Elon Musk Elon Musk wants to change the world by advancing technology

Glossary

A.I. - Artificial Intelligence (or A.I. for short) refers to when a computer can make decision all on it's own without human intervention.

AutoPilot - AutoPilot is the name of the software in the Tesla vehicles that allow the car to drive by itself. The driver still has to keep their hands on the wheel incase they need to take over.

Gigafactory - The Gigafactory is the factory that Elon Musk will be using to produce batteries for the upcoming Tesla vehicles.

Multi-Planetary - The word 'Multi-Planetary' means that humans would live on more planets than just Earth.

R&D - R&D means Research and Development, which means working to innovate and improve your products.

SpaceX - SpaceX is one of the many companies Elon Musk owns, and it specializes in advancing space technology and getting people one Mars.

What is Elon Musk's Opinion About A.I.?

Elon Musk has sort of a mixed opinion about A.I. and the uses of it. He thinks that A.I. could be both dangerous, and useful. In an article by Arjun Kharpal, from CNBC, he quotes Elon Musk as saying, “‘there are many people whose jobs are to drive. In fact I think it might be the single largest employer of people ... Driving in various forms. So we need to figure out new roles for what do those people do, but it will be very disruptive and very quick.’" Elon Musk thinks that self-driving cars are the future of cars and transportation. He believes in this idea so much that he devised a “master plan” in which Tesla will take nearly all profits earned to research cheaper ways to make self-driving cars the norm. In the article, “Culture of innovation: Tesla has triple the R&D of traditional automakers.” by Matt Pressman, the author states that, “Tesla has been investing more and more in research and development over the last few years. In the fiscal year ending December 31, 2015, R&D reached 717.9 million U.S. dollars, setting a clear upward trend.” Elon Musk is spending more money each year in R&D than other car companies that are much larger than Tesla because he wants to change the way people travel around. Along with all the money being spent on R&D, he and Tesla are using an “artificial general intelligence” to develop his self-driving cars and rockets.

What does Elon Musk think about self-driving cars?

Elon Musk and his company Tesla think that self-driving cars would be a very big convenience in the future and would also reduce the fatal accidents that occur every year. According to Alan Boyle, from GeekWire, Elon Musk posted a statement on a blog that he “[is] excited to announce that, as of today, all Tesla vehicles produced in our factory – including Model 3 – will have the hardware needed for full self-driving capability at a safety level substantially greater than that of a human driver.” This means that Elon Musk believes that self-driving cars are much safer than humans, and that he is so confident in the self-driving capability, that he and Tesla are making it a standard for all future cars. Even though all of the Tesla vehicles will come with self-driving capabilities, some people might wonder how much safer is it than a human driver. Robby Berman, from BigThink, states that after the first man to die while using the AutoPilot system, “Musk pointed out that this was the first fatality in 130 million autopilot-driven miles in the U.S., while there’s a fatality caused by a human driver every 94 million miles.” Elon Musk has also mentioned that he plans to use parts of the AutoPilot software to control the rockets at SpaceX to safely get people to Mars so they can colonize it.

This video shows how far along the fully autonomous driving in the Tesla vehicles as of late 2016.

Why does Elon Musk think Mars need to be colonized?

Elon Musk thinks that people will need to go and colonize Mars in order to keep humanity alive. Nick Stockton, author of “Elon Musk Announces his plan to colonize Mars and save humanity,” states that Elon Musk said that he “really think[s] there are two fundamental paths [for humans]: One path is we stay on Earth forever, and some eventual extinction event wipes us out… The alternative is, become a spacefaring and multi-planetary species.” Elon Musk believes that if humans don’t leave Earth and colonize a different planet, such as Mars, that the human race will go extinct. With all of this talk, Elon Musk has drawn some comments from other experts in the space field. Calla Cofield, from Space.com, stated that John Logsdon, a space policy expert, said “The plan [Elon Musk] is proposing on the timescale he is proposing seem to me to on the edge of fantasy...That's just Elon. That's his style." If other experts think that Elon Musk can in fact get humans to Mars, that might give him a push to do just that. In order to get people to Mars, Elon Musk is saving the company money be reusing the rocket booster, and also trying to save people money by making strides in battery technology.

How is Elon Musk revolutionizing batteries?

Elon Musk recently opened the ‘Gigafactory’, which is a factory that is being used to produce batteries that are smaller in size, higher in capacity, and lower in cost. According to Fred Lambert, from Electrek, Elon Musk made the comment that his batteries “[Are] the best cell in the world that is also the cheapest cell.“ Elon Musk making batteries that are smaller and cheaper, could help the world in many ways, such as longer range in electric cars. In the article “Tesla’s Elon Musk says new car battery is a milestone,” the author states that, “The new battery extends the range of performance versions of the new Model S well beyond 300 miles (482.8 km), from about 290 miles.” Allowing an electric vehicle such as the Tesla Model S to travel more than 300 miles on a single charge would allow someone to travel from Virginia to Brooklyn without having to recharge their vehicle. Driving 300-400 miles would take a few hours to do in a car, and about an hour in an airplane. With Elon Musk’s idea to change the way we travel distances, we would be able to travel the same 400 miles in just over 30 minutes.

What is the Hyperloop and why is it a better form of transportation?

Elon Musk came up with the idea of the Hyperloop that would allow people to travel at 700mph to places around the country, minimizing travel time. This would be done by having a tube that is a vacuum, so that the pod that is inside of the tube will have little air resistance to slow it down. According to Will Nicol, from Digital Trends, the hyperloop system will allow a “one way trip [from San Francisco and Los Angeles] on the Hyperloop is projected to take about 35 minutes.” Taking the hyperloop from San Francisco to Los Angeles would only take 35 minutes would allow people to live farther away from their job and not have to drive a long distance. Taking an airplane from San Francisco to Los Angeles would take about an hour, but would also cost more than taking the hyperloop. Daniel Cooper, from Engadget, states that, “42.7 million passengers will ride the system each year, each paying an average price of $28.” With the hyperloop to transport people, it would allow us to save money and time, resources that are important to many people.

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