Want to be a successful engineer? Have a master plan. Or better yet, have two master plans. Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, Tesla Motors and co-founder of SolarCity, OpenAI and PayPal has released his second master plan. The master plans refer to the feats of engineering he hopes to achieve in the new future. Basically, a vision and mission statement as if he was sat in a job interview and asked: So, what do you want to achieve in the next ten years?
Musk says that ten years ago he penned his first master plan. And it looked something like this:
- Create a low volume car, which would necessarily be expensive
- Use that money to develop a medium volume car at a lower price
- Provide solar power. No kidding, this has literally been on our website for 10 years.
Now, Musk has released his Master Plan: Part Deux.
Firstly, Musk wants to create a "smoothly integrated and beautiful solar-roof-with-battery product that looks good". This is already in progress. Tesla and SolarCity have joined forces that will join up the efforts of both companies and see them integrating their current products into one ecosystem of solar technology. This will encourage more work into sending the Powerwall technology into a global marketplace.
Then, Tesla will be expanding into the freight truck world, developing what Musk calls the Tesla Semi. Musk says they will engineer freight trucks that reduce the cost of cargo transportation with engineers who worked on the Model S. Which means we would be looking at trucks that are powered by lithium-ion technology and would potentially be self-driving. The third item on Musk's new master plan was to secure self-driving mini buses as well. The company will also be working on pick-up trucks, adding to their long line of electric vehicles.
"As the technology matures, all Tesla vehicles will have the hardware necessary to be fully self-driving with fail-operational capability, meaning that any given system in the car could break and your car will still drive itself safely. It is important to emphasize that refinement and validation of the software will take much longer than putting in place the cameras, radar, sonar and computing hardware," Musk said.
This cautious nature of the language chosen by Musk here is on the back of incidents that relate to the AutoPilot software already inside their vehicles. One of Tesla's vehicles recently caused a fatal accident. However, Musk is still adamant that self-driving technology is the way to go and once their software is ten times safer than human drivers, they will take it out of the beta phase.
The final part of Musk's renewed master plan is to make sure that the electric vehicles they produce lead to a world where the consumer gets money back for providing energy to the grid. He simply calls it: sharing. It's not a new idea for energy management industries, however, it is a rarely practiced one due to the scarcity of electric vehicles. Nonetheless, the way it will work is, consumers will be able to opt-in to a Tesla shared fleet. This would be done by simply using an app that would then begin sharing some of the capacity of a charged lithium-ion battery, i.e. providing energy to the grid. Musk says: "Since most cars are only in use by their owner for 4% to 10% of the day, the fundamental economic utility of a truly self-driving car is likely to be several times that of a car which is not."
In summary, Elon Musks's Master Plan: Part Deux:
Create stunning solar roofs with seamlessly integrated battery storage
Expand the electric vehicle product line to address all major segments
Develop a self-driving capability that is 10X safer than manual via massive fleet learning
Enable your car to make money for you when you aren't using it