Watch Tesla Cybertruck in tug of war against Ford F150 and size comparison

Tesla has released the tug of war video between the Tesla Cybertruck and a Ford F150 that they showed during the unveiling and it serves as an interesting size comparison.

In the build-up to the unveiling of the Tesla electric pickup truck, CEO Elon Musk made some comparisons to the Ford F150, one of the best-selling pickup trucks in the world.

Previously, he said that the Tesla Cybertruck would cost less than $50,000 and have better specs than the Ford F150.

During the presentation on Thursday, Musk again took a few shots at existing pickup trucks and he even singled out the Ford F150 by debuting a video of Ford’s flagship truck having a tug-of-war against the Tesla Cybertruck prototype.

Apparently, the Tesla Cybertruck was also driving uphill against the Ford F150.

The CEO has now released the video on social media:

Embedded video

As you can see, the Tesla Cybertruck easily won the tug-of-war, although to be fair, these competitions are all about traction, which can be affected by other factors than just the vehicles.

However, in general, electric motors are able to produce more torque quicker than internal combustion engines.

Ford, which is developing an all-electric F150, itself demonstrated that when they released a video of a Ford F-150 all-electric pickup prototype towing over 1 million lbs of train carts.

We have also seen Tesla Model X put to the test in tug of wars with a Hummer and a Land Cruiser.

Interestingly, Tesla’s tug-of-war video also offers a rare size comparison with another pickup truck:

The Tesla Cybertruck appears to be slightly bigger than the Ford F150 – although it’s difficult to tell from the video.

Depending on its configuration, a Ford F150 can be between 209-251″ in length, 80-86″ in width, and 75-79″ high.

Tesla hasn’t confirmed the actual dimensions of the Cybertruck yet, but Musk said on stage that it is roughly the same size as a Ford F150.

source: https://electrek.co/2019/11/25/tesla-cybertruck-tug-war-against-ford-f150-size-comparison/

BILL GATES-FUNDED STARTUP UNVEILS “HOLY GRAIL” OF SOLAR ENERGY

Laser Focus

A Bill Gates-backed startup called Heliogen just unveiled new technology that could help make the manufacturing industry carbon neutral.

Heliogen used an artificial intelligence algorithm to position a massive array of mirrors so that they all redirected sunlight onto a single point — heating it to over 1,000 degrees Celsius, according to CNN, which is about a quarter of the temperature on the surface of the Sun. That’s hot enough to manufacture things like steel and cement, raising the possibility of eradicating a major source of greenhouse gas emissions by switching to solar.

Solar Oven

Heliogen isn’t the first to focus sunlight and create what’s called a solar oven. But it is the first to reach such a high temperature, an achievement that the company credits to its use of AI to position the mirrors.

If the technology scales up, Heliogen suspects it could replace fossil fuels at cement manufacturing plants, which the International Energy Agency calculates are responsible for seven percent of global CO2 emissions.

“We are rolling out technology that can beat the price of fossil fuels and also not make the CO2 emissions,” Heliogen CEO Bill Gross told CNN. “And that’s really the holy grail.”

Spring Cleaning

Gross has ambitious plans to use solar ovens to decarbonize vast swathes of the economy. He’s now trying to scale up his company’s technology so that it could power the facilities that produce steel, cement, and even hydrogen fuel.

“If you can make hydrogen that’s green, that’s a gamechanger,” Gross told CNN. “Long term, we want to be the green hydrogen company.”

source: https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/19/business/heliogen-solar-energy-bill-gates/index.html

Tech now a hotbed for unionizing

Tech companies, once seemingly immune to unions, are now becoming hotbeds of employee activism and protests. Google hired an “anti-union consulting firm” this week, per The New York Times. In addition, WeWork employees recently formed a coalition and folks at Kickstarter are pushing for a union. Axios suggests the following factors are “opening big cracks” in the tech model: Bigger companies have a legion of contractors who don’t see the lavish benefits of full-timers, creating a world of “haves” and “have nots.” And gig economy platforms have stripped some workers of rights and benefits. 

source: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/news/tech-now-a-hotbed-for-unionizing-4467091/

Tesla Cybertruck will be firm’s first solar car, Elon Musk confirms

The Tesla CEO once derided solar cars. It seems he’s changed his mind, at least partially

The Tesla Cybertruck will be the company’s first electric vehicle to offer solar panels as an option, Elon Musk confirmed Friday. The Tesla CEO revealed that the all-electric pickup truck, announced Thursday, will offer the option to add the panels to add more range to the battery.

