Tesla invited me to its AI Day event last Thursday and I got to witness the future unveiled before my eyes. The event was a learning experience, but Tesla also showed the world what it, a company that is now far more than an automaker, is capable of. I’ve already shared thoughts on witnessing history in the making, the AI bot, and how Tesla’s bringing its cars to life. Today, I’m sharing 3 top takeaways from being at Tesla’s AI Day:
- Tesla’s Identity Continues To Evolve On Its Quest For Sustainability
- Solving Advanced Problems
- Beyond FSD
1. Tesla’s Identity Continues To Evolve On Its Quest For Sustainability
We all know Tesla as the EV carmaker that was founded in 2003 and now leads the world in EV sales. We’ve all have seen how it has evolved since its founding, adding more models as well as solar and energy storage products. Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainability, and for us to collectively make that transition successfully, we need to make changes.
The main thing being at AI Day impressed upon me is that Tesla is now considered a leader in artificial intelligence technology. There were a lot of tech experts there with all sorts of deep technical backgrounds in machine learning, computers, software, etc. At the very beginning of the event, Elon Musk said that Tesla is much more than an electric car company and that it has “deep AI activity in hardware on the inference level and on the training level.”
By unveiling the Dojo supercomputer plans and getting into the details of how it is solving computer vision problems, Tesla showed the world another side to its identity. For now, Tesla is synonymous with EVs, batteries, and AI, but eventually, I think it will be synonymous with the advancement of humanity more broadly.
2. Solving Advanced Problems
Tesla is on a mission to help humanity in many ways. However, “going green” requires more than just buying bamboo straws, using biodegradable trash bags, and planting trees — all of these are good, but they are not enough. The reason why is that we can do only so much.
With EVs, Tesla had to find a way to make a battery-powered car have long range, fast charging, an attractive design, good functionality, and excellent performance. No other company had done it before. Once Tesla showed the way, the industry saw what was possible and followed (often rather slowly). Then Tesla saw a gap in stationary battery storage and EV battery design and production, so it tackled that problem and brought down battery costs significantly. Expanding its mission, Tesla got into the solar business and started offering the cheapest rooftop solar power across the country.
Tesla is trying to be the first to bring broadly available, mass-market robotaxis to the world. The company recently switched to its vision-based approach to autonomy in order to move forward with this. Tesla is becoming a robotics and AI leader at this point, and it’s doing this with its mission at heart in order to solve more and more challenging problems.
3. Beyond FSD
During the Q&A, one of the questions asked centered around Tesla publishing or open-sourcing the technology. Elon explained that the system was expensive to build, so it won’t be fully open-sourced, but he explained that Tesla is open to licensing it to other car companies.
“Well, it is fundamentally extremely expensive to create the system, so somehow that has to be paid for. Unless people want to work for free.
“But I should say that, if other car companies want to license it and use it in their cars, that’d be cool. This is not intended to just be limited to Tesla cars.”
Tesla’s plans for FSD will, I believe, happen. Tesla isn’t a company to frown at challenges and give up. If Tesla does get FSD working, automakers may find that it’s worth the cost of licensing it. Either license the most advanced level of technology for autonomous vehicles or spend years and money in trying to develop it yourself. More broadly, what else with this AI be able to learn if it can learn to drive a car in the vast number of places and situations people drive?
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