Teslas to connect to Starlink satellites for emergency calls and texts

Future Feature
By Lennon Cihak
Tesla's vehicles will soon use Starlink to connect in dead zones
Tesla's vehicles will soon use Starlink to connect in dead zones
SpaceX

Tesla’s vehicles will integrate with SpaceX's Starlink to eliminate dead zones in the future.

On August 25th at 5pm PT, Musk and T-Mobile CEO and President Mike Sievert, announced a landmark partnership between Starlink and T-Mobile with the goal of “eliminating dead zones worldwide.” This venture is called “Coverage Above & Beyond,” and it will go into beta late next year for text, MMS, and select messaging applications, according to Teslarati.

Musk posted a follow-up tweet saying, “Note, connectivity will be 2 to 4 Mbits per cell zone, so will work great for texting & voice calls, but not high bandwidth.”

Unfortunately, watching high-resolution videos on YouTube or Netflix, or sending high-quality pictures will not be ideal at this speed. Hopefully, T-Mobile and Starlink continue to improve these speeds as hardware and software gets enhanced to enable more bandwidth.

To achieve mobile service in remote and rural areas Starlink will use a portion of T-Mobile’s mid-band PCS Spectrum to get rid of dead zones around the world.

“That is incredible because it’s a lot like putting a cellular tower in the sky, just a lot harder,” Sievert said at the “Coverage Above & Beyond” event.

The connection to Starlink via Tesla’s vehicles will enable them to make emergency calls and texts. Twitter user @heydave7 responded to Musk’s tweet about Starlink V2 satellites inquiring about this. Musk responded, “Yes.”

With Tesla’s vehicles able to connect to the internet in the most remote places, this could mean that your vehicle’s connectivity will be more reliable when driving through areas with little to no cell service. And this may mean Tesla could drop AT&T as its enterprise mobile carrier, allowing for much more flexibility and control over its fleet’s data usage.

And you won’t need to update to a new phone. The one you use right now will work. Furthermore, it’s rumored that Apple will be announcing a satellite connectivity feature for their iPhone 14 so it seems that satellite connectivity is going to be prime real estate in the coming years.

Sievert and Musk called on other telecommunications companies around the world to join the program and offer “reciprocal roaming.” This would allow US citizens to travel to other countries and not lose cell service, and similar for those who are traveling to the United States.

Since this information is still so fresh, details about the integration, packages, and pricing are not available, so it’s unclear if Tesla will increase the price of its Premium Connectivity package when Starlink connectivity becomes available.

Watch the Event

Watch T-Mobile and SpaceX’s “Coverage Above & Beyond” event at Starbase below.

Everything we know about Optimus, the Tesla Robot

By Kevin Armstrong
Optimus carrying a package using Tesla Vision
Optimus carrying a package using Tesla Vision
Tesla (Edited by Not a Tesla App)

Elon Musk started Tesla's AI Day 2022 by saying, "I want to set some expectations with respect to our Optimus Robot," just before the doors opened behind him. A robot walked out, waved at the audience, and did a little dance. Admittedly a humble beginning, he explained, "the Robot can actually do a lot more than what we just showed you. We just didn't want it to fall on its face." Musk's vision for the Tesla Robot, "Optimus is going to be incredible in five years, ten years mind-blowing." The CEO said other technologies that have changed the world have plateaued; the Robot is just starting.

Tesla's CEO envisions Optimus eventually being like Commander Data, the android from Star Trek the Next Generation, except it "would be programmed to be less robot-like and more friendly." Undoubtedly there is a long way to go to achieve what Doctor Noonien Soong created in Star Trek TNG. What was demonstrated onstage wasn't at that level, but several videos throughout the presentation highlighted what the Robot is capable of at its very early stage in development. The audience watched the Robot pick up boxes, deliver packages, water plants and work at a station at the Tesla factory in Fremont.

Development over 8 Months

The breakdown of some of the systems of the Tesla Robot
The breakdown of some of the systems of the Tesla Robot
Tesla (Edited by Not a Tesla App)

The first Robot to take the stage at AI Day was not Optimus, but Bumble C, another acknowledgement to The Transformers, as Bumble Bee played a significant role in that franchise. However, Bumble C is far less advanced than Optimus, who did appear later but was on a cart.

Several Tesla engineers took turns on the microphone describing some of the most complex elements of the project that was first announced one year ago. Perhaps the best description of the project was the company moving from building a robot on wheels to a robot on legs. However, that may be oversimplifying. For example, the car has two motors, and the Robot has 28 actuators.

