Posts tagged with "Tesla"

Paranormal mystery: Tesla driving through ‘Conjuring’ graveyard senses people walking

February 12, 2024

Are there real ghosts walking around in a famous graveyard in Rhode Island? According to the sensors in one man’s Tesla, the answer may be an eerie yes! In a bizarre event shared on TikTok, the driver’s Tesla sensors purportedly detected what appeared to be several “people” walking around his car. The problem is he and his passengers were driving through an empty cemetery, reports Study Finds.

For those who believe in ghosts, you may be excited to learn that this potentially paranormal shocker took place on the road along a cemetery near the Arnold Estate, the real-life inspiration for the 2013 movie “The Conjuring.” As the unnamed driver of the Tesla passed this graveyard, the images of people walking appeared on the motion sensor display.

In the video on TikTok, a group of people driving in the car stops to stare at the terrifying sight unfolding on the pedestrian sensor screen, you can hear them react in shock as more and more “ghosts” appear in the graveyard!

At one point, it even looks as if the ghosts are surrounding the Tesla, which spooks the riders even more. The video does show someone standing in front of a grave as they pull in, and the driver says his cousin and a friend were outside and eventually got in the car. That certainly would indicate an instance of the sensors picking up a person, but as the number of individuals grows and they appear to be in multiple places, the travelers are left laughing in confusion.

The unnamed driver, who claims to be a Tesla employee, adds that this isn’t some funny prank built into the car’s software by Tesla founder Elon Musk.

“[I can] confirm this is not an Easter egg Elon added as I’ve tried this many times. It’s not just picking up the gravestones, as even if it was they would show as stationary on the screen,” the driver said, according to a report by SWNS.

So, what was the car picking up on its screen? It might help first to understand how the sensors on a Tesla work. These sensors are calibrated to detect objects and people in typical driving environments. A graveyard, with its unique layout and objects, might present atypical conditions that the car’s system isn’t optimized to handle—leading to unusual readings on the sensor system.

Tesla’s pedestrian detection recently underwent a major transition. Prior to 2022, the system used a combination of sensors and software. This combined:

  • Radar: Radar sensors emit radio waves that bounce off objects and return to the sensor, providing information about the object’s distance and speed. However, radar waves can penetrate some materials but not others, and they’re generally not capable of detecting objects buried underground.
  • Cameras: Tesla vehicles use multiple cameras to provide a 360-degree view around the car. The cameras feed visual information to the car’s computer system, which uses image recognition algorithms to identify objects like cars, pedestrians, and road signs.
  • Ultrasonic sensors: These are used primarily for close-range detection and are especially useful for parking assistance. They use sound waves to detect objects around the vehicle. Like radar, these waves are not designed to penetrate the ground significantly.
  • Autopilot and full self-driving (FSD) software:This software analyzes the combined data from the sensors to identify pedestrians, predict their movements, and take potential actions such as braking or issuing warnings.

Since 2022, most Tesla models (Model 3, Model Y, Model S, and Model X) have transitioned to Tesla Vision, a system that relies solely on cameras and vision-based software. This approach uses a sophisticated “occupancy network,” which analyzes camera footage to identify and differentiate objects—including pedestrians—with high accuracy.

It’s highly unlikely that the sensors were detecting bodies underground. More plausible explanations could include:

  • False positives from the sensor system: The car’s sensors, particularly the cameras, might be misinterpreting tombstones, trees, or other structures as people. This can happen due to the shapes, sizes, or even reflective properties of these objects.
  • Software glitches: The algorithms processing the sensor data might misinterpret what the sensors are picking up—especially in unusual environments like a graveyard.
  • Environmental factors: Things like shadows, lighting conditions, or weather might affect how the sensors perceive their surroundings.

While it’s unclear which type of Tesla this was, it’s clear that the high-tech car sees “something” in one of the creepiest places in the United States.

Research contact: @StudyFinds

BMW feels the heat, stops charging for warming ‘cheeks’

September 11, 2023

When BMW started charging an $18-per-month subscription for heated seats in 2022, the backlash was swift and brutal. Customers banded together—urging others not to encourage this type of behavior from automakers, lest it open the door to more perceived avariciousness, reports TechCrunch.

“You’ve already paid for it!” cried one Reddit user. “The f**king hardware is in your car and you’ve already paid!”

Customers complained that a subscription for a hardware feature only makes sense if the upfront cost is small or nonexistent—not when someone has already spent around $50,000 on a luxury car.

