Tesla Appoint New Autopilot Director

Thinking Highways
By Thinking Highways February 23, 2016 11:25

Tesla Appoint New Autopilot Director


Sterling Anderson, a former Model X manager, has been appointed as the director of Tesla Autopilot program

Tesla Motors Inc. has appointed a new director for its Autopilot team. Starling Anderson, the former Model X manager, led the project for the company’s crossover sport utility vehicle (SUV), Model X. Mr. Anderson holds a P.hD in mechanical engineering from MIT and worked for several years at the university’s Robotic Mobility Group, developing automated driving systems. He also has several patents to his name — making him a natural fit to lead the Autopilot project.

 The news was first reported by Electrek.co, a publication that also reported on Tesla grabbing hold of former Apple hardware engineer, Jim Keller, earlier this month. Mr. Anderson will work with the recently hired Mr. Keller — who will look after hardware related issues on the Autopilot project.
 We hope Mr. Anderson will expand the Autopilot project, allowing cars to auto-steer on roads. Mr. Anderson joined Tesla in 2014 and became the program manager for Model X, a vehicle that took more than a year to hit roads after the company first unveiled the concept in 2013.

Though Model X was delayed due to problems with the door seal. The launch had already been delayed twice before Mr. Anderson joined the company. Going forward, Mr. Anderson can use his experience in automation for the new post.

Tesla Motors launched Autopilot 7.0 feature wirelessly over air software updates. It keeps updating the feature periodically and plans to bring customizable solutions to the technology, in line with state-specific regulations.

 Tesla had to discontinue the feature in Hong Kong a few months back after people were reported misusing the semi-autonomous feature. Apparently, people used to read newspapers and shave, which increased chances of accidents. Tesla instructs people to remain focused when using the autonomous driving feature.

The company continues to improve the technology and in a recent software update, the company put a speed limit to the auto-steering feature in a bid to make it safer. It also introduced the self-parking feature — which allows owners to ride their cars in and out of the garage without any human intervention. The feature is called Summon where cars can actually be summoned toward the driver. The company has launched a beta version of this feature. Given the pace of the company, it seems Tesla will soon roll out a fully autonomous driving feature.

Tesla stock rallied yesterday after broader markets gained stability amid surge in crude oil price. The stock closed up 6.70% at $177.74 on Monday. The stock has gone down around 25% year-to-date (YTD) against S&P 500 Index’s loss of 4.4% over the same time frame.

Thinking Highways
By Thinking Highways February 23, 2016 11:25