Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Posts Tagged ‘tesla

Out of AC/DC

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Happy Friday. Well, save for the cop in Fremont, CA last Friday night who had to halt a high-speed pursuit ‘cause his Tesla Model S patrol car ran out of battery. Doh!

Some security/privacy exploits on a Friday PM worthy of note.

First, the new Checkm8 jailbreak that apparently impacts all iOS devices running on A5 to A11 chipsets (Spoiler: That’s a lot of chips, ranging from the iPhone models ranging from the 4S to the 8 to the X…so, 100s of millions of devices).

The jailbreak exploits vulnerabilities in Apple’s Bootrom that grants phone owners full control over their device, according to a report from ZDNet. Be careful out there, boys and girls.

They’re also reporting some new malware called “Nodersok” that installs Node.js to turn systems into proxies so they can perform click fraud. That’s one way to drive up CPMs!

And, DoorDash has confirmed a data breach on May 4 that affected 4.9M customers, workers, and merchants…included last four digits of payment cards, driver’s license info, etc etc ad nauseum ad infinitum.

Yes, ladies and germs, you can’t even get a meal delivered anymore without getting hacked. Lost your appetite yet?

Bon Appétit!

Written by turbotodd

September 27, 2019 at 4:59 pm

Tesla Changes Gears

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If you’re in the market for a Tesla, there’s some things you’ll want to know.

Yesterday, Tesla announced a new version of the Model 3 for a mere $35,000 (tongue in cheek). The new model is estimated to have 220 miles of range and will be able to reach a top speed of 130 miles per hour. 

It’s also offering a Model 3 Standard Range Plus version, offering 240 miles of range, and a top speed of 140 miles per hour. That model is $37,000.

That may still seem expensive, but the average new car cost in the U.S. now comes in at $37,000.  So, consider your new discounted Tesla 3 a bargain at the cost!

But the more notable news, I thought, coming from the company was that it announced it was moving all of its sales online.

Existing stores will turn into information centers and showrooms, according a report from TechCrunch and citing Tesla CEO Elon Musk, which means retail employees will likely be let go but there will be more technicians and mechanics.

The Wall Street Journal explained the moves this way:

Lowering the price to $35,000—a key part of the Silicon Valley company’s effort to become a mainstream auto maker—is a goal Tesla has discussed for years and repeatedly delayed, but the shift in its sales strategy was a surprise.

The move to online-only sales is likely to further rile U.S. car dealers that have spent about a decade fighting Tesla’s effort to sell directly to customers through company-owned stores. For more than 100 years, auto makers have relied on a network of third-party franchised dealers to sell their vehicles across the U.S.

My first question is, what will this mean for marketing?

Tesla has been notorious for not having a paid advertising budget, instead depending on word-of-mouth referrals and publicity stunts like sending a Tesla into space atop a SpaceX rocket.

Will the company move some of its savings on retail into traditional advertising to try and broaden the market? If it doesn’t, I could see ripples shimmering into Detroit and Madison Avenue — Tesla may not be just disrupting the traditional automobile industry sales model, but its marketing and advertising model as well.

As for Tesla’s competition and state regulatory bodies, something tells me that political fight is far from over. Those dealers will fight to the last hill against this direct model, although I can only presume we’ll all be buying our cars, and so much else, from AI-driven robots soon.

And where traditional (or used) car dealers are concerned, I’ll take C3PO every day of the week.

What does all this mean for consumers?

Instead of taking test drives, Tesla will extend its return policies, allowing new customers to own the car for a week and drive up to 1,000 miles and still return it for a full refund if they don’t like the electric glide. And the Journal cites Mr. Musk as claiming that shifting sales online could cut costs 5% to 6%.

Consumers used to balk at purchasing clothes sight unseen over the Internet, so could this dramatically change the way high cost, high consideration products like a Tesla Model 3 are sold?  Maybe Tesla will offset the lack of a retail car experience with a virtual reality one instead? 

“Sir, it’s very possible this asteroid is not stable” C3P0 said in the Star Wars epic, “The Empire Strikes Back.” 

Not stable, indeed.

Then again, Elon Musk may be taking the car industry to a whole other planet whether it likes it or not.

Written by turbotodd

March 1, 2019 at 11:15 am

Posted in 2019

Tagged with ,

Human Crash Test Dummies?

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Put on the brakes!

The NTSB has dispatched investigators to examine another fatal crash of a Tesla electric vehicle, this one last week in California. 

One of the goals of their investigation will be to determine whether its semi-automated driving system was engaged, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

“Unclear if automated control system was active at time of crash,” the NTSB said in a social-media posting, in a reference to Tesla’s Autopilot feature. “Issues examined include: post-crash fire, steps to make vehicle safe for removal from scene.”

According to the story, a man died in the accident after his Tesla Model X sport-utility vehicle traveling south on Highway 101 struck a barrier and was struck by two other vehicles.

“This investigation is not focused on the automation, rather, it is focused on understanding the post-crash fire and the steps taken to make the vehicle safe for removal/transport from the scene,” an NTSB spokesman said in an email message. “We are working with Tesla to determine if automation was in use at the time of the accident, but the focus of this field investigation is on the other two points.”

Still, the NTSB has found itself increasingly scrutinizing emerging automated- driving technologies, adding to typical investigations the agency conducts of crashes involving aircraft, trains and buses, and other incidents.

I’ll ask the question: Is this going to increasingly put the NTSB in a difficult position, being asked to investigate accidents by semi- or fully-autonomous vehicles after the crash has occurred, instead of having the U.S. Congress or other authority put some laws into effect that are proactive and prescriptive?

The SELF-DRIVE Act, which was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives late last year, aimed to allow automakers and tech giants to eventually test as many as 100,000 experimental autonomous vehicles annually. 

But as reported by Recode, under the proposal those companies could obtain exemptions for the federal safety standards that govern all motor vehicles, and they would not have to seek review of their technology before it hits the market.

The measure got hung up in the U.S. Senate, and perhaps for good reason (although the hitch was concerns about cybersecurity intrusions, and not the autonomous technology itself).

When I went through driving school, they always told me to keep two hands on the wheel and my eyes on the road.  I always thought it was a pretty good prescription for safer driving.

And though I fully expect in the long term autonomous vehicles will be a boon for highway safety, in the short term, we humans seem to be sitting in the crash test dummy driver(less) seat.

Written by turbotodd

March 28, 2018 at 2:33 pm

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