Elon Musk makes private visit to Buffalo Tesla plant – Buffalo News
Posted on by Jessica Harington
Elon Musk explains reason for Tesla Model 3s mysterious cockpit camera
Musk, Teslas chairman and CEO, visited the South Park Avenue factory Friday, a Tesla spokeswoman confirmed. She did not elaborate on what Musk did here or offer any other details of the visit. She said Musk, who has never made a public visit to Buffalo, would not be speaking to local media while he is here.
The Buffalo solar panel factory, built and partially equipped by the state with $750 million in taxpayer money as part of the Buffalo Billion economic development program, has taken far longer than expected to develop as Teslas solar energy business has shrunk and the company has focused most of its resources on its electric vehicle business.
Share Share Elon Musk explains the camera inside Teslas Model 3 share tweet Linkedin Reddit Pocket Flipboard Email Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Tesla CEO Elon Musk has clarified that a camera located above the Model 3s rear-view mirror is there for when the car will eventually be able to work as an autonomous taxi. Its there for when we start competing with Uber/Lyft, the CEO wrote on Twitter in response to someone raising privacy concerns about the camera. In case someone messes up your car, you can check the video. It could also augment the cars Sentry Mode to keep an eye on pets and thieves.
The plant, which Tesla has pledged will employ 1,460 people by April 2020, currently has fewer than 800 workers currently after a companywide round of job cuts earlier this year.
Given Musks propensity for making bold timeline predictions that are quietly abandoned later on — such as that time he said that a Tesla would be able to drive itself across the country in 2018 or the sale of a $35,000 Model 3 in 2016— its best not to bet on the functionality arriving this year. Especially when doing so will require the approval of regulators, who move much more slowly than Silicon Valley. Nevertheless, Musk has promised to provide more details about the functionality during a live webcast on April 22.
The Tesla Model 3 has eight cameras on the outside of it to help enable its driver aids and security features, but there’s also one inside that doesn’t do anything…yet.
As well as keeping an eye on passengers while youre not present, Musk also said that the internal camera could be used to supplement cameras on [the] outside of [the] vehicle, as it can see through 2nd side windows & rear window. This is a feature that could foreseeably extend the function of Teslas Sentry mode, by recording thieves during a break-in. Sentry Mode is barely at V1.0. Will improve a lot in coming months, said Musk in a followup tweet.
But it may help you earn money one day, if Telsa’s plans for an autonomous ride-hailing network come to fruition.
Musk first spoke about his plan for Tesla cars to form an autonomous ride-sharing fleet back in 2016 when he released the car companys Master Plan, Part Deux. The CEO said that he plans to allow Tesla owners to make extra money from their cars by renting them out as autonomous ride-sharing vehicles. The result, he hopes, is to dramatically lower the cars cost of ownership to the point where almost anyone could own a Tesla.
CEO Elon Musk has previously detailed the long-term goal for such a system, which would theoretically allow owners of fully self-driving Teslas to hire them out as taxis when they’re not using them for themselves.
Responding to a Twitter question about it from one of his followers, Musk revealed that the camera above the rearview mirror is primarily there to keep an eye on passengers using the service and provide evidence if anyone “messes up” a car.
But then things started going very wrong. There was a round of layoffs that culled 7%. Sales of more expensive versions of the Model 3 (which was initially promised to the public at $35,000) started to fall. To lower prices across the board, Musk said he would shut down most of the companys stores, but then he took it back. The price of the cars went down and then up again (there were literally protests in China over that). There was an issue with customs in China that delayed sales. There was Musks errant February tweet, and Teslas lawyer quitting after being at the company for just two months. Then the SEC came knocking. If it sounds chaotic, thats because it has been. One of Teslas loyal, top shareholders said that Musk “doesnt need to be CEO.”
He added that the cameras can also see out of the windows to provide additional input for other features.
Teslas legal and financial troubles came to a head this week as the company reported weak deliveries and its CEO went to court in Manhattan.The week epitomized the companys troubles in 2019, with investors starting to wonder about CEO Elon Musks leadership and the companys cash position.”This f—ing guys crazy,” one investor told Business Insider. You should forgive yourself if this is the first time youre hearing that the billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk — with his eyes staring straight ahead, unblinking — went before a judge in Manhattan on Thursday.
While some have speculated that it could also be used as a monitor to help assure that a driver is watching the road while using the semi-autonomous Autopilot system, Musk did not suggest that possibility, instead pointing out that owners will have the option of turning it off completely.
A recent CNBC report detailed how much unencrypted personal data, including video, is stored onboard a Tesla and able to be extracted after an accident if not intentionally wiped clean by the owner.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission had ordered Musk to stop making material statements about his car company, Tesla, on Twitter without approval from an attorney designated by the court. Youll recall that Musk caused company-wide chaos last August when he tweeted he had “funding secured” to take the company private. He ultimately settled with the SEC, which described this and other tweets as “false and misleading.”
Musk said that more information about the ride-hailing scheme and the technology behind it will be released during a webcast on April 22.
And that was even before Q1 deliveries turned out to be a dud. The company is expected to report earnings in the coming weeks, and more bad news would put additional pressure on management to right its financial ship. Most likely it will bring up an old question: Will Tesla raise money? The company used to say in no uncertain terms that it would not. Toward the end of last year it softened its stance.