Elon Musk speaks at Bloomberg's Qatar Economic Forum
Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently attended Bloomberg's Qatar Economic Forum focused primarily on the diversification of the world economy and the development of renewable energy.
Elon Musk spoke about a variety of topics, including recession fears, Tesla Job cuts, growth and competition and the recent Twitter buyout.
Elon Musk said that a recession in the U.S. “is inevitable at some point. As to whether there is a recession in the near-term, that is more likely than not.”
Musk also shared more details on the recent Tesla job cuts:
“Tesla is reducing its salaried workforce roughly 10% over the next three months or so. We expect to grow our hourly workforce. We grew very fast on the salaried side, grew a little too fast in some areas."
He added, “A year from now, I think our headcount will be higher both in salaried and hourly” workers, but for now the headcount reduction will be ‘3% to 3.5%.’”
When asked about Bloomberg's own forecasts of Volkswagen overtaking Tesla, Musk disagreed:
— ???????? ???????? Umbisam Urges FSDBeta in EU ???????? ???????? (@Umbisam) June 21, 2022
Musk also spoke about Tesla’s growth in relation to global supply constraints. He said that this was a bigger issue than competition from rival automakers. “Our constraints are much more in raw materials and being able to scale up production.”
Later on at the same event, CEO of Qatar Investment Authority, H.E. Mansoor Bin Ebrahim Al- Mahmoud was asked about Musk's bid to take over Twitter. He replied: "We believe in Elon's leadership, and that's why we have committed on this transaction."
Tesla is simultaneously working on the next release of FSD, v11.
FSD Beta v11 will be the next major update that is expected to contain significant improvements.
Single Stack for Improved Highway Driving
FSD Beta is currently using Tesla's latest technology improvements for city driving. Highway driving still relies on the current production version of 'Navigate on Autopilot.'
Elon has previously said that Tesla will eventually merge highway and city driving into a single stack.
A technology 'stack' refers to the technologies used to build a system.
A single-stack system uses the same technologies for multiple applications, instead of having separate technology stacks for each application.
A single-stack version of FSD would allow Tesla to apply everything it has learned in city driving to its Navigate on Autopilot highway feature.
When Tesla trains and adapts its FSD Beta neural nets to highway driving, we may see drastically smoother merging and cornering on the highway. While the addition of a single stack has been talked about as far back as FSD Beta 10.1, it sounds like we may finally be able to experience it in FSD Beta v11.
An additional feature we could see in version 11 is the ability for the car to move backward. For example, if the car is stopped at an intersection and doesn't have great visibility, it'll now creep forward for a better view, just like a human driver would.
However, with v11, the car could also creep backward if it senses danger.
With 10.1, it will creep forward with more confidence & quickly reverse back a little (just as a person would) if it sees danger
As the features of Tesla's Full Self Driving (FSD) option have improved over time, Tesla has also increased the cost of the package.
FSD was priced at $5,000 in April of 2019, and its cost has slowly increased to the current $12,000. The last price increase was in January 2022.
While many drivers find the included Autopilot (the stripped-down version of FSD) feature to be sufficient for their daily highway driving needs, one can’t deny that FSD has the potential to be a life-changing product that places an AI-powered chauffeur behind the wheel of your car.
For those confused by the terminology, Autopilot currently features the ability for the car to maintain its lane (Autosteer) while using Traffic-Aware Cruise Control to maintain a set speed (and slow down or stop for slower traffic/hazards).
While it works better than many lane-keeping assist options from other car manufacturers, it still requires the driver to make lane changes (and take navigational actions like make a turn or obey a traffic light). It is effective primarily on highways and lacks the ability to navigate cities/towns.
For those seeking automated lane changes or city driving, one has to upgrade to the FSD package (and hope they have a sufficient safety score to enter the FSD Beta trial). Until now.
For those interested in more automation and less driver input without breaking the bank, it appears that Tesla will once again offer a mid-tier package called Enhanced Autopilot (EAP) that features some of the abilities of FSD.
Tesla used to offer Enhanced Autopilot and FSD as separate packages, but 2019 Tesla restructured their offerings and included a slimmed down version of EAP free with every vehicle.
At that point, EAP was removed, and the FSD package became the only driver asisst add-on.
Tesla has now brought back the EAP option in Australia for roughly half the price of the FSD package.
Enhanced Autopilot includes everything in basic Autopilot and adds on Navigate on Autopilot (automated lane changes and on ramp/off ramp navigation), as well as Smart Summon and AutoPark.
Noticeably absent from EAP is city/town navigation with navigation skills like obeying traffic lights, turning corners, and navigating traffic circles.
For those who seek an automated highway driving experience that dramatically lessens the driver’s attention-load, EAP might be priced as a more affordable option for Tesla owners.
It should be noted that Autopilot, Enhanced Autopilot, and FSD still require the driver to maintain both hands on the wheel at all times and be ready to take over driving immediately.
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