Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveils his Robotaxi concept for a self-driving rideshare fleet

Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveils his Robotaxi concept for a self-driving rideshare fleet

5:36pm, 22nd April, 2019
Tesla shows off a configuration for a Robotaxi front seat without a steering wheel. (Tesla via YouTube) Tesla’s billionaire CEO, Elon Musk, laid out a vision for a huge fleet of self-driving electric vehicles that owners could share with friends or other riders, with Tesla getting a cut of the proceeds. The Robotaxi concept relies on the ability to make Tesla cars fully autonomous, to the point that the steering wheels can be removed. “By the middle of next year, we’ll have over a million Tesla cars on the road with full self-driving hardware, feature complete, at a reliability level that we would consider that no one needs to pay attention,” Musk told investors at Tesla’s headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif. Musk acknowledged that the timetable could be in flux, due to regulatory concerns as well as his tendency to get overly optimistic about timetables. He pointed to Tesla’s past achievements, including the creation of the all-electric Roadster, Model S, Model X and Model 3, as well as its production of solar roofs for power generation and battery packs for personal and grid-level energy storage. “Only criticism, and it’s a fair one, [is that] sometimes I’m not on time,” Musk said. “But I get it done, and the Tesla team gets it done.” Based on Tesla’s market performance, Musk might still have some convincing to do: During today’s trading, share prices declined nearly 4 percent, to $262.75 per share, and drifted in after-hours trading during . The downturn had more to do with , including a downgrade in Evercore’s market outlook and this week’s expected news of first-quarter losses. Nevertheless, the trend underscored the view that Musk’s Robotaxi plan wouldn’t be a slam-dunk. Tesla CEO Elon Musk discusses the Robotaxi concept. (Tesla via YouTube) The concept would let Tesla owners make their car available for others to drive when they’re not using it, through a smartphone-based app system that matches up cars with riders. Tesla and the owner would share revenue from the ride. Tesla estimates that the cost to run a Robotaxi would be less than 18 cents per mile, compared with 62 cents per mile for U.S. ownership cost and $2 to $3 per mile for traditional ridesharing models. The fact that no driver is required is key to the financial formula. During the Autonomy Day presentation, Tesla engineers spent most of their time laying out the case for expecting that their computer-vision system would satisfy the requirements for full autonomy within the next year or so. Tesla cars that were built since October 2016 would be eligible for over-the-air upgrades to full autonomy, but not cars sold before that time, Musk said. “Unless it’s designed in, it’s not worth it,” he said. Musk said he expected full autonomy to transform the automotive market within two or three years. “Once regulators are comfortable with us not having a steering wheel, we’ll just delete that. … The probability of the steering wheel being taken away in the future is 100%. Consumers will demand it,” he said. In an , Cornell University computer scientist Bart Selman said that’s debatable. Selman said Tesla may face an “extra level of difficulty” because it’s aiming to get to full autonomy by relying exclusively on computer vision without including a lidar laser-scanning system. There’s a broader issue as well: Statistically speaking, self-driving cars may well be safer than human-driven cars — but could conceivably fall prey to unusual accident scenarios that humans would easily avoid, such as . “The question then becomes whether society will choose the greater overall safety level over the risk of having certain types of ‘non-human’ accidents occur with some regularity,” Selman wrote. Other questions had to do with the business model for Robotaxi. Musk said Tesla would operate its own on-demand cars in areas where there weren’t enough to serve the market. He pointed out that Tesla’s leased cars will not be available for purchase when the lease expires, and that those cars would be reclaimed for Tesla’s Robotaxi fleet. One analyst asked about a scenario in which Tesla owners worked out their own car-sharing schemes. That led Musk to point out that a clause in Tesla’s contract forbids drivers to do ride-sharing outside Tesla’s own network. But couldn’t drivers work out a car rental arrangement? “Seems easy,” the analyst said. “OK …” Musk replied. Musk also acknowledged that Tesla, and not the car’s owner, would probably be held responsible for any accidents or injuries caused by Robotaxis. “The right thing to do is to make sure there are very few accidents,” he added. Will regulators go for the idea? That may well be the multimillion-dollar question for Tesla. “We won’t have regulatory approval everywhere, but I’m confident we’ll have regulatory approval somewhere,” Musk said. Even assuming that full autonomy wins regulatory clearance, Tesla would still face formidable competition from the likes of , , Alphabet’s venture and GM’s subsidiary. and are also joining the fray.
Atlas 767 cargo jet, part of Amazon fleet, crashes in Texas; 3 people onboard killed

Atlas 767 cargo jet, part of Amazon fleet, crashes in Texas; 3 people onboard killed