Now ,it appears that BMW will no longer charge customers to activate hardware-based functions in the future, according to Autocar’s interview with Pieter Nota, BMW board member for sales and marketing. Nota did say, however, that BMW intends to expand its offering of on-demand software services and functions with future models, like driving and parking assistance. The automaker is working to increase connectivity to cars with over-the-air updates.

“We thought that we would provide an extra service to the customer by offering the chance to activate that later, but the user acceptance isn’t that high,” Nota told Autocar. “People feel that they paid double—which was actually not true, but perception is reality, I always say. So that was the reason we stopped that.”

Paying for and downloading software services, on the other hand, is well accepted by consumers who are used to that process by dint of having smartphones.

Other automakers are also introducing subscriptions to software services in order to boost revenue. Tesla, for example, famously charges $12,000 (again) for its “Full Self-Driving” driver assistance system. And General Motors aims to have a Netflix-sized subscription business by 2030 by selling services like its OnStar in-vehicle concierge.

Research contact: @TechCrunch

Tesla’s new Model X and S standard range electric cars are cheaper—but with one big caveat

August 17, 2023

Tesla‘s new “standard range” versions of its popular Model X and Model S electric vehicles (EVs) offer consumers a lower price tag, but with one major caveat: They can’t travel as far on one charge, reports USA Today.

This week, Tesla quietly rolled out versions of the vehicles—which are $10,000 cheaper than the regular models. Electrek, a news outlet focused on electric transportation, was the first to report on the new models.

The lower price of the new models—$88,490 for the new Model X SUV, and $78,490 for the new Model S sedan—comes at the expense of the distance they can travel before needing to be recharged.

The Model X’s standard vehicle has an estimated range of 269 miles, or 79 miles less than its more expensive version. The estimated 320-mile range of the standard Model S has been reduced by 85 miles.

The regular models of both vehicles also have a slightly faster acceleration speed. 

The new options comes as the carmaker run by billionaire Elon Musk is facing more competition in the electric vehicle industry.

In late July, seven major automakers— General Motors, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes, and Stellantisannounced intentions to join forces to build a North American electric vehicle charging network that would rival Tesla’s.

The multibillion-dollar investment would see nearly double the number of fast-charging plugs in the United States and Canada by next summer; as more and more consumers switch from gas-powered vehicles to those that run on electricity.

The move would be a direct challenge to Tesla’s long reign. The company’s network currently has the largest number of fast chargers in North America, with 2,050 stations and more than 22,000 plugs, according to the Department of Energy.

The network formed by the seven automakers would be open to all electric vehicle owners, including Teslas.

Research contact: @USATODAY

Going down? Elon Musk’s drop in fortunes breaks world record

January 12, 2023

Elon Musk has broken the world record for the largest loss of personal fortune in history. From November 2021 through December 2022 he lost around US$165bn (£137bn), Guinness World Records has announced in a blog on its website.

The figures are based on data from publisher Forbes, but Guinness said other sources suggested Musk’s losses could have been higher. The drop in valuation follows a plunge in value of shares in Musk’s electric car firm Tesla after he bought Twitter last year.

His US$44bn (£36bn) takeover of the social media company has sparked concerns among investors that Musk is no longer giving Tesla enough attention, reports the BBC.

Musk’s losses since November 2021 surpass the previous record of US$58.6bn (£47bn), suffered by Japanese tech investor Masayoshi Son in 2000.

The estimated loss is based on the value of his shares, which could regain their value—meaning that Musk’s wealth would increase again.

In December, the Tesla boss lost his position as richest person in the world to Bernard Arnault, the chief executive of French luxury goods company LVMH, which owns fashion label Louis Vuitton.

The value of Tesla shares dropped around 65% in 2022, in part because of Tesla’s performance. The firm delivered just 1.3 million vehicles during the year—falling short of Wall Street expectations.

However, Musk’s takeover of Twitter—where he has sparked controversy by firing large numbers of staff and changing content moderation policies—is behind most of the share slump.

Many Tesla investors believe he should be focusing on the electric vehicle company as it faces falling demand amid recession fears, rising competition, and COVID-linked production challenges.

“Long-term fundamentals [at Tesla] are extremely strong. Short-term market madness is unpredictable,” Musk tweeted after the stock markets closed for the year in December 2022.

Musk is now worth about US$178bn (£152bn), according to Forbes, while Bernard Arnault has an estimated value of US$188bn (£155bn).

Research contact: @BBCNews

Hertz, BP partner on electric-vehicle charging stations

September 28, 2022

Car-rental company Hertz and energy firm BP have signed a deal to develop and manage a network of electric-vehicle charging stations across North America, reports The Wall Street Journal.

