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  • The final cut of TMC Podcast #27 is available now with topics time-stamped. We discussed: Consolidation in LiDAR manufacturers; Volvo EX90 shipping with LiDAR; FSD Beta Full Release in N.A.; FSD detecting autopilot cheats, Gwen Shotwell directly overseeing SpaceX Starship; and more. You can watch it now on YouTube. We should have it published to podcast networks shortly.

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  1. Ben W

    Tesla should number Key cards

    I put vinyl stickers on mine matching the color of my car (Midnight Silver Metallic), making them absolutely distinctive and unmissable. The last time I brought my Tesla for service, the SC managed to lose them anyway. They gave me new card keys as a freebie, but then a week later they "found"...
  2. Ben W

    SpaceX F9 - Galaxy 33+Galaxy 34 - SLC-40

    Is there any indication whether the helium leak was in the 1st or 2nd stage? If it was in the upper stage, then clearly it wouldn't have been a booster age issue.
  3. Ben W

    Wiki Falcon Super Heavy/Starship - General Development Discussion

    JWST seems to have figured out the cooling side of things pretty well. Agreed that limited EP thrust would probably restrict its use to non-crewed missions, unless it were used as e.g. an interplanetary cycler a la "The Martian". A very large ion engine (or several in parallel) might give 10N of...
  4. Ben W

    FSD Beta 10.69

    Another drive with 10.69.2.2 in West LA. Mostly good, but very squirrelly on left turns in intersections where it makes constant micro-corrections and jerks. On my usual commute, two spots in particular give it consistent trouble. The first is the 405 South exit to Sunset Blvd West. There's a...
  5. Ben W

    FSD Beta 10.69

    Just completed my first drive on 10.69.2.2. I didn't find it noticeably different from 10.69.1. I had two disengagements in about three miles of city-streets driving, both related to lane selection. First, waiting in line in the rightmost of two left-turn lanes to make a left turn, the car...
  6. Ben W

    Wiki Falcon Super Heavy/Starship - General Development Discussion

    This is super informative. Thanks! I sort of pictured that the krypton/xenon would be cryogenically liquefied in the tanks, rather than stored as a high pressure gas. They have similar boiling points as methalox. (I suggested krypton because it's 10x cheaper than xenon, Vlad notwithstanding...
  7. Ben W

    Wiki Falcon Super Heavy/Starship - General Development Discussion

    No question the rocket equation is tyrannical. Maybe a five-booster stack would have twice the total delta-v of Starship alone, for a reasonable-size payload. But twice is still a lot! Sample-return from Pluto? Ultimately it may make more sense to make e.g. a large ion-engine booster rather...
  8. Ben W

    Wiki Falcon Super Heavy/Starship - General Development Discussion

    Ideally the orbital booster would have vacuum-optimized engines. I wonder about literally stacking two full-size boosters on top of each other for Earth launch, with the top booster only partially fueled, with vacuum engines and a nosecone. Just enough to get to orbit with no payload, then...
  9. Ben W

    FSD Beta 10.69

    They were not all limited access per se, but they were still "highways" as far as Autopilot is concerned. (FSD Beta would fall back to NoA here.) Even limited-access highways can have construction and dedicated exit lanes and turnouts and such. It's cherry-picking to exclude the parts of...
  10. Ben W

    FSD Beta 10.69

    It may depend on the highway. I did a 1500-mile roadtrip recently on NoA (from LA to Oregon and back), and had at least 10-15 safety-critical disengagements. Some were when the car incorrectly swerved into turnout lanes or left-turn lanes and I had to yank it back; some were when it put itself...
  11. Ben W

    FSD Beta 10.69

    An analogy: think of AI and Moore's Law. Since the 1950's, computers have been doubling in power every two years. That's a remarkable amount of improvement in any given short time-frame. Computers in 1986 felt significantly faster than computers in 1984. Yet here we are, 70 years later, and we...
  12. Ben W

    FSD Beta 10.69

    FSD is simultaneously incredibly impressive technology, and yet not remotely close to anything that could be considered L4. It's a situation where the last 10% of the project takes 90% of the effort. In city-streets driving with 10.69.2, I estimate that I have to make a moderate intervention...
  13. Ben W

    FSD Beta 10.69

    It's trivial to program a rule that says "don't turn right from the middle lane of traffic". The difficult part is determining, based on pure vision alone, whether the lane to your right is actually a real lane, and whether/when you're required/expected to get into it in order to make the turn...
  14. Ben W

    FSD Beta 10.69

    First drive on 10.69.2 today. It seemed smoother and more confident than 10.2, and it's the very first time it's managed the three-mile drive to my daughter's preschool with zero disengagements. (Tricky narrow winding streets; I've tried a LOT of times.) But I'd still call it only an...
  15. Ben W

    False frontal collision warnings

    Yep, I get phantom forward collision warnings regularly in my Model Y. Often it happens on curved residential streets when it misinterprets a parked car as being in my lane, although I've also had tree shadows trigger it on completely empty highways. I'm on the FSD Beta waitlist, so I've been...
  16. Ben W

