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chimpanzee's big project

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by chimpanzee, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. chimpanzee

    chimpanzee Member

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    #1 chimpanzee, Aug 19, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2008
    OK, Martin is let go along with Wally Rippel (Aerovironment engineer for GM EV1, Caltech alumni). Thus, alienating any future Caltech or UIUC involvement. Believe me, words travels fast. I heard on a comment, something to the effect "..& his Stanford buddies", I assume this is JDS.

    I will say, JDS background is impressive, his Stanford engineering background. The "engineering issue" (instantaneous torque curve of AC Induction motor, resulting in severe shockload to transmissions) had an incorrect response: a personnel issue, blaming Martin & his group (incl Wally Rippel). xxx made a mistake in engineering assessment..IT WILL LIKELY HAPPEN AGAIN. I heard about morale being at a low (earlier in the year).

    Is this Drivetrain 1.5? (with the water cooling package for the motor, because the single speed would require higher rpm). What happened with the Death Valley testing? I can tell you, having been at CART (& Champcar) races & smelling burnt electronics (any EE major will tell you that sickly smell), that lack of heat dissipation will destroy electronics in no time. You often hear about Indycars doing ignition-box swaps mid-race, I believe this is heat-related problems. I remember one time where Sebastien Bourdais (Newman-Haas Racing) did such a swap, & they used WIRELESS to update the firmware in the pit-area! (pretty state-of-the-art).

    Xtrac recently solved the breakage problem in Offroad Racing: the severe shockload on trannies when a XXXX Class 1 buggy gets airborne & lands on the ground. The situation is not unlike the situation in a Tesla Roadster (2-speed tranny + AC Induction motor). I know this team XXXX (they are one of my best supporters, my Jumplive.com multimedia project), they are heavily sponsored by European-based sponsors: exhaust, torque-limiter, etc. They were using torque-limiters (similar to above for Tesla Roadster, see above) to de-tune the extreme response of the motors. There was a year of breakage for this XXXX team (2007), but finally this year Xtrac figured it out: XXXX got 1st place at the recent 08 San Felipe 250 (!). Their 1st win ever! They followed it up, with a 3rd place (podium finish) for the Baja 500. They just added another car: European driver, teamed with a young American hotshot driver. This team is on a roll.

    Lesson learned:
    It took TIME for Xtrac to do the empirical testing.

    "In order to Push the Limits [ of Technology ], sometimes you have to EXCEED THE LIMITS"
    -- Australian GP, Formula 1 race (2003?)

    The tranny breakage issue is obviously 1 of the above problems, & this SH*T TAKES TIME TO FIGURE OUT!! xxxx has this "bizarre notion" that you can "throw money at the problem" & solves problems instatneously. Bzzzt..wrong! What "Reality Distortion Field" does this guy live in?? And, he is in charge of SpaceX?? ROTFL!! Wasn't there a recent failed attempt..again?

    This is why xxx's impulsive response, by incorrectly blaming Martin & Wally Rippel, is such a black mark. Not only did it hurt current TM development, it probably jeopardized the entire company's future. You think any Caltech or UIUC alumni (or ANY engineering school alumni), will work for TM, knowing that the top management is engineering-foolish??

    I've been repeatedly saying on TMC posts, the value of an R&D test program. Both:

    1) empirical testing via Auto Racing
    Real World Knowledge. Take Ford Motor Co, they used to have a SVO/Special Vehicle Operations headed by Michael Kranefuss. I last met him in '93, at the Long Beach Grand Prix, when Robby Gordon (offroad racing phenome) was racing for AJ Foyt. All the big names in Automotive (Honda, BMW, Renault, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, et al) are involved with auto racing, especially Formula 1. It PAYS to race, not just marketing for brand-name-recognition, but "real world" knowledge learned on the race-track.

