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Elon Musk promises robot fleet of Tesla taxis by end of 2020

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If Elon Musk gets his way, there will be more than a million Tesla vehicles on the road with self-driving technology by the middle of next year — and a national robot taxi service just months after that.

Speaking at an investor event Monday, the billionaire CEO said the ride-hailing network would begin building its fleet in the coming months as it prepares to launch the autonomous service by the end of 2020.

He predicted a world where Tesla owners could wake up and push a button to send their cars out into the field for pickups — essentially earning money from the comfort of home while they’re asleep or doing chores.

“It is fundamentally insane to buy anything other than a Tesla,” Musk said.

He compared buying a regular, gas-powered vehicle in 2019 — instead of an autonomous one — to someone purchasing a horse instead of a car in the early 1900s.

Tesla is looking to convert thousands of electric cars into self-driving vehicles, with software updates allowing for robots to steer. Musk admitted Monday that there might be some “fender benders,” but Tesla would be liable. He had been hinting at the robot service on Twitter.

“It’s hard to wrap my head around a future where my car might be earning me money through autonomous driving while I’m asleep in my bed or play video games but here we are,” tweeted professional video gamer Marcel “Dexter” Feldkamp, to which Musk said: “That’s exactly the idea. What’s not well understood is that Tesla cars being made *today* will be able to do that for you. Just a matter of finishing the software & going through regulatory approval.”

By 2022, Musk hopes to have Americans whizzing around in Teslas that don’t even have steering wheels or brake pedals. Tech experts described the idea as a “pipe dream” — along with his on-demand robot taxi service.

“It’s all hype,” said Steven Shladover, a retired research engineer at the University of California-Berkeley who specializes in autonomous driving.

“The technology does not exist to do what he is claiming,” Shladover told the Associated Press. “He doesn’t have it, and neither does anybody else.”

Raj Rajkumar, an electrical and computer engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon University, said: “I think it’s basically overpromising, which is typical of Elon Musk.”

Source: https://nypost.com/2019/04/22/elon-musk-promises-robot-fleet-of-tesla-taxis-by-end-of-2020/

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Tesla slices prices on Models S and X as its stock plunges

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Tesla has sliced the price of its two most expensive models after several Wall Street analysts questioned the demand for its cars. The company on Monday cut $3,000 from the price of the Model S sedan and $2,000 from the Model X SUV.

The Model S now starts at $71,250 while the X starts at $71,950. The prices don’t include federal and state tax credits for electric-vehicle purchases.

Tesla wouldn’t say if slowing sales influenced its decision, but it said it periodically adjusts prices and available options, according to the Associated Press. Tesla said the decreases offset price increases from a month ago when it offered longer battery range and added a new drive system and suspension.

The moves come as Tesla’s stock is under pressure, at times dropping below $200 per share this week. Several analysts have questioned whether the company can sell enough cars to cover its expenses without dipping into its shrinking cash reserves.

Shares traded Tuesday afternoon at $205.62, up slightly from Monday’s closing price. They are down more than 38 percent so far this year, cutting the company’s market value more than $20 billion to $36.5 billion. On Monday the shares hit their lowest point since late 2016.

Tesla said in a statement that the reductions are about 2% to 3% on the prices of the S and X. The company last week raised the price of its top-selling Model 3 by $400, pushing the base price to $35,400. “By any reasonable standard, these small changes are not newsworthy,” the company said in a statement.

Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives wrote on Monday that he was concerned about Tesla’s growth prospects and the demand for the Model 3 during the coming quarters. He called Tesla a “code red” situation. “We have continued concerns around Tesla’s ability to balance this ‘perfect storm’ of softer demand and profitability concerns, which will weigh on shares until Musk & Co. prove otherwise in terms of delivering solid results over the coming quarters,” Ives wrote, referring to CEO Elon Musk.

After two profitable quarters, Tesla said last month it lost $702 million in the first quarter of 2019, one of its worst performances in two years. Sales tumbled 31% in the period. Musk predicted another loss in the second quarter but said Tesla would be profitable again by the third quarter.

