Andrej Karpathy, Tesla's AI director announces his departure

By Kevin Armstrong
Andrej Karpathy was Tesla's Director of AI
Andrej Karpathy was Tesla's Director of AI
Tesla/YouTube

Andrej Karpathy took to Twitter to announce he's leaving Tesla. The 35-year-old was the senior director of artificial intelligence and was a key part of the Autopilot team.

He did not explain why he was going; instead, he praised his team's work on Autopilot's development.

The tweet reads: It's been a great pleasure to help Tesla towards its goals over the last 5 years and a difficult decision to part ways. In that time, Autopilot graduated from lane keeping to city streets, and I look forward to seeing the exceptionally strong Autopilot team continue that momentum.

Elon Musk responded to his tweet: Thanks for everything you have done for Tesla! It has been an honor working with you.

Within minutes of these tweets, media outlets and industry observers started to speculate about the future of Tesla's FSD. Karpathy was a significant part of the team tasked with improving FSD and making it available to every Tesla owner in North America by the end of 2022.

Just 35 minutes after he tweeted he was leaving, he addressed the gossip with another tweet. It reads: Important to keep in mind that the Autopilot team is hundreds of strong engineers who very much know what they're doing, just don't have my public visibility. I was only one part of that effort, and I think get an outsized spotlight cast on me because I do.

Karpathy, a Ph.D. from Stanford University, was on a four-month sabbatical. His departure comes just days after Tesla closed its San Mateo, California office laying off 229 data annotation employees who were part of the Autopilot team. The layoffs were expected after Musk announced a hiring freeze and a 10 percent workforce cut in June.

Andrej says he doesn't have any plans for what he'll do next, but that he plans to spend additional time with his passions of AI, open source and education.

Whole Mars Catalog, among others, questioned how significant Karpathy's departure was to the company. "It's not bullish, but people are vastly overblowing it," tweeted Whole Mars Catalog. "Elon knew this would happen and that's why he started highlighting in early 2021 that Ashok (Elluswamy) was the lead on Autopilot software, not Andrej."

Nobody stays forever. Life goes on.

Elluswamy was hired as the team director of Autopilot in 2015. At the time of his hiring, Musk said he was the first person recruited for the Autopilot team.

Andrej during Tesla's AI Day

Tesla Will Accelerate the Release of Its Next-Gen Model, While the Robotaxi Takes a Backseat

By Cláudio Afonso

Today, Tesla published its 2024 Q1 report, showing revenue of $21.3 billion, 9 percent lower than the same period last year and a total GAAP gross margin of 17.4%, down 19.1% in Q1 2023.

The company teased its upcoming Robotaxi and its next-generation platform saying its “purpose-built Robotaxi product will continue to pursue a revolutionary ‘unboxed’ manufacturing strategy”.

Tesla mentioned that it suffered “numerous challenges“ during the first quarter including the Red Sea conflict and the arson attack on its GigaFactory in Berlin and the ramp-up of the updated Model 3. Earlier today Tesla officially announced its new Model 3 Performance model.

Accelerating the Launch of its Next-Gen Model

The company said it will accelerate the launch of new models including its upcoming “$25k,” next-gen vehicle. Tesla stated:

“We have updated our future vehicle line-up to accelerate the launch of new models ahead of our previously communicated start of production in the second half of 2025. These new vehicles, including more affordable models, will utilize aspects of the next generation platform as well as aspects of our current platforms, and will be able to be produced on the same manufacturing lines as our current vehicle line-up.”

When it comes to layoffs, Tesla says it undertook “a cost-cutting exercise to increase operational efficiency” adding it is “focused on profitable growth” by “leveraging existing factories and production lines to introduce new and more affordable products”.

The automaker reaffirmed its focus on autonomous driving with the recent price cuts on the purchase and subscription of its FSD software in the US and Canada.

“The future is not only electric, but also autonomous. We believe scaled autonomy is only possible with data from millions of vehicles and an immense AI training cluster. We have, and continue to expand, both. To make FSD (Supervised) 5 more accessible, we reduced the price of subscription to $99/month and the purchase price to $8,000 in the US.”