On Twitter Friday, Musk wrote:

Will be an option to add solar power that generates 15 miles per day, possibly more. Would love this to be self-powered. Adding fold out solar wings would generate 30 to 40 miles per day. Avg miles per day in US is 30.

It’s a big step for the company, which has historically shunned adding panels directly onto the car. Musk has previously dismissed panels as offering little benefit versus placing panels on the roof of a house. But competitors like Sono Motors and Lightyear have announced vehicles that could cover the average commute entirely on sunlight, suggesting that panels on the car could hold value.

Tesla Cybertruck.

Tesla Cybertruck solar: how does it compare to other cars?

Tesla offers the Cybertruck in three configurations:

  • $39,900: Single-motor rear-wheel drive with over 250 miles of range, over 7,500 pounds of towing capacity, and 0 to 60 mph in less than 6.5 seconds.
  • $49,900: Dual-motor all-wheel drive with over 300 miles of range, over 10,000 pounds of towing capacity, and 0 to 60 mph in less than 4.5 seconds.
  • $69,900: Tri-motor all-wheel drive with over 500 miles of range, over 14,000 pounds of towing capacity, and 0 to 60 mph in less than 2.9 seconds.

Beyond these models, Tesla has so far confirmed three optional extras: full self-driving at a cost of $7,000, an all-terrain vehicle with an unknown price, and now the solar addition. Production is set to start in late 2021.

Musk claims the solar shade will add 15 miles per day. By comparison, the €25,000 Sono Motors’ Sion offers 158 miles on a full charge and can add around 21 miles of charge per day. The €149,000 Lightyear One can travel 450 miles on one charge and adds 7.5 miles per hour with its solar array.

The Sion in action.

Adding solar panels is something of a turnaround for Musk, who previously dismissed the idea. At the National Governors Association meeting in Rhode Island in July 2017, Musk suggested that panels on the cars are less helpful than on the home.

“Putting solar panels on the car itself?” Musk asked. “Not that helpful, because the actual surface of the car is not that much, and cars are often inside. The least efficient place to put solar is on the car.”

Tesla offers a selection of home-based solar products, a product line that came to fruition with Tesla’s purchase of SolarCity in late 2016. In October of that year, Musk unveiled a “house of the future” with a Tesla Model 3 charging in the garage, a Powerwall battery, and a Solar Roof completing the transition to zero-emissions energy in the home.

The company started installing the roof in the spring of 2018, but installations were limited. In March 2019, Musk declared that Tesla would focus more on solar products now Model 3 production had scaled up. This year it’s rolled out a retrofit solar option where users can rent on a monthly basis. It’s also rolled out a third-generation Solar Roof, which the firm claims costs less than a new roof plus solar and also enables faster installation times. The company’s third-generation supercharging system is also expected to enable the rollout of solar canopies, so users can charge their car from sunlight at up to 250 kilowatts.

With solar also coming to the Cybertruck, it seems Tesla is looking to get solar into more places than ever before.

Tesla Cybertruck next to Elon Musk.

source: https://www.inverse.com/article/61157-tesla-cybertruck-solar-panels

Introducing the Everyday Robot Project

Teaching robots how to help us in our everyday lives

The world of robotics today is a lot like the world of computing 50 years ago. There’s lots of talk and optimism about what robots could do to help people in their everyday lives, yet that future is still a ways off. Most robots are where mainframe computers were in the ’60s and ’70s: expensive specialist machines, operated by experts, performing specialized tasks in specially-designed environments.

A series of innovations, most notably the invention of the microprocessor, saw computers become cheaper, smaller, and much more powerful than anyone had thought possible. I believe we’re on the cusp of a similar transition in robotics. Recent advances in machine learning, combined with increasingly sophisticated sensor technology and low cost hardware, mean that we are much closer than ever to robots becoming mainstream.

