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What to expect from Tesla’s AI day event

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

This time, the event shall be referred to as “AI Day,” and according to Musk, the “sole objective” is to persuade specialists within the area of robotics and synthetic intelligence to come work at Tesla. The corporate is thought for its excessive fee of turnover, the latest being Jerome Guillen, a key government who labored at Tesla for 10 years earlier than lately stepping down. Attracting and retaining expertise, particularly high tier names, has confirmed to be a problem for the corporate.

The August nineteenth event is scheduled to begin at 5PM PT / 8PM ET at Tesla’s headquarters in Palo Alto, California. In accordance to an invite obtained by Electrek, it would characteristic “a keynote by Elon, {hardware} and software program demos from Tesla engineers, check rides in Mannequin S Plaid, and extra.” Much like Battery Day, the event shall be livestreamed on Tesla’s web site, giving buyers and the media, in addition to the corporate’s many followers, an up-close have a look at what’s underneath improvement.

Musk and different high officers on the firm are anticipated to present updates on the rollout of Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” (FSD) beta model 9, which began reaching extra clients this summer time. We may get particulars about Tesla’s “Dojo” supercomputer, the coaching of its neural community, and the manufacturing of its FSD laptop chips. And there will even be “an inside have a look at what’s subsequent for AI at Tesla past our automobile fleet,” the invitation says.

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

The large information out of Tesla’s first Autonomy Day was the introduction of the company’s first computer chip, a 260 sq. millimeter piece of silicon that Musk described as “the very best chip on the earth.” Initially, Musk had claimed that Tesla’s automobiles wouldn’t want any {hardware} updates, solely software program, on the highway to full autonomy. Turns out that wasn’t exactly the case; they would want this new chip — two of them, really — so as to finally drive themselves.

Quite a bit has occurred between the 2019 event and now. Final month, Tesla began shipping over-the-air software updates for FSD beta v9, its long-awaited, undoubtedly not autonomous, however definitely superior driver help system. That implies that Tesla homeowners who’ve bought the FSD possibility (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 Site visitors Gentle and Cease Management.

The replace doesn’t make Tesla’s automobiles absolutely autonomous, nor will it launch “one million self-driving automobiles” on the highway, as Musk predicted. Tesla homeowners who’ve Full Self-Driving nonetheless want to concentrate to the highway and hold their palms on the steering wheel. Some don’t, which might have tragic consequences.

Cherished by followers, loathed by security advocates, the FSD software program has gotten Tesla in loads of scorching water lately. In recently 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 fact of what Tesla’s automobiles can really do. And now Autopilot is under investigation by federal regulators who need to know why Teslas with Autopilot hold crashing into emergency automobiles.

Apart from the rollout of FSD beta v9, Tesla has additionally had to modify to the worldwide chip scarcity. In a current earnings name, Musk mentioned that the corporate’s engineers had to rewrite some of their software so as to accommodate alternate laptop chips. He additionally mentioned that Tesla’s future progress will rely on a swift decision to the worldwide semiconductor scarcity.

Tesla depends on chips to energy all the pieces 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 could present some perception into that in this week’s event.

Exterior the automobile, Tesla makes use of a strong supercomputer to practice the AI software program that then will get fed to its clients through over-the-air software program updates. In 2019, Musk teased this “tremendous highly effective coaching laptop,” which he referred to as “Dojo.”

“Tesla is growing a [neural net] coaching laptop referred to as Dojo to course of really huge quantities of video information,” 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 laptop system can do in only one second,” NetworkWorld wrote final yr, “you’d have to carry out one calculation each second for 31,688,765,000 years.”

By the use of comparability, chipmaker AMD and laptop builder Cray are at the moment 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 subsequent 160 quickest supercomputers mixed.

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

Earlier this yr, 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 provided extra particulars about Dojo and its neural community.

“For us, laptop imaginative and prescient is the bread and butter of what we do and what allows Autopilot,” Karpathy mentioned, according to Electrek. “And for that to work rather well, we want to grasp the information from the fleet, and practice large neural nets and experiment lots. So we invested lots into the compute.”

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 fascinating 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 workforce 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 could study extra about how Hong’s work and Tesla’s pursuits intersect throughout AI Day.

Musk has been forthcoming about his needs for Tesla to develop into greater than only a automobile firm. “I believe long run, individuals will consider Tesla as a lot as an AI robotics firm as we’re a automobile firm or an power firm,” he mentioned earlier this yr.

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

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

“A key query for buyers shall be what the newest timeline is for attaining full autonomy,” Loup Funds managing associate Gene Munster said in a note. “Regardless of Elon’s formidable objective of the tip of this yr, our greatest guess is that 2025 would be the first yr of public availability of stage 4 autonomy.”

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