When Trolls Attack … Elon Musk, Tesla Motors, & SolarCity (+ Tesla V8.1 Update)

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A recent tweet from Tesla CEO Elon Musk has revealed that the v8.1 firmware update — which will presumably enable the new enhanced Autopilot features that are reliant on the new hardware suite — should roll out sometime around 3 weeks from now.

It’s not clear exactly how much enhanced functionality will arrive with this upcoming over-the-air update, as the company launched the original semi-autonomous functionality in a tiered fashion (following its rollout of the first Autopilot hardware suite). Nonetheless, it should be a notable improvement over what’s out there currently.

Here’s the tweet from Musk:

As a reminder, all Tesla vehicles produced as of October 19 feature the new, comprehensive Autopilot hardware suite — which will, according to the company, allow for fully autonomous driving after a few more years of firmware/software development and regulatory approval.

With regard to new hardware suites themselves, as we reported at the time:

“Eight surround cameras provide 360 degree visibility around the car at up to 250 meters of range. Twelve updated ultrasonic sensors complement this vision, allowing for detection of both hard and soft objects at nearly twice the distance of the prior system. A forward-facing radar with enhanced processing provides additional data about the world on a redundant wavelength, capable of seeing through heavy rain, fog, dust and even the car ahead.”

“To make sense of all of this data, a new onboard computer with more than 40 times the computing power of the previous generation runs the new Tesla-developed neural net for vision, sonar and radar processing software. Together, this system provides a view of the world that a driver alone cannot access, seeing in every direction simultaneously and on wavelengths that go far beyond the human senses.”

Accompanying the tweet discussed above was also the below one (two actually), poking fun at those behind the apparent paid negative PR campaign currently directed against Musk:

“Musk attracts an unusually large and varied number of shrouded online attacks, including phony op-ed pieces, websites with shadowy backers, and individuals who hide behind aliases,” the article stated. “These are tools used by those who don’t have facts on their side,” Tesla’s head of communications, Sarah O’Brien, noted.

Several rich companies and entire industries are threatened by what Elon is doing — oil & gas companies, utilities, conventional car companies, coal companies (though, they’re basically bankrupt or about to be anyway), Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Russian rocket engine companies, etc. When they know their days are numbered, what’s better than to hire hitmen to delay the inevitable?

So, the summary from Elon’s latest tweets:

  1. Good news for those who have been waiting on the 8.1 firmware update — it shouldn’t be too long now.
  2. Paid haters gonna hate.

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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