For the last few years my team, The Everyday Robot Project, has been working to see if it’s possible to create robots that can do a range of useful tasks in the messy, unstructured spaces of our everyday lives. Our moonshot is to see if we can make robots as helpful to people in the physical world as computers now are in the virtual world. It’s still early days, but I’m excited to share some of our progress today.

Moving from scripting to learning

Everyday environments like our homes or offices aren’t governed by a set of straightforward rules that robots can follow. Think about the people around you right now, wandering as they walk and text, or stopping suddenly to have a chat or make a detour to the refrigerator. Even everyday objects, from chairs to coffee cups, appear, move, and disappear in ways that we expect and anticipate, but that are very mysterious to a robot. Where humans naturally combine seeing, understanding, navigating, and acting to move around and achieve their goals, robots typically need careful instruction and coding to do each of these things. This is why it quickly gets very complicated for robots to perform tasks we find easy in highly changeable environments.

For robots to be useful in everyday environments we need to move away from painstakingly coding them to do specific and structured tasks in exactly the right way at exactly the right time. We have concluded that you have to teach machines to perform helpful tasks; you cannot program them.

In the early days of our project, we did this work in the lab, collaborating with teams at Google AI. Our tests showed that by giving robots simple tasks and then having them practice, it is indeed possible to teach them to develop new and better capabilities. We investigated how robots can learn from human demonstration, from shared experience, and how we can accelerate learning by simulating robots in the cloud. Once we saw what was possible, we began plotting our path out of the lab and into the real world to test their skills on useful tasks and to see if they could do them reliably and repeatedly. This is where we have some optimistic results to report.

Sorting out how to do useful tasks in the real world

Over the last few months we’ve been running an experiment at our offices that puts the robots to work on a task that has just the right amount of complexity: sufficiently hard that we honestly weren’t sure whether it could be done, but not so hard that it would take a year to get a clear “it’s working” or “it’s impossible” signal. We also wanted to do something clearly useful. So we decided to teach robots how to sort waste — dividing cups, bottles, snack wrappers, and more across landfill, recycling, and compost bins.

Everyone has put waste into the wrong bin at some point, whether as an “oops” or because our mind was somewhere else. As a result, contaminated items that could have been composted or recycled have to be sent to landfill. In a typical office, no one sifts through items to check for contamination, so this felt like a valuable problem to put our robots to work on.

For our robots to learn how to do these tasks, we’re using a variety of machine learning techniques. These include simulation, reinforcement learning, and collaborative learning. Each night, tens of thousands of virtual robots practice sorting the waste in a virtual office in our cloud simulator; we then move the training to real robots to refine their sorting ability. This real-world training is then integrated back into the simulated training data and shared back with the rest of the robots so that the experience and learning of each robot is shared with them all.

Early promising results

During the last few months, our robots have sorted thousands of pieces of trash and reduced our office’s waste contamination levels from 20% — which is what it is when people put objects in the trays — to less than 5%. These results are promising for a few reasons. First, they show that we’re able to create a robotic system that integrates all of the robot’s capabilities to do something genuinely useful: reducing the contamination levels to less than 5% successfully diverts waste from going to landfill. Second, they prove that it’s possible for robots to learn how to perform new tasks in the real world just through practice, rather than having engineers “hand code” every new task, exception, or improvement.

From left to right, this image shows the robots improving their sorting ability entirely through practice. In the far left image the robot primarily practiced in simulation and it can do the picking and placing action, but it misses the cup. In the middle image, after more real-world training the robot can pick up a bottle and place it in the correct bin. In the final image on the right, after even more real-world training the robot is able to pick up a can after maneuvering other objects and then place it in the correct tray.

Our next challenge is to see if we can take what the robot learned in this task and apply that learning to another task without rebuilding the robot or writing a ton of code from scratch. This could prove to be impossible, but we’ll give it a shot.

As I’ve shared before, building cool robot technology is not an end in itself; instead, we see robots as tools that we can put to work to help us extend our own capabilities.It will be years before the helpful robots we imagine are here, but we’re looking forward to sharing more robot adventures along the way. You can learn more about what we’re up to on our project page.

source: https://blog.x.company/introducing-the-everyday-robot-project-27860f3461a4

Tesla Cybertruck will have solar roof option to add 15 miles of range per day

Elon Musk confirmed that Tesla’s new Cybertruck electric pickup truck will be offered with a solar roof option over the truck’s bed that will be able to add 15 miles of range per day.