    2) analytical approach, via Simulation (Monte Carlo methods, FEM/Finite Element Method)
    Book Knowledge. Engineering & Applied Science is what Caltech calls it. 1 of Caltech's Mechanical Eng profs is on leave to Northrop-Grumman, to explore the Aerospace + Alternative Energy paradigm. All the expertise developed in Aerospace, can be applied to Green Tech. I'm recently in touch with 1 of my Dad's PhD students, who is very high up in Northrop-Grumman. I need to have a meeting with Martin, to discuss an Interdisciplinary Cooperative/Collaborative R&D Program (bridging the gap between Academia & Industry, & also cross-disciplinary cross pollination). This WILL happen (my own initiative), I'm writing a proposal for it right now. I had some really excited discussions at the recent SIGGRAPH 2008 conference, incl a German engineering prof associated with Fraunhofer Inst (known for pro-active investigation of engineering problems). Since Telsa Motors is opening the European markets (incl Germany), this sounds like a real opportunity. Whether Martin wants to be part of it, is another question.

    2) is my Dad's specialty, he was AAE/Aeronautical & Astronautical Eng prof @UIUC (in the same building Coordinated Science Laboratory, when Martin was a summer intern '81 at our AARG/Advanced Automation Research Group). He hired Dr. Michael Selig (wind tunnel aerodynamicist, who also dabbles in analytical approaches like Genetic Algorithms), who consulted for Newman-Haas for 6 races (got Michael Andretti 3 wins). Alan Cocconi used a Selig airfoil, for his 2005 aviation project. Last I heard (2006), he is involved with a similar project & doing mountain biking in Utah (he drives a Subaru wagon..what else!)

    I've been in touch with some Academics, SDSU & Caltech. The Caltech guy (Dept Head, Nonlinear Dynamics & Control) had 1 of his students end up at Williams F1. The other guy, is the main Academic contact for Formula 1. He almost left Academia to work for a F1 team. The top F1 teams have annual budgets of 200 million. Xtrac is heavily involved with various motorsports (Formula 1, Rally Racing). CORR (Championship Offroad Racing) is a new startup (you might have seen the LIVE TV coverage on Sat or Sun, on NBC), where Xtrac has some Pro 2 clients. I know both of these teams well. If Xtrac solved XXXX (for Desert Racing), I expect similar success for these 2 teams (in Short Course Racing). This knowledge, might have a cross-over effect to Tesla Motors pavement application.

    That's why I'm advocating an Interdisciplinary Collaborative/Cooperative R&D Program (bridging the gap between Academia & Industry, & also disciplines).

    End of Lecture.

    You can see Xtrac (Andrew Heard) at:

    BITD Las Vegas 300
    [ he is incorrectly labelled at Eric Heard ]

    BITD Parker 425: Contingency
    [ that's none other than Robby Gordon of NASCAR fame, checking out Xtrac transmissions. This is the offroad equivalent of a tranny, which has severe shock loads: airborne cars land, creating stress ]
     
  2. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    #2 TEG, Aug 19, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2008
    "chimpanzee", I appreciate all you have to say, and all the people you know, but sometimes I have a little trouble understanding what points you are trying to make. Can you condense and summarize rather than "lecture"?
     
  3. chimpanzee

    chimpanzee Member

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    I'm laying the foundation to start up ZZZ: an Interdisciplinary Collaborative/Cooperative R&D Institute for Alternative Energy. Those contacts I mentioned means I have a top-down approach to getting it approved/funded. I did something similar in 2006

    [ 2 of contractors who did the LIVE Iridium satellite-based vehicle tracking, were XXX & YYY. Turns out the Vice-President & Director of Research of XXX (800 million $$ company, Virginia-based govt contractor) is a UIUC alumni from the same Dept/Specialty as myself & Martin: Artificial Intelligence & Robotics, PhD '94. Within hrs of emailing DARPA, I was talking with Dr. XXX1 & a conference call was setup with him & his lead-engineer. We did a project with a Class 5 racer friend, & got an excited reponse from YYY. Obviously, with Martin's accomplishments & brand-name-recognition, this is playing towards starting ZZZ. Martin might become involved, as part of his next entrepeneurial project ]

