Sam joins Leo to talk about Tesla's new beta self driving program that you can buy for $10,000. But when you buy it, the car will monitor your driving for a week and then decide whether you deserve the upgrade. It's looking for risky behavior and has to do with insurance and sharing driving data. Sam doesn't think anyone should rely on self driving software. It's nowhere near ready for the average driver.
This week, Elon Musk tweeted a picture of a humanoid-looking robot, that he says Tesla will be building starting next year, with the eye towards using them for constructing his Boring Company hyperloop tunnels. Leo isn't so sure that will happen. Although Boston Dynamics has been working for ten years on a robot that can now practically run like a parkour athlete, this kind of sophistication takes time. So we won't be seeing robots on construction sites any time soon. And he doesn't think we're on the verge of Cylons either.
Elon Musk announced this week that Tesla will replace round steering wheels with a yoke-based design in X/S models starting immediately. Originally an option that customers could pick, the yoke will now be standard moving forward, with no ability to choose a round steering wheel. Leo says that not only is that a difficult proposition for those who were taught to steer at 10 and 2, but the steering ratio remains at 14-1, something the Yoke is not designed to accommodate.
Sam joins Leo to talk about the news that Tesla data indicates the car that crashed in Houston may not have been on autopilot at the time of the crash that killed two people. Sam says that doesn't mean it wasn't on autopilot before the crash though, and Tesla hasn't responded to when exactly the autopilot disengaged. If it disengaged a few seconds before the crash, and with the driver foolishly sitting in the back seat, there would be no way to regain control of the vehicle. So the point is rather moot.
You can now buy a Tesla with Bitcoin.And Leo says a single bitcoin will buy a new Tesla, that's how much it's worth right now.
Alex is thinking of getting an electric vehicle and wonders if leasing is a better idea than buying because of battery degradation. Leo says that it's hard to know just how long the batteries in e-vehicles will last. But Tesla has been around for ten years now, and early Teslas are still working fine. And with the market moving towards e-vehicles, the battery life is going to get even better. What about the environmental impact of those batteries? Leo says every car comes with that consideration.
Sam joins Leo to talk about updates to Android Auto, which are coming to fix a bug that would put Android phones into a "boot loop." The problem stems from the Sync 4 standard that Ford uses for over the air updates. The fix is coming in the next few weeks. Leo says that Tesla was the first to do over the air updates since they treat their cars more as a computer than an automobile. But OTA updates have been happening with telematics in cars for years. Tesla was the first to actually update a car's firmware.
Sam joins Leo to talk about Tesla's new design, which includes a "flight yoke" style steering wheel. Sam says it's almost certainly a problematic design that favors form over function. It forces drivers to abandoned 10 and 2 positions in favor of 9 and 3. And if you get into a sudden situation, there's nothing for you to grab for hand over hand steering. And that could cause an accident. There's also no steering stalk for turn signals or transmission. It's in favor of the car deciding what gear selection is. You can use a button on the touch screen to go in reverse.
With Tesla's stock skyrocketing, Elon Musk has surpassed Jeff Bezos to become the richest man in the world. Leo thinks that Tesla's success may be what's pushing Apple to develop their own electric car.
Meanwhile, Elon is going to Mars.
Sam joins Leo to talk about the upcoming final report about a Tesla Autopilot crash that killed its driver. Tesla blamed the driver, an employee, and there is evidence he was playing a game on his phone and not paying attention. The NTSB agreed but said there was plenty of blame to go around. The NTSB said that Tesla shares part of the blame because the automaker did not incorporate active driver monitor systems that they recommended after the last fatal crash.