    FSD Beta 10.69

    My intended point was different. Yes, this particular esoteric example could be individually automated, but the long tail of such examples is VERY long and very fat. Equivalently difficult and complex situations are likely to crop up every 10-50 miles of real-world city driving, and every...
  17. Ben W

    FSD Beta 10.69

    A functional definition of intelligence is the ability to solve a problem that you haven't encountered (or encountered similar examples of) before. Real-world driving contains far too many such problems, to be able to automate all of their solutions through enumeration. To give a concrete...
  18. Ben W

    FSD beta expansion to new beta testers June 2022

    It me. Took delivery of my MYLR on April 29 this year, but it was stuck on the factory software stack until _just after_ the early June FSD release. (FSD can only be installed on top of the OTA software stack.) Now I have a Safety Score of 100, with 2,376 miles driven in the past 30 days, mostly...
  19. Ben W

    Two months after my Model Y - My thoughts

    Sunroof shade here, there are many similar ones: Amazon.com I've been with State Farm for several years, so probably a few stacked discounts, and I have a clean driving record. I do have an agent there, but I don't think it matters much?
  20. Ben W

    Two months after my Model Y - My thoughts

    I'm with you on the benefits. On the disadvantages, absolutely agree on road noise, though through a number of modifications I've made it much more livable. (Thicker cargo mat, cargo shelf, vinyl tubing inside hatch weatherstripping, adjusting hatch stops, reducing tire pressure. I have 19"...
  21. Ben W

    Lets see some different aftermarket wheels

    Not new wheels per se, but new wheel covers. I recently picked up a set of Talsem carbon fiber wheel covers for my 19" Geminis, replacing the stock silver ones. They cover the rim of the wheels, protecting from curb rash, unlike the stock covers. (The white streaks on the rear rim in the first...
  22. Ben W

    Flickering screen

    My 2022 Model Y screen has also started flickering anytime it gets the least bit hot; e.g. when parked in the sun for any length of time. Rebooting the screen doesn't help, but it usually fixes itself when the car cools down. I'm setting up a mobile service appointment for it; hopefully just a...
  23. Ben W

    SpaceX Mars Mission

    Areostationary orbit is about 17,000km above the surface. The lowest reasonably sustainable Mars orbit is around 160km, similar to Earth. (Lower atmospheric density, but also lower gravity, so the atmosphere extends out proportionally farther.)
  24. Ben W

    SpaceX Mars Mission

    Not to mention keeping the dust off them. (That's a problem that hasn't yet been solved for a single square meter of rover panels, let alone many square kilometers' worth, although things have been tried.) It's possible that space-based solar, beaming solar power from orbit to ground via...
  25. Ben W

    Google Maps updates aerial view of SpaceX Boca Chica facilities

    True. It was mostly meant to illustrate just how insanely powerful these rockets are.
  26. Ben W

    Wiki FSD’s Earliest Adopters Still Waiting

    Same here, just got 2022.16.1.2 (upgrade from 2022.16.1.1) after two months and over a thousand miles of 100 Safety Score driving. To add insult to injury, I just got this completely phantom Forward Collision Warning. RIP 100 safety score 😭
  27. Ben W

    Google Maps updates aerial view of SpaceX Boca Chica facilities

    I count around 2300 panels. Assuming 380W per panel, that's around 875kW peak, or about 200kW time-averaged. Meanwhile, the Starship + Super Heavy stack contains about 1500T of liquid methane, which works out to about 22 million kWh of chemical energy. Assuming 80% efficient conversion of solar...
  28. Ben W

    New Model Y high pitch whining sound

    Just got the car back from service. They fixed the perimeter seal under warranty, but charged me $86 for tightening the ground straps. In any case, the motor whine is completely gone, except under high acceleration. So I'll consider it worth it :-)
  29. Ben W

    Wiki Falcon Super Heavy/Starship - General Development Discussion

    A payload-less Starship (or Starship-less booster with nosecone) should have more than enough delta-V to be able to fly over Florida at >100km altitude, then boost back, reenter over the ocean, and land at the Cape. And/or dog-leg around the southern tip of Florida, staying over water the entire...
  30. Ben W

    Wiki Falcon Super Heavy/Starship - General Development Discussion

    Could they simply fly the BC-manufactured boosters and Starships to the Cape? It's about 1700km, which is somewhat farther than the furthest Falcon 9 booster recovery attempts so far (e.g. 1293km downrange for the Falcon Heavy center core on STP-2) but likely still achievable with minimal...
  31. Ben W

    New Model Y high pitch whining sound

    My car is currently in for service, they found that the battery penthouse perimeter seal was not properly installed at the factory. Hopefully that will fix the whine; I’ve also asked them to tighten the ground straps while they’re at it.
  32. Ben W

    FSD Beta 10.12

    Confirmed. I've had my MYLR for six weeks, safety score 100, no FSD Beta yet. The car is in for service now (loud motor whine due to a faulty battery perimeter seal). I asked if they could push a software update, and they said they can't; basically I'll just have to wait for the car to upgrade...
  33. Ben W