We’ve discussed solar roofs on electric vehicles before, most recently with the one on the new Prius Prime, but the recurring problem is that they rarely generate enough power to be worth it.

For example, we estimated that the solar cells on the Prius Prime’s roof could generate enough power to add about ~2 miles of range during the day. And of course, that’s highly dependent on where you are in the world and where you park your car.

However, solar power technology has been improving greatly and it is increasingly starting to make more sense.

There are even startups, like Sono Motors and Lightyear, developing electric vehicles mainly powered through onboard solar power.

Musk has been looking into the idea. In 2017, he said that he pushed his Tesla engineers to look into integrating solar cells on Model 3, but he didn’t think it was worth it.

Now for the new Tesla Cybertruck, the CEO said on Twitter today that it will actually be an option:

“Will be an option to add solar power that generates 15 miles per day, possibly more. Would love this to be self-powered. Adding fold out solar wings would generate 30 to 40 miles per day. Average miles per day in US is 30.”

Musk is talking about adding solar cells to the retractable roof over the bed of the Tesla Cybertruck:

The CEO is also suggesting that deployable solar wings could also be added for even more solar power.

Musk had previously discussed the idea of a “deployable solar shield like a retractable hard top” for electric vehicles.

The feature could particularly be useful with the Cybertruck camper configuration that Tesla is planning to offer as an option.

Electrek’s Take

The best way to power your electric car with solar is almost always having a solar array at your home.

However, it is starting to make sense if you have a larger surface on which you can install the solar cells, like on the top of the Cybertruck’s bed.

There’s something really appealing about the idea of your vehicle producing its own power and even if only 15 miles per day, it’s a cool idea that for those 15 miles, your truck is powered by the sun rays that hit its roof for a few hours.

I think if the option is not too expensive, like between $2,500 and $4,000, a lot of people are going to go for it.

As for the deployable system, it all depends on its implementation and how convenient it is to deploy and store.

source: https://electrek.co/2019/11/22/tesla-cybertruck-solar-roof-option-add-range/

Fancy A Customised Workout All Thanks To A Virtual Reality Headset?

BLACK BOX VR IS SEEKING TO CHANGE THE WAY WE APPROACH FITNESS BY REVOLUTIONISING THE GYM EXPERIENCE.

It seems to be abundantly clear that we are living in a health-obsessed age. A cursory search on Netflix unveils numerous documentaries detailing the benefits of various diets, athletic performance, endurance events, and sporting challenges that make the marathon seem positively pedestrian in comparison. And while that may relate to mere viewing habits, when it comes to what we put into our bodies, we’re more diligent than ever before. Food is something to be measured, macros are to be counted, and whereas it used to be a mere case of eating more salads for weight loss, now we have a plethora of diets to choose from with the 5:2 diet, intermittent fasting, and keto plans just being three of them.

And yet, despite all the advancements we’re seeing in fitness and health, one thing that has yet to experience the benefits of technology at large, is the motivation we require to get our ass to the gym. Watch all the documentaries you want, but when it comes to actually getting in shape, staring down the treadmill at the gym still sees us procrastinate and think of every excuse possible to get out of that prism of cardiovascular torture. Thankfully, this could all be about to change thanks to one innovative venture in the fitness industry. Its name: Black Box VR.

If it sounds like the kind of thing you’d find at an Esports tournament, you’re not that far off. Founded by fitness fanatics Ryan DeLuca and Preston Lewis, and with the help of many talented individuals, the pair has created a product sure to change the way we exercise. As their website states, “After trying virtual reality for the first time, Ryan and Preston knew they were experiencing a magically immersive technology that, if paired with resistance training, gaming principles and high intensity cardio, will be the winning combination for people trying to reach their health and fitness goals.”

The VR gym experience works like this: you step foot into a Black Box VR boutique gym that is fully equipped with the VR headsets and product technology, using the product you then immerse yourself in a new world of fitness training. The custom fitness headset creates a new world for the gym-goer, offering users a full body workout that is so immersive “you’ll forget you are working out at all.”

