E into full development was the “beginning of a new chapter in the history of the sports car”.
Porsche said the car would be charged via an 800-volt unit specially developed for the vehicle, which is twice as powerful as today’s quick-charge system.
The lithium-ion batteries integrated within the vehicle floor will have enough power for 80% of its mileage range after 15 minutes charging, Porsche said in a statement. The vehicle can optionally be “refueled” wirelessly by induction via a coil set into a garage floor.
The four-seat car features energy storage technology derived from the Le Mans-winning Porsche 919 Hybrid race car.
The €700 Mission E investment was part of a €1 billion spending plan on new facilities announced by Porsche on December 4.
The electric car fans saw and rode a prototype of Tesla Model S at the Tesla Motors factory in Fremont, California, on October 1.
The persons who pre-ordered Tesla Model S electric car tried Tesla Motors’ first full-size electric sedan and had the tour of the factory.
Faster Tesla Model S goes from a standstill to 60 miles (96.56 km) in 4.5 seconds.
The 2012 production run of the Model S is sold out and the company intends to start delivering to customers next year.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk, a co-founder of PayPal, made a plea for support, he said lots of people had viewed the electric cars as fantastic unicorns.
“The oil companies said electric cars can’t work, but the truth is, they don’t want them to work. But here it is. They would say this car is the equivalent of a unicorn. Well, tonight you had the opportunity to ride a unicorn,” he said.
Musk announced Tesla was working on a faster Model S. It goes from zero to 60 miles (96.56 km) per hour in 4.5 seconds. This is two-tenths of a second quicker than the 2011 Porsche 911 Carrera with a manual transmission. However, with Porsche’s quick-shifting PDK automatic the car matches the Tesla at 4.5 seconds.
Versions of the 911 (Carrera S, GT3, Turbo) could easily outrun the Tesla Model S. Yet the big sedan will be able to run with the Porsche, Chevrolet Corvette, Audi R8 and other sports cars. It would also establish electric power as a performance feature, not just a gasoline-saving one, even the basic Model S is quick at 5.6 seconds from zero to 60.
Tesla Model S will come with three battery offerings, 160 miles (257.5 km), 230 miles (370.15 km) or 300 miles (482.8 km) on a full charge.
Base Tesla Model S will cost around $57,400, before a $7,500 federal tax credit and other rebates.
The large touchscreen of Tesla Model S hosts most of the infotainment controls.
Tesla wants to be more than a niche brand that sells only the expensive Roadster sports car. Roadster sports car has a base price of $109,000, and most of them are sold at $140,000.
Tesla Model X sports utility prototype will be unveiled in December and is due out in late 2013.
Tesla, based in Palo Alto, California, has around 1,400 workers. It held an initial public offering of stock in June 2010. Among its private backers are Draper Fisher Jurvetson, VantagePoint Capital Partners, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Google founders. Tesla won a $465 million loan guarantee in 2009 from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Other carmakers were inspired by Tesla Model S. Detroit works on its own electric vehicles. General Motors started selling its hybrid Chevrolet Volt last year. Anaheim, California-based Fisker Automotive, recently started delivery of its luxury hybrid Karma.
The company will phase out the Tesla Roadster in January 2012, to focus on the Tesla Model S.