3:52am, 25th February, 2019
An Amazon-branded Boeing 767 cargo jet flies over Seattle in 2016. (Red Box Pictures Photo / Scott Eklund) An Atlas Air Boeing 767 cargo jet crashed today into Trinity Bay on the Texas Gulf Coast with three people on board, . “Human remains have been found on scene,” . “At this time, there are no signs of survivors.” Update, Feb. 24, 3 p.m. PT: In a new on Sunday, Atlas confirmed that the three people aboard the flight did not survive. Atlas set up Family Assistance Center to support the families affected. Boeing updated its statement . The Daily Mail one of the pilots as Sean Archuleta. Boeing is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the crew of Atlas Air 3591. We extend our heartfelt sympathies to the families and loved ones of the crew, and stand ready to support Atlas Air. FULL STATEMENT: — Boeing Airplanes (@BoeingAirplanes) The plane is part of the Amazon Air package delivery fleet, . It was heading from Miami to Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport when radar and radio contact was lost shortly before 12:45 p.m. CT (10:45 a.m. PT), about 30 miles southeast of Houston, the FAA said. Local TV stations aired video showing a long trail of debris in the bay’s shallow waters. “Who knows what’s under the water that we can’t see, but it looks like total devastation from the aircraft part,” . “Knowing what I saw, I don’t believe anybody could survive it.” Investigators from the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are on their way to the accident site. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation. New York-based Atlas Air Worldwide, which operated the plane on Amazon’s behalf, said it is cooperating fully with the FAA and the NTSB. “We can confirm there were three people on board the aircraft,” “Those people and their family members are our top priority at this time.” Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, expressed sympathy and concern. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the flight crew, their families and friends along with the entire team at Atlas Air during this terrible tragedy,” Clark said in a written statement sent to GeekWire. “We appreciate the first responders who worked urgently to provide support.” Boeing said it was “deeply saddened to learn of the Atlas Air 767 freighter that crashed near Anahuac, TX, earlier today.” “We are concerned about the safety of the three people reported to be on board,” . “Boeing is prepared to provide technical assistance to the NTSB as it investigates the accident.” Atlas Air and another leasing company, Air Transport Services Group, or ATSG, each operate 20 Boeing 767-300 jets to serve Amazon’s delivery network. The service was launched in 2016, and now flies in and out of more than 20 airports. Today’s incident was the first fatal air accident connected with the Amazon transport operation. Last December, Amazon said it would work with ATSG to over the next couple of years. Atlas Air Flight 3591 made use of a 767 jet that was converted from a passenger aircraft to cargo, and entered service with Atlas in April 2017, . The plane was registered with the tail number N1217A. Like all the tail numbers associated with planes servicing the Amazon network, . Pilots working for Atlas Air and ABX Air, a subsidiary of ATSG, have relating to the Amazon delivery operation. But it’s way too early to say whether such issues played a role in today’s crash, or to speculate about the cause of the crash. Update for 6:35 p.m. PT Feb. 23: Daniel Wells, Atlas Air captain and president of the Airline Professionals Association, Teamsters Local 1224, released the following statement on the crash: “Our union stands together as a family and in support of our members’ families. Our focus is on our friends and colleagues who were on that plane, and we are doing everything we can to support their families. “Teamsters Local 1224 representatives are already on the ground supporting this investigation. We also thank the first responders who rushed to the scene to help.” The union said members of Teamsters Local 1224 were on the flight.
Atlas Air 767 cargo jet, part of Amazon fleet, crashes in Texas; 3 people onboard killed

Atlas Air 767 cargo jet, part of Amazon fleet, crashes in Texas; 3 people onboard killed

