It’s been practically two years since Tesla’s first “Autonomy Day” occasion, at which CEO Elon Musk made quite a few lofty predictions about the way forward for autonomous automobiles, together with his notorious declare that the corporate would have “one million robotaxis on the road” by the tip of 2020. And now it’s time for Part Deux.

This time, the occasion shall be known as “AI Day,” and according to Musk, the “sole goal” is to steer specialists within the subject of robotics and synthetic intelligence to come back work at Tesla. The corporate is understood for its excessive price of turnover, the latest being Jerome Guillen, a key government who labored at Tesla for 10 years earlier than not too long ago stepping down. Attracting and retaining expertise, particularly prime tier names, has confirmed to be a problem for the corporate.

The August nineteenth occasion is scheduled to start out at 5PM PT / 8PM ET at Tesla’s headquarters in Palo Alto, California. Based on an invite obtained by Electrek, it can characteristic “a keynote by Elon, hardware and software demos from Tesla engineers, test rides in Model S Plaid, and more.” Very like Battery Day, the occasion shall be livestreamed on Tesla’s web site, giving buyers and the media, in addition to the corporate’s many followers, an up-close take a look at what’s beneath improvement.

Musk and different prime officers on the firm are anticipated to supply updates on the rollout of Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” (FSD) beta model 9, which began reaching extra prospects this summer season. We can also get particulars about Tesla’s “Dojo” supercomputer, the coaching of its neural community, and the manufacturing of its FSD pc chips. And there can even be “an inside look at what’s next for AI at Tesla beyond our vehicle fleet,” the invitation says.

Let’s begin with what we all know and work our approach towards the hypothesis of what’s to come back.

Tesla Gigafactory - Elon Musk

Photograph by Patrick Pleul / image alliance through Getty Pictures

FSD rollout

The massive information out of Tesla’s first Autonomy Day was the introduction of the corporate’s first pc chip, a 260 sq. millimeter piece of silicon that Musk described as “the best chip in the world.” Initially, Musk had claimed that Tesla’s automobiles wouldn’t want any {hardware} updates, solely software program, on the street to full autonomy. Seems that wasn’t precisely the case; they would want this new chip — two of them, really — with a purpose to ultimately drive themselves.

Loads has occurred between the 2019 occasion and now. Final month, Tesla started transport over-the-air software program updates for FSD beta v9, its long-awaited, undoubtedly not autonomous, however definitely superior driver help system. That signifies that Tesla homeowners who’ve bought the FSD choice (which now prices $10,000) would lastly have the ability to use lots of Autopilot’s superior driver-assist options on native, non-highway streets, together with Navigate on Autopilot, Auto Lane Change, AutoPark, Summon, and Visitors Mild and Cease Management.

The replace doesn’t make Tesla’s automobiles totally autonomous, nor will it launch “a million self-driving cars” on the street, as Musk predicted. Tesla homeowners who’ve Full Self-Driving nonetheless want to concentrate to the street and maintain their fingers on the steering wheel. Some don’t, which might have tragic penalties.

Cherished by followers, loathed by security advocates, the FSD software program has gotten Tesla in numerous sizzling water not too long ago. In not too long ago publicized emails between Tesla and California’s Division of Motor Autos, the corporate’s director of Autopilot software program made it clear that Musk’s feedback (together with his tweets) don’t mirror the truth of what Tesla’s automobiles can really do. And now Autopilot is beneath investigation by federal regulators who need to know why Teslas with Autopilot maintain crashing into emergency automobiles.

Except for the rollout of FSD beta v9, Tesla has additionally needed to alter to the worldwide chip scarcity. In a latest earnings name, Musk mentioned that the corporate’s engineers needed to rewrite a few of their software program with a purpose to accommodate alternate pc chips. He additionally mentioned that Tesla’s future development will depend upon a swift decision to the worldwide semiconductor scarcity.

