Andrej Karpathy considers returning to Tesla to work on Optimus [video]

By Gabe Rodriguez Morrison
Andrej Karpathy on the Lex Fridman Podcast
Andrej Karpathy on the Lex Fridman Podcast
Lex Fridman/Youtube

Tesla’s former AI Director, Andrej Karpathy, recently made an appearance on Lex Fridman’s podcast. Karpathy is an AI researcher, engineer, educator and a founding member of OpenAI. He spoke with Fridman on a variety of topics, including AI, his departure from Tesla, and his interest in returning to the company.

Karpathy’s five-year tenure at Tesla was a pivotal part of the company's AI development. During his time with the company, he helped advance Tesla's self-driving system from lane-keeping on highways to partially autonomous driving on city streets.

After taking a four-month sabbatical, Karpathy parted ways with Tesla in July 2022. When Karpathy announced he was leaving Tesla, he said it was a difficult decision and thanked the Tesla Autopilot team, looking forward to seeing their momentum continue. Karpathy also stated that he wanted to spend more time on his long-term passions including AI technology, open source, and education.

From the podcast, we learned more details about what led to Karpathy's departure (1 hour, 44 minute mark). Apparently, his role at the company had developed into more of a managerial position, which drifted away from his passion for technical work in AI.

Karpathy said, “I think over time during those five years; I’ve kind of gotten myself into a little bit of a managerial position. Most of my days were, you know, meetings and growing the organization and making decisions about sort of high-level strategic decisions about the team and what it should be working on and so on.”

“And it’s kind of like a corporate executive role, and I can do it. I think I’m okay at it, but it’s not like fundamentally what I enjoy, and so I think when I joined, there was no computer vision team because Tesla was just going from the transition of using Mobileye, a third-party vendor, for all of its computer vision to having to build its computer vision system. So when I showed up, there were two people training deep neural networks.”

Elon Musk was quick to react to Karpathy's interview, stating on Twitter that "Andrej will always be welcome at Tesla."

Karpathy played a key role in Tesla's FSD development and it would be great to see him return for a second act. Based on his interview, it sounds like he may be interested in returning to Tesla to work on the Optimus, Tesla's humanoid robot.

Karpathy's Interview

You can watch Karpathy’s full interview with Lex Fridman below.

Tesla Reduces Price of FSD Subscription to $99 Per Month [Subscriptions Now Available in Canada Too!]

By Not a Tesla App Staff

Tesla just dropped its FSD subscription pricing dramatically in the U.S., lowering the cost from $199 to $99 per month. However, not everyone is thrilled with the new pricing.

For owners who bought the Enhanced Autopilot package for $6,000 USD, Tesla offered a lower-priced FSD subscription of $99, instead of $199. However, with this new FSD price reduction, EAP owners are no longer receiving a discount.

FSD Subscription Expansion

Currently, the FSD subscription is only available in the U.S., but plans for expansion are underway. Tesla's Rohan Patel recently announced that the subscription will soon be available in Canada, alongside the introduction of an annual plan for Premium Connectivity. 

This expansion into the Canadian market is anticipated to follow a similar pricing strategy, adjusted for the currency exchange rate, possibly setting the cost at approximately $140 CAD per month.

Update: Tesla has just announced that FSD subscriptions are now available in Canada! What’s even more surprising is the unexpectedly low subscription price of $99 CAD. Tesla took to X to announce the availability in Canada but unfortunately didn’t reveal any additional information regarding the subscriptions.

Is Buying FSD Still Worth It?

Despite the lowered subscription price, the outright purchase price for FSD remains steep at $12,000. This price point equates to subscribing to the service for over 10 years. Given that the average length of car ownership in the U.S. is about 8 years, this makes the current price of buying FSD unattractive to most. The saving grace of buying FSD is that you know what you're paying for the life of the vehicle and can avoid any potential subscription price increases.

Temporary Reduction or Long-term Strategy?

Tesla has not confirmed whether the price reduction is a temporary promotional tactic or a permanent adjustment. The timing coincides with Tesla's release of FSD v12 and its trial offer, suggesting that the company is keen on encouraging more drivers to experience FSD. This approach not only boosts user engagement but also accelerates the volume of data Tesla can collect to improve the system.

FSD With Referral Credits

Although Tesla hasn't adjusted the price of buying FSD, it is tweaking its referral program to accommodate the new price. Three months of FSD are now available through Tesla's referral program for 6,000 credits, reduced from the previous 12,000 credits.

Tesla's reduction in FSD in the U.S. and its planned expansion into Canada reflect a strategic initiative to make FSD more accessible and financially attractive to a broader audience. There's no doubt this change will increase the number of FSD subscriptions, but it'll be interesting to see how much. To break even, Tesla would need to double the number of subscriptions, but they likely have their eyes set much higher.

If you currently subscribe to FSD, Tesla has automatically reduced future payments to the lower $99 price point.

Tesla Cybertruck to Receive Additional Features in Upcoming Update

By Not a Tesla App Staff

Tesla frequently introduces new models or trim levels before all the software features are available. This situation also applies to the Cybertruck, where several features are still in development.

In the 2024.8 update, Tesla added a handful of features to help the Cybertruck catch up in the software department, adding features such as Reset Tire Mileage, Rear Passenger Headphones, Auto Wipers and others. Tesla also added a Cybertruck exclusive feature that sets off the truck's alarm if the trailer is unhitched from the vehicle.

However, Tesla continues to improve Cybertruck's software. The company is planning an upcoming update that will let the truck charge faster and add Tesla's convenient cabin overheat protection feature.

According to Tesla's SVP of powertrain and energy, Drew Baglino, the Cybertruck's charging speed is about to be upgraded. This software update, slated for release later this quarter, is set to substantially improve the Cybertruck's charging curve and unlock faster charging times for owners. Baglino said the update will "let the Cybertruck get 154 miles of charge in just 15 minutes." That's a 20% increase over the truck's current 128 miles in 15 minutes.

Early reports on the Cybertruck's 4680 cells revealed a somewhat disappointing charging curve. The truck's charging speed would start at about 250kW, then drop off to about 150kW at ~40%. It would then level off at 75-80kW for the remainder of the charge.

It seems Tesla was being careful with the Cybertruck's new battery pack, but now, the company is ready to unlock additional throughput.

This fits Tesla's usual approach. The company likes to start conservatively and then improve its vehicles over time.

Cabin Overheat Protection

Another feature that's set to arrive on the Cybertruck is Cabin Overheat Protection (COP), according to the Cybertruck's program manager. This feature which keeps the cabin from overheating has been available in other models for several years, but it has yet to be made available for the Cybertruck.

In 2022, Tesla added the ability to customize the temperature at which COP would turn on. Users can now choose COP to activate at 90, 95 or 100º Fahrenheit. The Cybertruck's COP is expected to match the same features available in other models.

Given that Tesla's SVP and program manager have officially commented on these upcoming features, it may not be long before we see them available in an upcoming update.

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