6:35pm, 24th February, 2019
An Amazon-branded Boeing 767 cargo jet flies over Seattle in 2016. (Red Box Pictures Photo / Scott Eklund) An Atlas Air Boeing 767 cargo jet crashed today into Trinity Bay on the Texas Gulf Coast with three people on board, . “Human remains have been found on scene,” . “At this time, there are no signs of survivors.” Update, Feb. 24, 3 p.m. PT: In a new on Sunday, Atlas confirmed that the three people aboard the flight did not survive. Atlas set up Family Assistance Center to support the families affected. Boeing updated its statement . The Daily Mail one of the pilots as Sean Archuleta. Boeing is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the crew of Atlas Air 3591. We extend our heartfelt sympathies to the families and loved ones of the crew, and stand ready to support Atlas Air. FULL STATEMENT: — Boeing Airplanes (@BoeingAirplanes) The plane is part of the Amazon Air package delivery fleet, . It was heading from Miami to Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport when radar and radio contact was lost shortly before 12:45 p.m. CT (10:45 a.m. PT), about 30 miles southeast of Houston, the FAA said. Local TV stations aired video showing a long trail of debris in the bay’s shallow waters. “Who knows what’s under the water that we can’t see, but it looks like total devastation from the aircraft part,” . “Knowing what I saw, I don’t believe anybody could survive it.” Names of the crew were not released. Investigators from the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are on their way to the accident site. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation. New York-based Atlas Air Worldwide, which operated the plane on Amazon’s behalf, said it is cooperating fully with the FAA and the NTSB. “We can confirm there were three people on board the aircraft,” “Those people and their family members are our top priority at this time.” Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, expressed sympathy and concern. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the flight crew, their families and friends along with the entire team at Atlas Air during this terrible tragedy,” Clark said in a written statement sent to GeekWire. “We appreciate the first responders who worked urgently to provide support.” Boeing said it was “deeply saddened to learn of the Atlas Air 767 freighter that crashed near Anahuac, TX, earlier today.” “We are concerned about the safety of the three people reported to be on board,” . “Boeing is prepared to provide technical assistance to the NTSB as it investigates the accident.” Atlas Air and another leasing company, Air Transport Services Group, or ATSG, each operate 20 Boeing 767-300 jets to serve Amazon’s delivery network. The service was launched in 2016, and now flies in and out of more than 20 airports. Today’s incident was the first fatal air accident connected with the Amazon transport operation. Last December, Amazon said it would work with ATSG to over the next couple of years. Atlas Air Flight 3591 made use of a 767 jet that was converted from a passenger aircraft to cargo, and entered service with Atlas in April 2017, . The plane was registered with the tail number N1217A. Like all the tail numbers associated with planes servicing the Amazon network, . Pilots working for Atlas Air and ABX Air, a subsidiary of ATSG, have relating to the Amazon delivery operation. But it’s way too early to say whether such issues played a role in today’s crash, or to speculate about the cause of the crash. Update for 6:35 p.m. PT Feb. 23: Daniel Wells, Atlas Air captain and president of the Airline Professionals Association, Teamsters Local 1224, released the following statement on the crash: “Our union stands together as a family and in support of our members’ families. Our focus is on our friends and colleagues who were on that plane, and we are doing everything we can to support their families. “Teamsters Local 1224 representatives are already on the ground supporting this investigation. We also thank the first responders who rushed to the scene to help.” The union said members of Teamsters Local 1224 were on the flight.
Atlas Air 767 cargo jet, part of Amazon fleet, crashes in Texas; three feared dead

Atlas Air 767 cargo jet, part of Amazon fleet, crashes in Texas; three feared dead

9:58pm, 23rd February, 2019
An Amazon-branded Boeing 767 cargo jet flies over Seattle in 2016. (Red Box Pictures Photo / Scott Eklund) An Atlas Air Boeing 767 cargo jet crashed today into Trinity Bay on the Texas Gulf Coast with three people on board, . “Human remains have been found on scene,” . “At this time, there are no signs of survivors.” The plane is part of the Amazon Air package delivery fleet, . It was heading from Miami to Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport when radar and radio contact was lost shortly before 12:45 p.m. CT (10:45 a.m. PT), about 30 miles southeast of Houston, the FAA said. Local TV stations aired video showing a long trail of debris in the bay’s shallow waters. “Who knows what’s under the water that we can’t see, but it looks like total devastation from the aircraft part,” . “Knowing what I saw, I don’t believe anybody could survive it.” Names of the crew were not released. Investigators from the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are on their way to the accident site. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation. New York-based Atlas Air Worldwide, which operated the plane on Amazon’s behalf, said it is cooperating fully with the FAA and the NTSB. “We can confirm there were three people on board the aircraft,” “Those people and their family members are our top priority at this time.” Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, expressed sympathy and concern. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the flight crew, their families and friends along with the entire team at Atlas Air during this terrible tragedy,” Clark said in a written statement sent to GeekWire. “We appreciate the first responders who worked urgently to provide support.” Boeing said it was “deeply saddened to learn of the Atlas Air 767 freighter that crashed near Anahuac, TX, earlier today.” “We are concerned about the safety of the three people reported to be on board,” . “Boeing is prepared to provide technical assistance to the NTSB as it investigates the accident.” Atlas Air and another leasing company, Air Transport Services Group, or ATSG, each operate 20 Boeing 767-300 jets to serve Amazon’s delivery network. The service was launched in 2016, and now flies in and out of more than 20 airports. Today’s incident was the first fatal air accident connected with the Amazon transport operation. Last December, Amazon said it would work with ATSG to over the next couple of years. Atlas Air Flight 3591 made use of a 767 jet that was converted from a passenger aircraft to cargo, and entered service with Atlas in April 2017, . The plane was registered with the tail number N1217A. Like all the tail numbers associated with planes servicing the Amazon network, . Pilots working for Atlas Air and ABX Air, a subsidiary of ATSG, have relating to the Amazon delivery operation. But it’s way too early to say whether such issues played a role in today’s crash, or to speculate about the cause of the crash. Update for 6:35 p.m. PT Feb. 23: Daniel Wells, Atlas Air captain and president of the Airline Professionals Association, Teamsters Local 1224, released the following statement on the crash: “Our union stands together as a family and in support of our members’ families. Our focus is on our friends and colleagues who were on that plane, and we are doing everything we can to support their families. “Teamsters Local 1224 representatives are already on the ground supporting this investigation. We also thank the first responders who rushed to the scene to help.” The union said members of Teamsters Local 1224 were on the flight.
Atlas Air 767 cargo jet, part of Amazon fleet, crashes in Texas with 3 people aboard; remains found amid wreckage

