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Tesla CEO considers Apple a bigger competitor than Google for cars
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Jun 2, 2016, 07:22 AM
 
Apple is more of a competitor to Tesla than Google as a car company, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has advised during an on-stage interview at the Code Conference. While admitting Google has done a "great job at showing the potential of autonomous transport," Musk dismisses the search giant as "not a car company," but though Apple seems to get more praise from Musk, he suggests whatever Apple's plans turn out to be, it may arrive too late to dominate the autonomous vehicle market.

Google could "potentially license" its autonomous technology to other companies rather than produce its own cars, Musk muses when questioned, reports Recode. Despite the amount of research performed by Google, Musk adds "I wouldn't say they're a competitor." When pressed on stage by asking about Apple being competition Musk agreed, suggesting "That'll be more direct" than Google.

Musk did add a caveat to the competition claim, in that Apple may simply be too late with its automotive plans to become a major threat. "I'd think there will be volume production no sooner than 2020," Musk suggests for Apple, though also asks "Is that too late?" Despite the heated rivalry with Apple, Musk ultimately admits "I think it's great they're doing this, and I hope it works out."

Self-driving cars formed only part of the discussion on stage, with artificial intelligence being one of the topics up for debate, another field Musk is intrigued by. The Verge reports Musk as insisting all major tech companies are working on self-aware computers. When asked about Google and Facebook moving into AI research, Musk advised "there's only one" company that he is worried about, but insisted he "won't name names" and identify the entity.
     
coffeetime
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Jun 2, 2016, 08:25 AM
 
Yes, Apple is late comer to the automobile market and so was the Apple smartphone. If Apple can crush Nokia and Palm, I am pretty sure they can do the same on the next generation car (whatever the source of energy fuel will that be).
( Last edited by coffeetime; Jun 2, 2016 at 11:28 PM. )
     
Inkling
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Jun 2, 2016, 09:17 AM
 
Apple, Google, and Tesla as competitors? All three should face the fact that for each their real competitors are existing automakers who have huge, highly automated factories, and know how to build quality cars inexpensively. // \\ And I challenge anyone to explain why driving a car to the supermarket is such an ordeal that we'll remake our entire highway system, at the cost of trillions, to accommodate it. Never forget that these are geeks, with the typically blindness of their clique, added to the lack of good sense that makes fools of self-made billionaires. Bezos scheme for factories in space is one of the more idiotic illustrations of that.
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DiabloConQueso
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Jun 2, 2016, 09:51 AM
 
Inkling, are you suggesting that Tesla, Google, Apple, et al are pouring billions of dollars into developing autonomous vehicles that are designed to operate on existing roads and highways, only to have to completely re-design them (or the software) in the future when our highway system is completely overhauled and changed?

Where did you get the idea that our roads and highways are set to undergo some kind of sweeping sea change?
     
Steve Wilkinson
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Jun 2, 2016, 03:12 PM
 
It's certainly a harder thing to do than what they did to the smart-phone industry, but not impossible. I wouldn't want to underestimate them. And, hopefully if Musk knows anything more than we do about this (which I'd imagine he has ways to do so), that means Apple is aiming more at a great car, rather than the automated silliness.

Inkling, if what I'm seeing so far is indicative, I don't necessarily see the big automakers reacting to this any more quickly than then the US companies reacted to the entry of Japanese cars. So, Tesla already is a competitor, so long as they can scale, and Apple certainly could be.

But, DiabloConQueso, while I'm not sure that's what Inkling is referring to, that's a good point. AI just doesn't seem up to the task, unless we're talking complete automation and redesigned roads. Unless we're all happy traveling around small areas at 20mph, feeling like we're riding with a first-day drivers-ed student.
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coffeetime
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Jun 2, 2016, 04:04 PM
 
One reason I think Apple is capable of building an electric car is electric car has tremendously less amount of components than a gasoline car. No water pump, no oil pumps, no exhaust system, no generator, no starter, no gas tank and so forth. I went to this Tesla showroom in Boston that shows the inside mechanical parts. And my response is: that's it? That's all there is to run a Tesla? The battery itself actually takes more room than mechanical components. It's like a giant iPhone with wheels. Can you imagine the amount of money you can save on maintainence?
( Last edited by coffeetime; Jun 2, 2016 at 04:18 PM. )
     
Steve Wilkinson
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Jun 3, 2016, 03:16 AM
 
True, but there is a LOT of complexity to a car in terms of manufacturing, testing, etc. that isn't as apparent. You also have to deal with it being rugged and huge temperature ranges. But, I agree, a well-made electric car *should* be far more reliable and last longer than an ICE car, except maybe for the battery.

The scary thing, though, is the fly-by-wire nature of them. With a traditional car, you could turn the ignition off or throw it in neutral, etc. if something went wrong. But, could you imagine a Tesla P85D with an accelerator or related software glitch? You'd have one heck of a ride for the remaining second or two of your life.

(BTW, not sure if you've seen this: https://youtu.be/ib-02b2ooLY?t=3m31s )
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coffeetime
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Jun 3, 2016, 12:47 PM
 
@Steve. I agree. Hacking into an electric car and taking control is a huge risk. Tesla does have software updates occasionally and can be done from home wirelessly. Some updates change the layout (very minor) of the dashboard beside firmware. The YouTube video is funny and yet awesome at the same time. I think Tesla has the coolest look and original design among all cars (high and low ends) and that is built in the U.S. (as long as they don't put that Audi-copy-cat LED front lights.... please).
     
Steve Wilkinson
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Jun 3, 2016, 01:02 PM
 
@coffeetime - Yea, hacking could be another issue, but I was just thinking about software bugs. I'm not sure if you remember, but I think it was Nest that pushed firmware update mid-winter, which caused issues. Not good if you're in a place that has a real winter (Nest is in the S.F. Bay area I think). Or, what about some mistake that results in the accelerator at a 1 instead of a 0 state. That's bad enough if it's a Toyota Prius, but quite another in a super-car that can go from 0-100+ before you even have time to think about how you're going to react.
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coffeetime
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Jun 3, 2016, 01:21 PM
 
@Steve. I see what you mean. Interesting.
     
   
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