    FSD Beta 10.12

    I'm still experiencing regular failures with FSD 10.12.2 with bike lanes, where it makes a right turn into a marked bike lane, which then narrows, and the car freaks out, with "Take over immediately" followed by "Autosteer aborted for system error". (Also note the usual herky-jerky steering...
  34. Ben W

    LIVE Telescope view of Jupiter, Venus, Mars, & Saturn

    If you can wait just a few millennia, in the year 7541 you'll see this: More info here: Is this double occultation of Jupiter and Saturn for real? - Astronomy Software & Computers - Cloudy Nights
  35. Ben W

    James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)

    Was it Roadster-shaped?
  36. Ben W

    Airborne Tesla

    It's a Model 3. (Was, anyway.) Astonishing how it could protect the driver through that!
  37. Ben W

    FSD Beta 10.12

    Perhaps HW4 might add side-facing cameras in the front headlight assembly? That would really give the best possible coverage, though it might have glare problems with the headlights on...
  38. Ben W

    FSD Beta 10.12

    A few FSD Beta 10.12 fails from today, in my 2017 M3. In the first clip, the car needs to get into a right-turn lane but fails to do so, and gets stuck for a very long time in the center lane. Even when the light turns green and there are no obstacles, the car fails to get into the right-turn...
  39. Ben W

    FSD beta expansion to new beta testers June 2022

    Very similar experience here. 15-mile drive today in 2017 M3, two interventions, both times because the car failed to get into a necessary right-turn lane and tried to make the right turn from the middle lane. It's sort of baffling that this issue hasn't been solved yet, seems like it should be...
  40. Ben W

    FSD beta expansion to new beta testers June 2022

    It me. 2022 MYLR, took delivery 4/29. ~700mi with 99% score, currently on 2022.11.101. No beta yet.
  41. Ben W

    The catastrophe of FSD and erosion of trust in Tesla

    For consistently reliable L4, I expect they will need at least the following improvements: 1. A method of automatically cleaning the glass in front of the cameras. (Lasers, air jets, mini-wipers, something.) 2. More setback of the camera elements from the glass, and/or moveable articulating...
  42. Ben W

    The catastrophe of FSD and erosion of trust in Tesla

    It's quite possible that lidar-quality environment data can be reliably and consistently be constructed from pure vision. The problem is that it takes hundreds of milliseconds to do so, whereas with lidar you have the 3D data instantly. That's a huge latency difference, and is why Tesla is...
  43. Ben W

    FSD Beta 10.12

    For me it's a strange mix of overconfidence and underconfidence. It tends to go barreling down narrow crowded streets with poor visibility until it gives itself a FCW, but then when it sees a car approaching from the opposite direction it starts acting like a mouse, even if the other car has...
  44. Ben W

    FSD Beta 10.12

    Took my first drive on 10.12.2 tonight in my 2017 Model 3, driving about 20 miles around West LA. Overall it felt slightly better than the previous version, but only incremental. More assertive/confident, but occasionally still jerky. It did fix a particular problem near my home where the...
  45. Ben W

    Ear pain/Pressure help

    I realized I didn't phrase that very clearly. The car was at the Tesla SC, not the body shop yet. I want to give Tesla every opportunity to make the car as good as it can be before I start making DIY modifications. So next I'll to a different SC to get the ground straps tightened up to fix the...
  46. Ben W

    Ear pain/Pressure help

    Thanks. This. In my case, personal circumstances, but also, "the customer is always right." Do what you like around friends, or even co-workers, but not clients.
  47. Ben W

    New Model Y high pitch whining sound

    Here's a link: https://www.tsbsearch.com/Tesla/SB-18-17-003 We've also been experiencing this problem with our new MYLR, hopeful that the SC will tighten or replace our ground straps to fix it.
  48. Ben W

    Ear pain/Pressure help

    Well, that was disappointing. The first time in 14 years of Tesla ownership that I've had a service experience bad enough to leave negative feedback, and it won't even let me do that because the app keeps saying "Survey Submission Failed" when I try to send it. 😡 But in a nutshell: 1. The tech...
  49. Ben W

    Guide To A Perfect Safety Score for the FSD Beta Queue, or Tesla Insurance reasons. (Whether you like it or not)

    I've been driving exceptionally carefully in my Model Y, safety score at 99 after 500 miles or so. But I just had a one-mile stretch with several emergency chimes; I think it's rather miraculous that my safety score survived this intact! (Score 100% for this short drive.) Whew!
  50. Ben W

    Guide To A Perfect Safety Score for the FSD Beta Queue, or Tesla Insurance reasons. (Whether you like it or not)

    Very interesting about the 3-second grace period after disabling Autopilot. However, this seems to only be the case if Autopilot has been engaged for at least 3 seconds before it is disengaged. I had an incident today where I was driving (not on Autopilot) on a 4-lane road, and saw a truck...

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