Overall Design and Battery Life

Tesla's brightest demonstrated how the production has come to life over the past eight months. It seems this group of computer masterminds had to become anatomist experts as Tesla took hints from the human body to create a humanoid robot. That is an essential factor in creating Optimus. Everything people interact with is made usable by a human, with two legs, two arms, ten fingers etc. If the Robot differed from what the world is already designed for, everything would have to change. However, recreating the human body and its countless movements would take far too long, so Tesla has stripped it down to less than 30 core movements, not including the hand.

Like the human torso contains the heart, the Robot's chest holds the battery. It's projected that a single charge would provide enough for a full day's work with a 2.3-kilowatt-hour battery. All the battery electronics are integrated into a single printed circuit board within the pack. That technology keeps charge management and power distribution all in one place. Tesla used lessons learned from vehicle and energy production to create the battery allowing for streamlined manufacturing and simple and effective cooling methods.

Autopilot Technology

Tesla showed what the Robot sees, and it looked very familiar. That's because the neural networks are pulling directly from Autopilot. Training data had to be collected to show indoor settings and other products not used with the car. Engineers have trained neural networks to identify high-frequency features and key points within the Robot's camera streams, such as a charging station. Tesla has also been using the Autopilot simulator but has integrated it for use with the Robot programming.

Tesla shows off what the Optimus robot sees
Tesla shows off what the Optimus robot sees
Tesla (Edited by Not a Tesla App)

The torso also contains the centralized computer that Tesla says will do everything a human brain does, such as processing vision data, making split-second decisions based on multi-sensory inputs and supporting communications. In addition, the Robot is equipped with wireless connectivity and audio support. Yes, the Robot is going to have conversations, "we really want to have fun, be utilitarian and also be a friend and hang out with you," said Musk.

Motors Mimic Joints

The 28 actuators throughout the Robot's frame are placed where many joints are in the human body. Just one of those actuators was shown lifting a half-tonne nine-foot concert grand piano. There have been thousands of test models run to show how each motor works with the other and how to effectively operate the most relevant actuators for a task. Even the act of walking takes several calculations that the Robot must make in real-time, not only to perform but also appear natural. The robots will be programmed with a locomotion code; the desired path goes to the locomotion planner, which uses trajectories to state estimations, very similar to the human vestibular system.

Human hands can move 300 degrees per second and have tens of thousands of tactile sensors. Hands can manipulate anything in our daily lives, from bulky, heavy items to something delicate. Now Tesla is recreating that with Optimus. Six actuators and 11 degrees of freedom are incorporated into the robot hand. It has an in-hand controller that drives the fingers and receives sensory feedback. The fingers have metallic tendons to allow for flexibility and strength. The hands are being created to allow for a precision grip of small parts and tools.

Responsible Robot Safety

Musk wanted to start AI day with the epic opening scene from Terminator when a robot crushed a skull. He has heard the fears and people warning, "don't go down the terminator path," but the CEO said safety is a top priority. There are safeguards in place, including designs for a localized control ROM that would not be connected to the internet that can turn the Robot off. He sees this as a stop button or remote control.

Musk said the development of Optimus may broaden Tesla's mission statement to include "making the future awesome." He believes the potential is not recognized by most, and it "really boggles the mind." Musk said, "this means a future of abundance. There is no poverty. You can have whatever you want in terms of products and services. It really is a fundamental transformation of civilization as we know it." All of this at a price predicted to be less than $20,000 USD.

Tesla Shows Off its First Robot at AI Day 2

Watch Tesla's AI Day 2 event on demand

By Nuno Cristovao
Tesla to show off its Tesla bot, Optimus tonight
Tesla to show off its Tesla bot, Optimus tonight
Tesla

Tesla is hosting its recruiting event, AI Day 2 tonight in Palo Alto, California.

Elon Musk said to expect a lot of technical detail and "cool" hardware demos. We don't know which demos exactly, although Elon did say the event will be focused on AI and robotics.

Elon also talked about how these events are specifically aimed at showing off the exciting things Tesla is working on to attract more talent.

We can expect Tesla to show off its new Tesla bot, Optimus, talk about FSD and AI and possibly share some details on FSD hardware 4.0 and its upcoming Steam integration.

Start Time

The event took place in Palo Alto, CA on September 30th at 6:15 pm PT.

Watch on Demand

You can watch the event on demand below:

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