The carmaker recently closed a $2.7 billion funding round, giving it enough cash to survive another 10 months, Reuters reported. Musk now is on a cost-cutting mission, with plans to review “literally every payment that leaves our bank account,” according to Reuters.

In January, the automaker cut its prices by $2,000 per vehicle, acknowledging that the pending expiration of a $7,500 federal tax credit for its electric cars will hurt sales. The credit is gradually being phased out for Tesla by the end of the year.

Source: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/tesla-stock-price-drop-brings-price-cuts-on-models-s-and-x/

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Genesis Essentia Concept Planned for Production as an EV, Possibly Powered by Hydrogen

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The Genesis Essentia concept is still under development for possible series production, Genesis CEO Manfred Fitzgerald told Car and Driver in a recent interview. “There are so many beautiful concept cars that have a very short life span; they are shown and then never seen again. We are trying not to follow that road,” Fitzgerald said, adding: “We are still working on it, and it is still alive. It shall be an electric vehicle.”

Fitzgerald also said that it would not necessarily be a battery-electric vehicle but that it could also be powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. “The Essentia can have different means of electrification, and that is something that we are currently debating,” he explained.

Fitzgerald is a fan of hydrogen-powered cars: “I believe the battery-electric vehicle is just a transitional technology. I see a lot of potential in telling the hydrogen story in the right way, and as soon as people really see it they will recognize the upsides and all the benefits,” he said, adding that hydrogen cars could “kill a lot of pain points of what they are associating right now with electrification.”

Yet there is a strong hint that the Essentia could actually be a battery-powered car: Hyundai recently invested $90 million in the Croatian carmaker Rimac, which specializes in battery-electric supercars. The Genesis Essentia could be one of the projects Hyundai is planning to assign to Rimac, although a Genesis spokesperson called our question about it “pure speculation at this point.”

The Genesis Essentia was launched at the 2018 New York auto show and dominated automotive coverage of the show. The New York launch was followed by appearances at the Concorso d’Eleganza at Villa d’Este on Lake Como and at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in Monterey, California.

Source: https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a27506234/genesis-essentia-concept-hydrogen-ev-future/

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Apple Accidentally Reveals Radical New iPhone Upgrade

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Unimpressed by Apple’s upcoming iPhone 11 and iPhone XR2? New information directly from Apple itself has teased a red-hot new iPhone upgrade that’s worth waiting for.

Picked up by the ever-alert Patently Apple, Apple has quietly filed a patent which reveals its ambitious plans to bring Touch ID back to iPhones. And it works in a way, unlike anything iPhone owners have experienced before.

Taking inspiration from rivals, Apple has detailed how it will build Touch ID into the display of new iPhones by installing an array of pinhole cameras under the screen. Unlike rivals, however, Apple’s patent shows a touch area which fills the screen allowing users to place a finger anywhere to unlock their device. This is a major breakthrough given the unintuitive nature of textureless in-display readers compared to their physical predecessors.

In addition to this, the tech is clearly taking shape since Apple has included photographs of a working prototype. The furthest step yet for technology the company is clearly accelerating, with no less than four in-display Touch ID patent filings since December (1,2,3,4). Including how user fingerprints will not only be mapped, but 3D modelled.

And even Face ID’s biggest fans should be excited. Firstly, the all-new Touch ID is not designed to replace Face ID but to augment it, giving users both an alternative unlock option as well as military grade security by combining both in hypersensitive situations. Yes, payments would be one example, but Apple is thinking bigger already having filed plans for iPhones to replace your passport and that’s where dual biometrics are crucial.

Excited? You should be. No, Apple’s ugly 2019 iPhones won’t get this but we are seeing more and more reasons why you should skip them anyway. Instead, the big 2020 redesign looks more likely. After all, Apple appears very keen for us to know about it.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/gordonkelly/2019/05/16/apple-new-iphone-touch-id-upgrade-iphone-xs-max-xr-iphone-11-xr2/#103d72d63636

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