BP Pulse, which is BP’s EV charging business, would power and manage Hertz’s charging infrastructure under the memorandum of understanding, the companies said. The charging infrastructure will be open to taxi and ride-sharing drivers, as well as the general public, the companies said.

Hertz—which has agreed to buy cars from Tesla, Polestar, and General Motors—said it has tens of thousands of EVs available at 500 locations across 38 states. Its goal is for one-quarter of its fleet to be electric by the end of 2024, Hertz said.

The car-rental company last week said it had signed on to buy 175,000 EVs from GM over a five-year period.

Hertz said it already has invested in thousands of EV charging stations across its locations. The deal with BP will help expand its charging footprint.

Car-rental companies have been adding electric cars to their fleets in order to bulk up their premium offers and to help burnish their environmental credentials with investors.

Demand for electric cars has surged in recent years, but charging infrastructure across the United States has failed to keep pace—prompting some complaints of challenges in using electric cars, particularly on long, interstate trips.

Research contact: @WSJ

Harry’s moves beyond cheap razors for next growth spurt

April 25, 2022

New York city-based Harry’s catapulted to fame by selling sleek, low-priced razors over the Internet. A decade on, it’s now generating more than half of its sales from brick-and-mortar stores, its founders recently told Ad Age.

The company, which made a splash taking on what founders Andy Katz-Mayfield and Jeff Raider saw as big corporations’ overpriced offerings, is seeing the sales payoff from its expansion to traditional retailers such as Target. It’s also growing in overseas markets, including France and Germany, and entering new categories such as women’s shaving, haircare, deodorant and even cat products. 

The moves by Harry’s could shed light on what’s next for direct-to-consumer businesses as enthusiasm for the model wanes, given many businesses have struggled to turn a profit or maintain growth. In an interview, Katz-Mayfield said there’s still a lot of “unmet consumer need.” In addition to its shaving business, the company now owns brands including Cat Person; and the hair care line, Headquarters.

Raider pointed to growth potential in the company’s core lines of toiletries and razors. But the company has also made inroads into other areas—last year 43% of Harry’s revenue came from categories other than shaving. The company has high hopes for businesses such as pet care and wellness products.

In December, closely held Harry’s made its first-ever acquisition of a brand with the purchase of deodorant startup Lume for an undisclosed price. The brand, founded by a gynecologist looking to help clients dealing with below-the-belt odor, is the kind of solution to a real problem that Harry’s is looking to develop or acquire, according to Katz-Mayfield.

Harry’s belongs to a group of startups that launched in the last decade focusing on Internet sales and subscription services. Now that many of these brands are well established, investors are watching to see whether they can maintain momentum. Many, such as bedding seller Brooklinen, are increasingly turning to physical retail.

Harry’s said sales last year grew 47% to $547 million, including the Lume acquisition, with 54% of that total coming from brick and mortar. The company first entered the mass retail market in 2016, and its products are available at large stores including Target in the United States, Walmart in Canada, and Tesco in the United Kingdom.

Competition in consumer goods has intensified, however, and growth will likely get harder to come by.

But investors remain optimistic: Harry’s raised $140 million earlier this year to help fund continued growth and is currently valued at around $2 billion. It had completed a $155 million funding round in 2021 at a $1.7 billion valuation following an acquisition attempt by Edgewell Personal Care that was thwarted by U.S. antitrust regulators.

The co-founders declined to comment on the timing of a potential public offering. Harry’s is “pretty excited about being an independent company right now,” Raider said.

They didn’t dismiss the possibility of a listing, however. “We think Harry’s over time can and should be an interesting, attractive public company,” Katz-Mayfield said.

Research contact: @adage

(April Fools!) Elon Musk is not joining Twitter’s board, after all

April 12, 2022

Twitter’s top brass thought one of the platform’s top trolls had decided to join their ranks, but in the end he was just trolling them, too, reports The Daily Beast.

Late Sunday the social media company’s CEO, Parag Agrawaltweeted that Elon Musk would not join Twitter’s board—reversing a much-publicized plan announced April 5. Musk had revealed around the same time that he had bought up a 9.2% stake in the business, becoming its largest shareholder in the process.

“Elon’s appointment to the board was to become officially effective 4/9, but Elon shared that same morning that he will no longer be joining the board. I believe this is for the best,” Agrawal wrote. Seemingly alluding to Musk’s provocations and the accompanying media fervor, Agrawal added, “There will be distractions ahead, but our goals and priorities remain unchanged.”