    & the contacts I just made at SIGGRAPH 2008 (rich field, biggest SIG/Special Interest Group of ACM/Assn of Computing Machinery) looks very promising. The key could be Fraunhofer Inst/Germany (applied research, pro-active search for challenging R&D problems before they arise in Mfr'ing), the contact I made (German engineering prof) immediately understood my concept & reeled off the following potential auto mfr clients:

    - Volkswagen
    - Daimler-Benz
    there are ruminations of some deal between TM & DB
    - BMW

    The Proof of Concept (empirically based R&D, using Auto Racing) has already been done

    [ an American-based offroad racing team, which uses BMW M5 engines & Xtrac trannies..& mostly European-based sponsored parts, got 1st place at the recent San Felipe 250 after extensive Xtrac development. They followed it up with a 3rd place at the Baja 500. They just added another German driver (in addition to their existing Rally champion German driver), plus a young American hotshoe ]

    I hate to say it, but the entire Tesla Motors management team (incl Martin & Marc) failed to put in place an R&D program, which would have protected them against the tranny snafu. I always wonder if I had been around at the time, if they would have listened to me (a PhD, who understands the value of R&D). It sounds as if Tesla Motors was mostly "throwing $$ at the problem", & expecting off-the-shelf contracts/products to build the Roadster.

    "Life is 20% what happens to you, 80% how you respond to it
    -- a wise man once said

    Clearly, the "recovery" that Martin is looking for is this ZZZZ R&D outfit (for Alternative Energy companies, in genral. EV, hydrogen cars, solar power, etc). He could easily be the savior to Alternative Energy..not just EV.

    In a sense, it's a good thing that he is no longer associated with Tesla Motors (which hasn't understood its past flaws, & made adjustments). He is now in a position of starting anew using new solutions (Interdisciplinary R&D), based on past mistakes @Tesla Motors.

    interview with a wealthy businessman:

    Q: How did you become so wealthy?
    A: I made a lot of mistakes
    Q: What??
    A: I LEARNED FROM THOSE MISTAKES

    I assume Martin has done a lot of soul searching, contemplation, etc. since 12/1/07. I'm trying to stimulate him towards an option. He & I live only a few miles from Caltech campus, who has had an illustrious history in Automotive. Jim Hall (inventor of Ground Effects, used in Formula 1 & Indycar) & A. Cocconi (GM EV1 work). 1 of the Caltech Mech Eng professors is on leave to Northrop-Grumman to exploit the Aerospace + Alternative-Energy paradigm. My dad's PhD student is really high up @Northrop-Grummn (Houston/TX), & I've been in touch with him.

    Summary:
    "Deals are what the world go 'round"
    I'm close to finalizing a concept for a deal, involving Caltech, Fraunhofer, Northrop-Grumman (& other players). Whether Martin wants to be involved, is up to him. Then, it's on to proposal writing (due in Oct, preferably submitted by Sept).

    Most of the banter on TMC is passive: response to things happening. My thing is pro-active: actually going out & making things happen.
     
  4. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    Yup. I hope your project/venture/deal works out for you.
    Don't you think that having so much of it "out in the open" might jinx it?
     
  5. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

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    Chimpanzee, unlike another forum member we all know (who thankfully isn't around at the moment), I believe you are rational enough to do your own housekeeping. You should be able to tell what's on topic and what's not. Please edit down your posts to what a reasonable 3rd person would consider relevant to this thread. If you wish you can create a new thread in an appropriate section and copy the bulk of what you wrote here.
     
  6. chimpanzee

    chimpanzee Member

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    You have a point.

    There's a certain amount of Confidentiality required for business deals. However, there is an opposing view of Openness, something like the Transparency that Martin & TM were exhibiting with their blogs.

    "It comes down to the Customer"

    I say this stuff openly, hoping to get feedback from the userbase of TMC. In the end, satisfying client needs is the main thing in ANY BUSINESS. Yeah, I could come up with a concept that I *think* will fly (but, not opening it up to TMC userbase means the concept might be flawed). Some of my contacts are so personal/deep, anyone trying to make a "run" would be blocked.