Atlas Air 767 cargo jet, part of Amazon fleet, crashes in Texas with 3 people aboard; remains found amid wreckage

7:54pm, 23rd February, 2019
An Amazon-branded Boeing 767 cargo jet flies over Seattle in 2016. (Red Box Pictures Photo / Scott Eklund) An Atlas Air Boeing 767 cargo jet crashed today into Trinity Bay on the Texas Gulf Coast with three people on board, . “Human remains have been found on scene,” . “At this time, there are no signs of survivors.” The plane is part of the Amazon Air package delivery fleet, . It was heading from Miami to Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport when radar and radio contact was lost shortly before 12:45 p.m. CT (10:45 a.m. PT), about 30 miles southeast of Houston, the FAA said. Local TV stations aired video showing a long trail of debris in the bay’s shallow waters. “Who knows what’s under the water that we can’t see, but it looks like total devastation from the aircraft part,” . “Knowing what I saw, I don’t believe anybody could survive it.” Names of the crew were not released. Investigators from the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are on their way to the accident site. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation. New York-based Atlas Air Worldwide, which operated the plane on Amazon’s behalf, said it is cooperating fully with the FAA and the NTSB. “We can confirm there were three people on board the aircraft,” “Those people and their family members are our top priority at this time.” Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, expressed sympathy and concern. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the flight crew, their families and friends along with the entire team at Atlas Air during this terrible tragedy,” Clark said in a written statement sent to GeekWire. “We appreciate the first responders who worked urgently to provide support.” Boeing said it was “deeply saddened to learn of the Atlas Air 767 freighter that crashed near Anahuac, TX, earlier today.” “We are concerned about the safety of the three people reported to be on board,” . “Boeing is prepared to provide technical assistance to the NTSB as it investigates the accident.” Atlas Air and another leasing company, Air Transport Services Group, or ATSG, each operate 20 Boeing 767-300 jets to serve Amazon’s delivery network. The service was launched in 2016, and now flies in and out of more than 20 airports. Today’s incident was the first fatal air accident connected with the Amazon transport operation. Last December, Amazon said it would work with ATSG to over the next couple of years. Atlas Air Flight 3591 made use of a 767 jet that was converted from a passenger aircraft to cargo, and entered service with Atlas in April 2017, . The plane was registered with the tail number N1217A. Like all the tail numbers associated with planes servicing the Amazon network, . Pilots working for Atlas Air and ABX Air, a subsidiary of ATSG, have relating to the Amazon delivery operation. But it’s way too early to say whether such issues played a role in today’s crash, or to speculate about the cause of the crash.
Atlas 767 cargo jet, part of Amazon fleet, crashes in Texas with 3 people aboard

Atlas 767 cargo jet, part of Amazon fleet, crashes in Texas with 3 people aboard

6:52pm, 23rd February, 2019
An Amazon-branded Boeing 767 cargo jet flies over Seattle in 2016. (Red Box Pictures Photo / Scott Eklund) An Atlas Air Boeing 767 cargo jet crashed today into Trinity Bay on the Texas Gulf Coast with three people on board, . The plane is part of the Amazon Air package delivery fleet, according to aviation records. It was heading from Miami to Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport when radar and radio contact was lost shortly before 12:45 p.m. CT (10:45 a.m. PT), about 30 miles southeast of Houston, the FAA said. There was no immediate word about the fate of the crew, and no names were released. Investigators from the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are on their way to the accident site. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation. New York-based Atlas Air, which leases the planes for Amazon’s use, said it is cooperating fully with the FAA and the NTSB. Amazon expressed its concern and sympathy in a statement from Dave Clark, the company’s senior vice president of worldwide operations. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the flight crew, their families and friends along with the entire team at Atlas Air during this terrible tragedy,” Clark said. “We appreciate the first responders who worked urgently to provide support.” Boeing said it was “deeply saddened to learn of the Atlas Air 767 freighter that crashed near Anahuac, TX, earlier today.” “We are concerned about the safety of the three people reported to be on board,” . “Boeing is prepared to provide technical assistance to the NTSB as it investigates the accident.” Check back for updates in this developing story.