According to the creators, some workouts will include having a virtual trainer alongside you, guiding and encouraging you through the workout (think Wii Fit but more intensive). Black Box VR also integrates resistance training through an electronically controlled cable system that’s seamlessly integrated into the game experience. How does it work? Well, when you reach out to grab a rope or lift handles, you’ll actually feel real cables, set to the exact resistance you need.

It’s incredible to think just how effective this kind of training will be for developing strength and endurance. Sadly though, it will be some time before we get to experience the perks of the VR gym world, as Black Box VR is currently only available in flagship gyms in San Francisco, however it will be licensing its products to various gym chains. Let’s all hope it makes its way across the pond, soon.

source: https://www.gq.com.au/fitness/workout/fancy-a-customised-workout-all-thanks-to-a-virtual-reality-headset/news-story/e43f2567d710e5f341b21c006fb89255

Tesla’s pickup truck has a camper configuration

Tesla says its Cybertruck electric pickup truck is going to be ‘versatile’ and it is planing some different accessories, including a camper configuration.

Ever since the launch of the Model S back in 2012, some Tesla owners were willing to go camping with the luxury sedan as they figured out that a small mattress would fit in the back when the seats are down.

It was a fun experience, but you couldn’t let the climate control run for a long time when parked.

Some found workarounds, but it often results in lights staying on and other annoyances such as leaving your car unlocked.

In 2017, Tesla released a software update with the ability to keep Climate Control running for an extended period of time while the vehicle is parked.

Last year, Elon Musk said that Tesla is working on an official ‘party and camper mode’.

With the new Tesla Cybertruck, it sounds like this mode is going to be particularly useful with a camper configuration that Tesla unveiled on its website:

Musk didn’t talk about it during his presentation, but Tesla did release this picture and wrote on its website:

“From rugged to refined, Cybertruck is completely adaptable for your needs. Prepare for every experience with a versatile utilitarian design — including on-board power and compressed air.”

In a tweet today, the CEO confirmed that Tesla is going to sell the accessory.

It not only consists of a tent that can be attached to the back of the truck, but it also appears to have a bed platform for a mattress:

Underneath the bed platform, Tesla seems to have designed an accessory consisting of an extension with kitchen equipment that can slide out of the bed:

Rivian unveiled a similar camper configuration for its R1T electric pickup truck earlier this year.

As Tesla announced last night, the Tesla Cybertruck is going to be available in late 2021 and it starts at $39,900.

Electrek’s Take

I thought it was cool when Rivian did it and I still think it’s cool now.

Accessories for pickup trucks are very popular and I can see Tesla making a bunch of different modular systems to fit inside the bed or “cyber vault”.

I can even see Tesla making its own trailer for the Cybertruck.

The longest-range version of the Cybertruck, which is rated at 500 miles, has a significant towing capacity and should still have a decent range when towing a decent-size trailer.

source: https://electrek.co/2019/11/22/tesla-cybertruck-pickup-truck-camper-configuration/

Tesla Cybertruck will get up to 500 miles of range and start at $39,900

Can withstand sledgehammers and bullets, but not metal balls thrown at close range, apparently

Tesla CEO Elon Musk just unveiled the company’s first electric pickup truck, also known as Cybertruck, at an event in Los Angeles, California. The truck will come in three versions with 250 miles, 300 miles, and 500 miles of range, respectively. And it will start at $39,900, Musk said. The truck won’t be rolling off the assembly line until late 2021, but preorders can be made at tesla.com/cybertruck.

Always a showman, Musk put the truck through its paces in an effort to demonstrate its ruggedness. He had Franz von Holzhausen, Tesla’s chief of design, hit the door of the truck with a sledgehammer several times, claimed it was practically bulletproof, and showed the truck winning a tug-of-war with a Ford F150 and a drag race with a Porsche 911.

However, when he tried to show how shatterproof the “armored” glass was, things went awry. A metal ball thrown by von Holzhausen shattered both the truck’s windows. “We’ll fix it in post,” a sheepish Musk quipped.

source: https://www.theverge.com/2019/11/21/20975475/tesla-cybertruck-announcement-musk-electric-truck-pickup-features-range-price-release-date

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