    My intent is to make it work out for EV (& in general Alternative Energy), not me. I'm just an "agent" like Martin. The field of Alternative Energy is truly exciting, not just the subject but the economic potential.


    I think clearly the lack of an R&D program hurt Tesla Motors (& still does, to this day), e.g. the transmission breakage issue. JD Straubel (& his staff) seem to be under the gun with engineering R&D (see the recent article). They need an Aerovironment like think-tank (which was contracted by Hughes, a GM contractor for the EV1), to "seek out & destroy" challenging engineering problems. This is where my idea of an Interdisciplinary Collaborative/Cooperative R&D Inst comes in, with some big name universities & companies. UIUC alumni (ironically, contemporaries of Martin at UIUC/Coordinated Science Laboratory/AARG) are at key high-level positions: VP of Georgia-Tech & President of GTRI (whose ex GaTech colleague is now President of Caltech), Director of Research @Intel, Director of UC San Diego/CALIT2. Frauhofer Inst seems to be very interested, this is a good match because of their access to German auto mfrs: Daimler-Benz, BMW, Volkswagen.

    Again, any attempt by a 3rd party to use the aforementioned high-level contacts, can be blocked.
     
  7. chimpanzee

    chimpanzee Member

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    #7 chimpanzee, Aug 24, 2008
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2008
    I would just trash the JVC, & get an Alpine unit. Goto your favorite high-end car stereo dealership (e.g. Al & Eds, or even Best Buy & Circuit City..they sell Alpine also), & start shopping. I was in this mode in 2005, & the culmination of my research was that Alpine made the best decks with arguably the best UI (user interface) for iPod.

    I put an interesting iPod interface for my 4x4 van. I simply used the external audio jacks, to feed in an Accurian iPod unit (120v -> 12v power unit) that has full remote & video out. Only $30 on sale at Radio Shack. I simply put in a Radio Shack 12v cigarette lighter power unit, to power it from my car. The iPod sits upright in the Accurian unit (I basically use the iPod UI, not an integrated UI in the Alpine, say). The neat thing about this config, is that I can add a small LCD display, to watch iPod videos on!! There are LCD displays with built-in TV tuners, so you have the option of watching TV..while you're driving!!

    Here's a picture:

    PIC_1300 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    The best way to accomplish your goal, is to offer the consumer a competing service/product..which will drive the TM's $1000 annual fee down (or completely away).

    I've been thinking of your next move, & I think a cool option would be to start an aftermarket parts/service/accessories company for the Roadster. Such 3rd party
    industries thrive in automotive, because (fanatic) customers want to customize their newest toy. Look at the DVD I sent you, the "Voyages" episode for Porsche. That 1 Porsche enthusiast started a Porsche xxx (the gull winged roadster) restoral company, very successful. You could offer:

    - better stereo/iPod packages
    - tires/wheel packages
    Toyo Tires, BFG/Michelin, General Tire, Maxxis (parent company is Ching-Sheng in China) are candidates. Toyo Tires is making a big move into Motorsports, I have contacts with their Marketing & Engineering Dept. Their engineers work REAL CLOSELY with auto racing clients. They won the 06 Baja 1000 4-wheel overall, in Robby Gordon Motorsports TT #83. BFG had an immediate response (because their 20 yr streak of winning Baja 1000 overall was displaced). Maxxis tire is very agressive in the American market, any mountain bikers out there know they spend lots of marketing $$ (event sponsors, etc). Yokohama is cool, very good product (Ivan Stewart, the biggest icon in Offroad Racing aka "The Iron Man", ran Yokohoma on his Toyota).

    Get some CAD designers together, & do some cool wheels with aforementioned hungry tire mfrs.

    - communications/computer package
    throw in mobile satellite Internet (there are packages for Iridium sat-phones, I have one). There's a pricey Inmarsat satellite-DSL solution, around $2.4K. Bluetooth headset. There are mobile-PC solutions for cars, for geek heads who want PC capability in their cars.

