Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Electric Ascension

Electric Vehicles are having a great year,

I'll save Tesla for it's own post. Let's just go for a top five for the rest of electric motoring.

1. GM's Bolt.  Regardless of so-so corporate behavior, the team at GM clearly continues to outdo themselves. In fact look back. The EV1 - ahead of it's time and potentially a game changer although buried by short sighted GM management - the fault was not the engineers. The Volt - certainly the most worry free way to drive electric for many years as the infrastructure improved. The Spark - ok lets move on. Now the 100% electric Bolt - easily 238 miles on a charge makes this new vehicle instantly a competitor. While I will continue my wait for the Model 3, this $37,500 MSRP with $7500 in federal incentives is a pretty interesting contender and has good reviews.

2. 2016 up 70% on electric sales.

3. VW throws in the diesel towel. Settles with owners and US government. Diesel - Scrapheap.

4. VW picks up the EV gauntlet. Admittedly they are still a gleam in German eye but I believe VW will be competitive.

5. Nissan continues to sell the mid upgrade Leaf and confirms 60KWH battery Leaf with a 200 mile range. The bad news 'it's coming' with little firm timeframe. Still progress.

** Bonus Point ** - Hydrogen seems to be melting away!

Some links for recent self driving developments

First let me link to Tesla's Autopilot page:


Next let's look at the NVIDIA supercomputer:

Electrek.on NVIDIA px-2

That's a good start because the Tesla autopilot link includes a video showing the autopilot system already driving completely over all types of street to a Tesla facility and auto parking itself. If the prototype software is this far along I believe more advanced auto piloting will be ready to go in the TM3 in Fall 2017, and self pilot not far behind depending on regulators. The second article talks about the very advanced supercomputer being added The NVIDIA PX2. Here is more on that:

NVIDIA Supercomputer Video

PX2 details

Finally a quick link to an article on a self driving Big Rig called OTTO. He hauls beer! Good times:

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Tesla - New AI driving hardware!

The safety/autopilot/self driving on Teslas - model S, X, and ☰ just went to hyperspace...

Yesterday ( for my birthday ha!) Tesla unveiled this upgrade to STANDARD hardware.

From one camera -> 8 surround cameras, 3 redundant forward, higher res/range.
Twelve updated ultrasonic sensors 2 times the range and resolution.
Better forward radar 160m ( 524' - 1/10th mile, able to see around and under cars)
GPS upgrade to higher accuracy plus software upgrades.
IMU Inertial measuring unit upgrade.

Last and biggest a new NVIDIA processor that delivers a more than order of magnitude (40x) processing upgrade - basically a small supercomputer utilizing NVIDIA's newest parallel graphic processing tech. Motley Fool has been recommending buying NVIDIA for this very reason.

Safety improvements from 2x standard human safety now to potentially a 10x safety improvement when using the autopilot and self driving suite.

Activating the hardware on an S or X costs $5000 to unlock enhanced auto pilot and another $3000 to unlock self driving. However the standard upgraded hardware will support a standard safety set of features: Automatic Emergency Braking - Designed to detect objects that the car may impact and applies the brakes accordingly.  Side Collision Warning - Warns the driver of potential collisions with obstacles alongside the car.  Front Collision Warning - Helps warn of impending collisions with slower moving or stationary cars. Auto High Beams - Adjusts high/low beams as required.

So even the standard set if I can't afford the increased cost of autopilot is pretty cool. Still autopilot going from $2500 to $3000 to $5000 is a bit tough on the wallet.  Also self driving won't unlock until regulators allow it. Does that mean you pay for it but have to wait 4 years for the Federal Highway Safety folks to approve it?  Finally not unlocking a feature at purchase means it costs $1000 more to unlock at a later date. Yuck - that is a bit stiff. Still - a self driving car?

Tesla self driving and autopilot