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Elon Musk doubles down on claim about self-driving tech

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elon muskTesla CEO Elon Musk.Rashid Umar Abbasi / Reuters
  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he is “certain” that Tesla vehicles will be able to operate without any driver intervention by the end of this year, pending regulatory approval, during an interview with ARK Invest.
  • Musk suggested the update would still require the driver to pay attention to the road, but estimated that Tesla vehicles will be capable of driving without any attention from the driver by the end of next year.
  • Musk’s comments were similar to ones he made during Tesla’s fourth-quarter earnings call in January, but his use of the word “certain” was striking.
  • Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he is “certain” that Tesla vehicles will be able to operate without any driver intervention by the end of this year, pending regulatory approval, during an interview with ARK Invest.

“I think we will be feature-complete full self-driving this year, meaning the car will be able to find you in a parking lot, pick you up, take you all the way to your destination without an intervention — this year. I would say that I am certain of that. That is not a question mark,” Musk said.

Musk suggested the update would still require the driver to pay attention to the road, but estimated that Tesla vehicles will be capable of operating themselves without any attention from the driver by the end of next year. He added that both updates would depend on regulatory approval.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read more: Elon Musk’s ‘reckless’ comment about the capabilities of Tesla’s Autopilot could put drivers at risk, an analyst says

Musk’s comments were similar to ones he made during Tesla’s fourth-quarter earnings call in January, but his use of the word “certain” was striking. Musk is known for making bold predictions that the automaker sometimes misses, but he has qualified recent projections about vehicle demand and product timelines with more conservative language.

During the fourth-quarter earnings call, Musk referred to his predictions about demand for the Model 3 sedan, Tesla’s timeline for introducing a long-awaited $35,000 base model, and the future average selling price for the vehicle as guesses, rather than assertions.

Developing the autonomous capabilities Musk mentioned by the end of this year would put Tesla at the forefront of the autonomous-driving industry. Waymo, which is seen by experts as the industry’s current leader, is operating an autonomous ride-hailing service, Waymo One, in parts of Arizona where vehicles drive without human assistance, but have in-vehicle safety operators ready to intervene if the vehicle encounters a particularly challenging situation. (A Waymo One rider told Business Insider the safety operator rarely takes control of the vehicle.)

Waymo has not announced a timeline for expanding the service beyond Arizona, and other high-profile rivals, like Uber and the General Motors spin-off, Cruise, have not set public deadlines for autonomous-driving capabilities as aggressive as Musk’s.

But Musk has missed projections about autonomous-driving technology on multiple occasions. In 2015, Musk said Tesla would have fully autonomous driving technology ready in about two years, and Tesla has passed multiple deadlines set by Musk to send a self-driving vehicle across the US.

Have a Tesla news tip? Contact this reporter at mmatousek@businessinsider.com.

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More groups join in support of women in STEM program at Carleton

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OTTAWA — Major companies and government partners are lending their support to Carleton University’s newly established Women in Engineering and Information Technology Program.

The list of supporters includes Mississauga-based construction company EllisDon.

The latest to announce their support for the program also include BlackBerry QNX, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), Ericsson, Nokia, Solace, Trend Micro, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CGI, Gastops, Leonardo DRS, Lockheed Martin Canada, Amdocs and Ross.

The program is officially set to launch this September.

It is being led by Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design with the goal of establishing meaningful partnerships in support of women in STEM.  

The program will host events for women students to build relationships with industry and government partners, create mentorship opportunities, as well as establish a special fund to support allies at Carleton in meeting equity, diversity and inclusion goals.

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VR tech to revolutionize commercial driver training

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Serious Labs seems to have found a way from tragedy to triumph? The Edmonton-based firm designs and manufactures virtual reality simulators to standardize training programs for operators of heavy equipment such as aerial lifts, cranes, forklifts, and commercial trucks. These simulators enable operators to acquire and practice operational skills for the job safety and efficiency in a risk-free virtual environment so they can work more safely and efficiently.

The 2018 Humboldt bus catastrophe sent shock waves across the industry. The tragedy highlighted the need for standardized commercial driver training and testing. It also contributed to the acceleration of the federal government implementing a Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program for Class 1 & 2 drivers currently being adopted across Canada. MELT is a much more rigorous standard that promotes safety and in-depth practice for new drivers.

Enter Serious Labs. By proposing to harness the power of virtual reality (VR), Serious Labs has earned considerable funding to develop a VR commercial truck driving simulator.

The Government of Alberta has awarded $1 million, and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is contributing an additional $2 million for the simulator development. Commercial deployment is estimated to begin in 2024, with the simulator to be made available across Canada and the United States, and with the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) helping to provide simulator tests to certify that driver trainees have attained the appropriate standard. West Tech Report recently took the opportunity to chat with Serious Labs CEO, Jim Colvin, about the environmental and labour benefits of VR Driver Training, as well as the unique way that Colvin went from angel investor to CEO of the company.

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Next-Gen Tech Company Pops on New Cover Detection Test

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While the world comes out of the initial stages of the pandemic, COVID-19 will be continue to be a threat for some time to come. Companies, such as Zen Graphene, are working on ways to detect the virus and its variants and are on the forefronts of technology.

Nanotechnology firm ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. (TSX-Venture:ZEN) (OTCPK:ZENYF), is working to develop technology to help detect the COVID-19 virus and its variants. The firm signed an exclusive agreement with McMaster University to be the global commercializing partner for a newly developed aptamer-based, SARS-CoV-2 rapid detection technology.

This patent-pending technology uses clinical samples from patients and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The test is considered extremely accurate, scalable, saliva-based, affordable, and provides results in under 10 minutes.

Shares were trading up over 5% to $3.07 in early afternoon trade.

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