    Sample customized communications/entertainment package for a $300K offroad-racing pre-runner

    joyride5.jpg

    Some offroad race cars have bullet cams located all over the car (front & rear looking, suspension monitor, etc) that record to SD cards. You could put in video cameras to eliminate blind spots (this issue just came up for the Roadster)

    *A) R&D based products
    this is where I may come in, since I plan on submitting a proposal to XXX to do 3rd party R&D for Alternative Energy companies (e.g., TM Roadster). The immediate need, is the transmission. Xtrac recently solved the severe shockload problem for Class 1 offroad cars (airborne cars, landing), which is similar to the shockload of clutchless 2-speed tranny shifting (?). Their client YYY (friends of mine, supporter of my Jumplive.com project) got a 1st place at the recent San Felipe 250, & 3rd place (podium) at the Baja 500. I.e., the "Proof of Concept" is done, it's a simple matter of submitting a proposal, with Xtrac & YYY as R&D partners. I.e., 1 part of the R&D program: Empirical-based R&D ("Real World Knowledge") using Auto Racing. The 2nd part would be an Analytical-based R&D ("Book Knowledge"), involving Math/ComputerPhysics Modeling & Simulation. I.e., FEM/Finite Element Method, Montel Carlo Methods, Genetic Algorithms, CA/Cellular Automata, etc.

    Who knows, maybe you can offer a working Xtrac 2-speed (the thing that Elon Musk never had the patience to work through). The Powertrain 1.5 is still suspect: running a 1-speed at higher-revs (more heat generation w/water-cooling, this is potentially bad news: shortens life cycle & prone to failure) is still untested reliability-wise. Weren't they supposed to do such testing in Death Valley this month?


    If you are interested in getting involved with A), you need to contact me immediately. I have to do some quick proposal writing, due dates are Oct/Sept. I made some key contacts at SIGGRAPH 2008, 1 of them being Fraunhofer Inst (Famous German-based think-tank applied research outfit). The German CS prof immediately saw the potential, & named Daimler-Benz, Volkswagen, BMW as potential clients. Since there are ruminations of deals/talks between DB & TM, this is even more interesting.

    The above solution is a great way of doing "your thing" (Roadster maniac), but shielding yourself from politics (TM management). Same situation for me. We can always fall back on Alternative Energy companies (in general), instead of putting all our marbles in Tesla Motors. They still haven't figured it out, IMO. I.e., not setting up an R&D Program, & putting JD Straubel & his staff under the gun. By removing you, Wally Rippel, Judy Estrin..they could have easily alienated Caltech & UIUC engineering alumni. It's a well known fact:

    "It's all about PEOPLE"
    -- DoD/Dept of Defense analyst, why wars/battles are won/lost

    The key to TM success (or failure), is the ability to hire good people. From management to engineering. Some character out there made a serious blunder, & severely jeopardized the engineering "people" component. TM's fate could be set-in-stone, it's just a matter of time before..
     
  8. chimpanzee

    chimpanzee Member

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    #8 chimpanzee, Aug 24, 2008
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2008
    I agree with the concept of Negative Reinforcement

    [ a tried/true method of fixing issues. There was an Psychology episode with the title Negative Reinforcement. The US Military is a big believer in it. That's why US military forces are amongst the best trained in the World. Sergeant "Jack Hammer" & his colleagues, go around berating/yelling at the young recruits off the street ("totally undisciplined"). At the end of boot-camp, they are totally prepared to take on any battle assignment 'round the world. ]

    However, given the Power infrastructure at TM, how much would your negative reinforcement (words) really accomplish? "It starts from the Top", & we all know what the problem at TM is. Wally Rippel, yourself, Judy Estrin were all part of that stealth bloodbath. Something akin to the purges by Stalin. "I'm locally pessimistic, globally optimistic" (quote from Dr. Jordan Pollack, another UIUC/Coordinated Science Laboratory/AARG alumni from Martin's day), means that TM is in some big trouble down the line. No global optimism, global pessimism.