Robotaxi

Tesla also revealed that its Robotaxi will now differ from its next-gen vehicle. Although Tesla will follow more traditional processes for producing its more affordable vehicle, Tesla says the Robotaxi will still follow the new, more efficient, “unboxing” manufacturing strategy. This comes just days after Musk said the Robotaxi will essentially be its next-gen model without a steering wheel.

Tesla’s quarter-end cash, cash equivalents and investments were $26.9 billion.

Earlier today, Tesla launched officially the highly expected Model 3 Performance with deliveries starting in May. The new version starts at $45,490 (after applying the $7,500 Federal EV tax credit).

In recent weeks, the company has been reducing prices in its primary markets, including China and the United States. The initiative followed the recent introduction of lower and even 0% interest financing programs in certain markets.

At the time of this writing, Tesla stock is currently trading 7 percent higher at $145 per share.

Tesla Officially Launches the New Model 3 Performance, Deliveries Start Next Month

By Cláudio Afonso

Today, a few hours before releasing their first quarter financial results, Tesla launched the highly anticipated Model 3 Performance. The new version starts at $45,490 (after applying the $7,500 Federal EV tax credit) and deliveries are scheduled to start in May.

With 510 horsepower and a top speed of 163 mph, the new Performance variant brings an improved sound system, a re-designed interior featuring more comfortable rear seats with some features coming directly from the recently revamped Model 3. Tesla also says that the new Performance model has “significantly less” road and wind noise thanks to the rear spoiler and changes to the front bumper.

“The front and rear fascias, rear diffuser and carbon fiber spoiler work together to help reduce drag and improve lift balance at high speeds”

Tesla’s most powerful Model 3 ever is now cheaper than the Model 3 Long Range after the federal tax credit. The Model 3 Performance model is the only Model 3 variant that is eligible for the government incentive.

Performance

The new Performance model comes with 20
The new Performance model comes with 20

While the new Performance model is largely based on the recently revamped Model 3, while including design changes to the front and rear diffuser, as well as the addition of a rear spoiler. In terms of performance, the model announced today offers a 22% increase in continuous power, a 32% increase in peak power, and an additional 16% of peak torque. The Performance model now has 500 hp and includes a “performance” motor that’s unique to the Performance model.

The new Model 3 Performance is capable of going 0 to 60 in 2.9 seconds, 0.2 seconds faster than the previous incarnation. It didn’t take long for Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk to comment on X stating that the Model 3 Performance is “quicker than a Porsche 911.”

Specs of the new Tesla Model 3 Performance
Specs of the new Tesla Model 3 Performance

Track Mode V3

The new Model 3 Performance is equipped with an updated Track Mode, v3, that features an all-new calibration for the powertrain and adaptive suspension.

Tesla's Track Mode V3
Tesla's Track Mode V3

Range

The Model 3 Performance has an EPA range of 296 miles (476km) on a single charge, an increase of 10 miles (16km) when compared to the previous version while being slightly lower than the Long Range variant.

Rear Display

As seen in the revamped version of the Model 3, Tesla is also bringing the rear 8” touchscreen with climate controls, Bluetooth connectivity and entertainment for the rear passengers. With Tesla update 2024.14, Tesla is improving the rear screen by adding trip information, time and temperature information to the top of the display.

Exterior view of the new Tesla Model 3 Performance
Exterior view of the new Tesla Model 3 Performance

All-new Adaptive Suspension

According to Tesla, the new adaptive dampening system adjusts to driver and road input in real-time. While the new Model 3 already included suspension improvements over the previous generation, the Performance model takes it one step further.

New Seats

The new model includes the new Sport Seats that we’ve seen in spy shots before. Although the new model is officially named “Performance,” the sport seats feature the Ludicrous badge. The seats include improved side and cushion bolsters to help keep you in an ideal driving position

The new Sport seats feature the Ludicrous badge
The new Sport seats feature the Ludicrous badge

Deliveries

The model just went up for sale a few hours ago, but orders placed minutes after the launch show an estimated delivery of May/June 2024 in the United States. In Canada, where the Model 3 Performance starts at CA $69,990, the estimated delivery is currently slated for June/July.

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