Musk, for his part, simply tweeted a version of the following emoji: 🤭.

Agrawal’s comments marked a dramatic change in tone from his tweets on April 5, when he said that Musk was “both a passionate believer and intense critic of the service, which is exactly what we need on @Twitter, and in the boardroom.”

Days later, Musk spent part of the weekend polling his followers about ways to change Twitter, in forms both serious and farcical.

“Delete the w in twitter?” he asked on Sunday. The poll’s two possible answers: “Yes” and “Of course.”

Separately, Musk mulled whether Twitter’s headquarters should be converted into a homeless shelter and offered policy suggestions for the company’s paid membership service, Twitter Blue, including a new type of verification badge.

Musk was perhaps dissuaded from joining the board because of a stipulation that would have banned him from acquiring more than a 14.9% ownership stake in the business. To some spectators, including Musk’s legion of followers on Twitter, the provision suggested that the company’s leadership team merely wanted to restrict how much influence he could amass.

Musk had polled his followers in March about whether Twitter was adhering to principles of free speech (more than 70% said no). When news of his investment subsequently became public, it seemed that he had bought stock in response to their feedback.

In fact, filings show, he started buying shares at least as far back as January.

Over the years, Musk has used the platform to announce official news from his main companies, Tesla and SpaceX; to sound off on critics; and to troll the internet. That has landed him in hot water a number of times.

Most infamously, in 2018 he declared that he was considering taking the electric automaker private at a price of $420 per share—sending the company’s stock on a wild ride.

The Securities and Exchange Commission was not amused, particularly after it determined that Musk had not truly had the “funding secured,” as he suggested. He eventually settled with the agency, paid a $20 million fine, and stepped down as Tesla’s chairman.

But his Twitter fingers haven’t slowed down since.

Research contact: @thedailybeast

Elon Musk scoops up 9.2% of Twitter after attacking the social media platform over ‘free speech’

April 5, 2022

For many years it has been his favorite method of communicating with his adoring fans and for needling regulators at the Securities and Exchange Commission. So, perhaps, it was not entirely surprising to learn on April 4 that Elon Musk—one of the world’s richest men and an electric vehicle visionary—has built up a 9.2% stake in Twitter, according to filings made with the SEC on Monday, reports The Daily Beast.

The immediate impact of the news was simply to make Musk even richer, as Twitter shares jumped 26% in reaction to the news. Musk’s 73,486,938 Twitter shares were worth just under $2.9 billion on Friday, April 1’s closing price, but jumped to a $3.6 billion valuation as Musk acolytes rushed to buy positions in the stock.

Musk is now estimated to be worth around $287 billion, making him definitively much richer than the former holder of the top spot, Jeff Bezos, who languishes in second place with a mere $189 billion.

Just last month, The Daily Beast notes, Musk suggested he wanted to create his own social media network, while blasting Twitter’s approach to “free speech.”

“Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy. Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?” Musk asked his followers.

“Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy,” Musk added. “Is a new platform needed?”

Musk’s acquisition of a significant stake in Twitter has been revealed after many years of sometimes compulsive tweeting, during which time he has become one of the social media platform’s most followed contributors, and also been accused of using the platform to pump up his stock value.

In 2018. he famously tweeted that he was “considering taking Tesla private at $420,” adding, “Funding secured.” Musk later said he picked the number 420, code for smoking weed in marijuana culture, to amuse his then-girlfriend, the musician and singer Grimes.

Grimes may have been entertained but the SEC were not, and the tweet triggered an investigation by them, which established that not only had Musk not secured funding for the proposed transaction but that “he allegedly knew that the potential transaction was uncertain and subject to numerous contingencies.”

The SEC said: “According to Musk, he calculated the $420 price per share based on a 20% premium over that day’s closing share price because he thought 20% was a ‘standard premium’ in going-private transactions.

“This calculation resulted in a price of $419, and Musk stated that he rounded the price up to $420 because he had recently learned about the number’s significance in marijuana culture and thought his girlfriend ‘would find it funny, which admittedly is not a great reason to pick a price’.”

The agency eventually settled with Musk, and he was ordered to pay $20 million and step down as chairman of Tesla. Tesla had to pay another $20 million. Musk also had to agree that he would not tweet without pre-approval from a company attorney. The billionaire has subsequently sought to challenge that settlement, saying the SEC has used the court agreement “to trample on Mr. Musk’s First Amendment rights and to impose prior restraints on his speech.”

