By Roger Pressman, Founder of EVANNEX
Have you ever watched a public presentation from a major automobile company that wasn’t sales and marketing associated with a specific vehicle?
Have you ever observed a major automobile company do a public presentation that went into heavy technical detail about the systems that it uses to build its cars?
Have you ever seen a major automobile company develop its own computing technology—from the chip level up—so that it can build better cars?
Have you ever seen a major automobile company publicly discuss a pivotal proprietary software architecture that will: (1) give them a disruptive advantage over their competitors, and (2) lead to level 4 and 5 autonomous driving over the long term—a sea change in automotive culture at levels we still can’t fully comprehend.
Have you ever encountered an automotive CEO who not only can talk intelligently about technical detail, but drives the engineering work that leads to significant leaps in technology.
Well … you have now.
For me, Tesla’s AI Day was a Holy S#$%! moment.
Sure, all of us who have been involved in the Tesla community for almost a decade have encountered and internalized the narrative that Tesla is far more than an auto company, but Thursday’s AI Day proved it — big time.
Based on what I saw on Thursday, Tesla is more of a software company that many companies that just do software. They’re more of a simulation company than firms that focus solely on computer simulation. They do systems and chip design that rivals Intel or TI or NVIDIA. They not only use AI, they create the systems and tools that will lead to next-level AI. And yeah, they also build very cool cars.
For about 2.5 hours, a team of Tesla engineers got into the weeds — software architectures and evolution, the translation of the image space into the vector space, high level simulation for artificial neural net training, the design and implementation of a vertical computing architecture, DOJO, and the complex software that enables and supports it. And, oh yeah, a robot.
It was a tour de force, plain and simple. It justifies the crazy valuations that the markets have attributed to Tesla. It emphasizes the disruptive nature of the company. And it set a benchmark that other auto companies will struggle to meet.
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