Tesla depends on chips to energy every thing from its airbags to the modules that management the automobiles’ seatbelts. It’s not clear whether or not the FSD chips, that are produced by Samsung, are being impacted by the scarcity. Musk and his cohort might present some perception into that in this week’s occasion.

Credit score: Tesla


Exterior the automobile, Tesla makes use of a robust supercomputer to coach the AI software program that then will get fed to its prospects through over-the-air software program updates. In 2019, Musk teased this “super powerful training computer,” which he known as “Dojo.”

“Tesla is developing a [neural net] training computer called Dojo to process truly vast amounts of video data,” he later tweeted. “It’s a beast!”

He additionally hinted at Dojo’s computing energy, claiming it was able to an exaFLOP, or one quintillion (​​1018) floating-point operations per second. That’s an unbelievable quantity of energy. “To match what a one exaFLOP computer system can do in just one second,” NetworkWorld wrote final 12 months, “you’d have to perform one calculation every second for 31,688,765,000 years.”

By means of comparability, chipmaker AMD and pc builder Cray are at present working with the US Division of Vitality on the design of the world’s quickest supercomputer, with 1.5 exaFLOPs of processing energy. Dubbed Frontier, AMD says the supercomputer may have as a lot processing energy as the following 160 quickest supercomputers mixed.

When accomplished, Dojo is anticipated to be among the many strongest supercomputers on the planet. However slightly than performing superior calculations in areas like nuclear and local weather analysis, Tesla’s supercomputer is operating a neural web for the needs of coaching its AI software program to energy self-driving automobiles. Finally, Musk has mentioned Tesla will make Dojo accessible to different firms that need to use it to coach their neural networks.

Earlier this 12 months, Andrej Karpathy, Tesla’s head of AI, gave a presentation on the 2021 Convention on Laptop Imaginative and prescient and Sample Recognition, throughout which he supplied extra particulars about Dojo and its neural community.

“For us, computer vision is the bread and butter of what we do and what enables Autopilot,” Karpathy mentioned, according to Electrek. “And for that to work really well, we need to master the data from the fleet, and train massive neural nets and experiment a lot. So we invested a lot into the compute.”

Different robots?

Earlier this month, Dennis Hong, founding father of the Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory at UCLA, tweeted a photo of a computer chip that many speculate is the in-house {hardware} utilized by Tesla’s Dojo.

However Hong is an attention-grabbing determine for different causes, too. He specializes in humanoid robots and was a participant within the DARPA City Problem which kicked off the race for self-driving automobiles. (His staff positioned third.)

Requested on Twitter whether or not his lab was working with Tesla, Hong posted some playful emojis however in any other case declined remark. We might be taught extra about how Hong’s work and Tesla’s pursuits intersect throughout AI Day.

Musk has been forthcoming about his needs for Tesla to change into greater than only a automobile firm. “I think long term, people will think of Tesla as much as an AI robotics company as we are a car company or an energy company,” he mentioned earlier this 12 months.


Photograph by Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / AFP through Getty Pictures

The longer term

A warning for anybody tuning in to the AI Day livestream: take Musk’s predictions about near-term accomplishments with an enormous grain of salt. The issues that shall be mentioned throughout this occasion are unlikely to have any measurable influence on the corporate’s enterprise within the months to come back.

Self-driving automobiles are an extremely troublesome problem. Even firms like Waymo which can be perceived to have the very best autonomous car know-how are still struggling to get it right. Tesla is not any totally different.

“A key question for investors will be what the latest timeline is for achieving full autonomy,” Loup Funds managing companion Gene Munster said in a note. “Despite Elon’s ambitious goal of the end of this year, our best guess is that 2025 will be the first year of public availability of level 4 autonomy.”

The remainder of 2021 is already jam packed for Tesla. The corporate must open factories in Texas and Germany. And it must instrument up manufacturing for its hotly anticipated Cybertruck, which has been delayed till 2022. Full autonomy, akin to it’s, can wait.

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