The SEC disclosed recently that it is once again investigating Musk over a tweet. This time, the offending message was a November 2021 post in which he asked his 80 million followers if he should sell 10% of his stake in Tesla.

The SEC is seeking to establish if Musk obtained the necessary approval from company lawyers before posting the message.

Musk is also reportedly being investigated to see if he tipped his brother off about the poll.

Research contact: @thedailiybeast

Tesla to halt games on infotainment screens in moving cars

December 28, 2021

Under pressure from U.S. auto safety regulators, Tesla has agreed to stop allowing drivers and passengers to play video games on center touch screens while its vehicles are moving, reports The Chicago Tribune.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the company will send out a software update over the Internet to ensure that the function—called “Passenger Play”—will be locked and won’t work while vehicles are in motion.

The New York Times has reported that the Tesla service update inserts a warning reading: “Playing while the car is in motion is only for passengers,” and that a button will ask for confirmation that the player is a passenger (although a driver could play simply by pressing the button).

The move, announced on Thursday, December 23, came one day after the agency announced it would open a formal investigation into distracted driving concerns about Tesla’s video games, some of which could be played while cars are being driven. The U.S. auto safety regulator said on December 22 that it would look at 580,000 Tesla vehicles sold since 2017 that have the feature.

\Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk has been promoting in-vehicle entertainment, as he believes it will be highly desirable once vehicles become autonomous.

An NHTSA spokesperson said in a statement that the change came after regulators discussed concerns about the system with Tesla. The first update went out Wednesday as part of Tesla’s holiday software release, and the rest of the vehicles should have received it by Monday, December 27.

The agency says its investigation of Tesla’s feature will continue even with the update. It was not clear whether NHTSA would require Tesla to do a formal recall with the update. In the past the agency has asked Tesla why it should not be required to do recalls with safety-related software updates.

“The Vehicle Safety Act prohibits manufacturers from selling vehicles with defects posing unreasonable risks to safety, including technologies that distract drivers from driving safely,” NHTSA’s statement said. The agency said it assesses how manufacturers identify and guard against distraction hazards due to misuse or intended use of screens and other convenience technology.

The agency announced Wednesday that it would formally investigate Tesla’s screens after an owner from the Portland, Oregon, area filed a complaint when he discovered that a driver could play games while the cars are moving.

In documents detailing the investigation, NHTSA said “Passenger Play” has been available since December 2020. Before that, enabling gameplay was only possible when its vehicles were in park.

The NHTSA documents do not list any crashes or injuries caused by the problem.

Tesla owner Vince Patton, 59, filed the complaint last month after discovering the gaming feature could be played by drivers. Patton, who loves his car and says he has nothing against Tesla, worries that drivers will play games and become dangerously distracted. “Somebody’s going to get killed,” he said. “It’s absolutely insane.”

Research contact: @chicagotribune

New homes in England must have electric vehicle charging points, government says

Novemebr 24, 2021

New homes in England will be required to have charging points for electric vehicles, according to plans announced by authorities in the United Kingdom, reports CNBC.

“We’re regulating so as to require new homes and buildings to have EV charging points, with another 145,000 charging points to be installed thanks to these regulations,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said during a speech at the Confederation of British Industry’s annual conference.

During his speech, Johnson touched upon his own experiences of driving electric vehicles. “I tried the first Tesla for sale in this country for GQ,” he said. “It expired in the fast lane of the M40, I’m sad to say, though I think they’ve got a lot better.”

In an announcement released on Sunday, November 21, prior to Johnson’s remarks, the U.K. government fleshed out details of the plan: Alongside new homes and buildings such as workplaces and supermarkets being required to install EV charge points from 2022, the regulations will also apply to buildings where major renovations are taking place.

The plan to expand charging points comes as the U.K. attempts to develop the necessary infrastructure, in order to reach its target of stopping the sale of new diesel and petrol cars and vans from 2030. It will also require, from 2035, all new cars and vans to have zero tailpipe emissions.

Adequate charging options will be crucial when it comes to challenging perceptions surrounding range anxiety—a term that refers to the idea that electric vehicles aren’t able to undertake long journeys without losing power and getting stranded.

Earlier this month, signatories to a declaration at the COP26 climate change summit said they would “work towards all sales of new cars and vans being zero emission globally by 2040, and by no later than 2035 in leading markets.”

While the United States,  China, and such automakers as  Volkswagen  and  Toyota were absent from the declaration, signatories did include the United Kingdom, India, and Canada; and major automotive firms such as FordGeneral Motors and Volvo.

Research contact: @CNBC