    Here's a more effective solution, which I already alluded to. Use the "Market Place of Ideas" approach.

    Come up with a competing product (3rd party maintenance for $500 at your new company "Roadster by Eberhard", which does TWICE what TM offers for $1K). You'll be laughing all the way to the bank, plus TM may quit their practice altogether.

    Of course, you want me involved with my Interdisciplinary R&D think-tank for Alternative Energy companies. Because, I will have a Tesla Roadster division specifically pro-actively addressing engineering problems for the Roadster. Undoubtedly, it will spinoff Roadster 3rd party products, which your company will license to manufacture/sell. I already have a line on an Xtrac 2-speed, their Offroad Racing program made a breakthrough (after 1 year of breakage, they delivered a working tranny to their their client XXX: got 1st place, followed by 3rd place). You could be doing 2-speed tranny swaps for Roadster owners. Haha, you could have the last laugh. You were incorrectly blamed for "choosing the wrong vendor twice". When I heard that, I just totally LAUGHED. This S**T takes TIME, in auto racing circles they refer to it as "developing a car". Xtrac was working tirelessly in Offroad Racing community (very positive feedback from my sources), & sure enough time was all they needed. I'm good friends with XXX, & they are listed as a R&D client on an imminent proposal.

    Drivetrain 1.5 is supposed to go thru reliability testing this month in Death Valley. A 1-speed revving high, generating heat, in high heat environments..makes me really nervous. I've been around CART/Champcar races, & ignition box failure is pretty common. Heat is the enemy/cause. I've personally smelled burned electronics on the pit. I really wonder about Drivetrain 1.5, in a high heat environment. I goto Death Valley a lot, when I was there in July 2005 it was 125 deg!!
     
  9. chimpanzee

    chimpanzee Member

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    #9 chimpanzee, Aug 26, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 27, 2008
    There was a recent article on the Roadster, & Lamborghini came up for discussion. They are feeling the heat about high gas prices. How about electrifying some of the "standard model" high-performance sports cars, like Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghini, BMW, Audi, etc? I know JD Straubel/TM electrified a Porsche (personal project). Being a techie, that would be my approach to "getting my feet wet" in EV.

    I have friends in Auto Racing (top race car builders, they go from $450K & up), & they build fancy street-legal desert pre-runners for high-end clients. They buy a ladder frame (which makes the car street-legal), & build a chromoly chassis/cage around it. They goto their junkyard friends, & get a nice body (off a recent wreck). Whoala, instant bad-ass street car at a "budget price" (by building it themselves). Here's one of my favorites:

    Vildosola Racing "Lobo"
    BITD Las Vegas 300

    [​IMG]

    Full suspension travel like in their all out race truck, but with creature comforts (A/C, satellite GPS, car stereo). The builders are good friends of mine, & they use Xtrac in their CORR Pro 2 truck. Here is what their race-truck looks like (same race, Las Vegas 300):

    Vildosola Racing: Vildosola TT #4, start [ BITD '06 Las Vegas 300 ]
    Vildosola Racing: Vildosola TT #4, MM1 lap 2 [ BITD '06 Las Vegas 300 ]

    [ they own a house in Pebble Beach, they're wealthy millionaires in the Transportation Industry. I guess they are candidates for a TM Roadster. I'm really good friends with them, they are my #1 supporter of my Jumplive.com project ]

    BTW, they won the race!! Guess what, they have had problems (what many offroad racing teams) with transmissions durability/reliability. Sound familiar? The shock loads in Offroad Racing, are NOT unlike what the Tesla Roadster experiences. I just read somewhere on an offroad racing website "there is no transaxle out there which is bigger/strong enough to take the shock loads". This is why Offroad Racing is a really interesting cross-over domain, that TM could benefit from. I'm writing a Cross Disciplinary Collaborative/Cooperative R&D proposal for Alternative Energy companies (e.g., Tesla Roadster), that will address these challenging engineering issues. Yesterday, I spoke with a couple of leading Offroad Racing engineers (1 is an offroad racer, other is a really famous chassis-designer with Formula 1/CanAm/LeMans background), one of them who knows Wally Rippel & himself dabbled in CVT/Continuously Variable Transmission (for a street EV) back in '93/'94. He ran into what A. Cocconi ran into: political oppression (the CA mandate was repealed, due to pressure by oil/car companies) Gave up on his effort, since there was no money behind it. Today, it's different climate..politically it's receptive, it's now an exercise in Business & Engineering (what Martin & company went through). The failure to setup an R&D program hurt them, & based on the Needs/Solutions model, it is obvious what needs to be done.

    I got a ride in 1 of these $300K desert pre-runners, they ride like Cadillacs..the shock absorber technology is so good, the massive bumps get absorbed like a "sponge".

    Corona Racing: pre-run w/S. Sourapas [ '05 Laughlin ]

    [ the owner/driver is a USC grad, millionaire who dabbles in racing. He would certainly qualify to be a Tesla Roadster client ]
     
  10. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    Then you should sell him one!

    In my life I meet a lot of people who have 10. 100 or 1000 times my income. I make it a high priority to let them know about the car. If I get a nibble then I go into full-on sales mode. :cool:
     
  11. chimpanzee

    chimpanzee Member

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    He & V** Racing are on my short list today (phone call), about becoming R&D partners ("Auto Racing", Empirical Research division). I would 1st introduce them to Martin (all of them are auto enthusiasts, & have the incomes to "collect cars"), & go from there. You see, there's politics involved. TM is under new managment, & I have to play it by ear. I need Martin's feedback on the whole matter.

    I think Martin's next move should be RbE/"Roadster by Eberhard", a 3rd party aftermarket supplier of Roadster. Cool aftermarket accessories, incl Xtrac 2-speed (I have a line on a solution, Xtrac solved the shockload problem in Offroad earlier this year), stereo systems, AI (Artificial Intelligence) based HUD (Heads Up Displays) from Aerospace Technology, wheel/tire packages, etc. Martin is a car enthusiast, & Roadster fanatic. He is like the potential clients of RbE, wealthy successful professionals who want to accessorize/enhance their newest Roadster toy. He would know what to do. So, my above 2 friends would be directed to RbE as clients, instead of TM. See what I'm getting at?

    Martin can eventually get what he wants (play in the EV area), while distancing himself from TM (because of politics). How I factor in the whole scenario (my vision for an Interdisciplinary Collaborative/Cooperative R&D outfit for Alternative Energy companies..incl TM), is still under development. Martin could advise me on this. My R&D thing could license Technology to "Roadster by Eberhard", for mass-consumer manufacturing/distribution.
     
  12. chimpanzee

    chimpanzee Member

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    #12 chimpanzee, Sep 2, 2008
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2008
    Well, this is NOT good.

    Q: What was the recent crisis with TM?
    A: a transmission issue (due to failure on TM's part to setup an R&D program, that would have "covered" them) that created an "employment issue". I.e., Martin & company (incl W. Rippel, Judy Estrin) being canned in the infamous "Stealth Bloodbath". That led to further production delays, & even Drivetrain 1.5 hasn't gone thru a Durability/Reliability testing program (whatever happened to the Death Valley test, back in Aug). So, the trickle of Roadsters has a "smoking gun" issue of another tranny issue?

    Okay, I could live with the above if they made a nice recovery. But, to now hear about delays in "S"..this sounds like "same old same old". I guarantee you, this persistent pattern of under-delivering will cause great harm to their brand-name/reputation.

    Allow me to reprint what was said on RCSE mailing list (Radio Control Soaring Electric, the same hobby myself & A. Cocconi & many Aerovironment engineers dabble in). There was a small vendor which was NOTORIOUS for poor customer service:

    That about says it. AFAIC, TM better get their ship on the right course fast. Somehow I don't think it's gonna happen. ("It starts from the Top", as the saying goes). Maybe all along, the experts were right, a small company like TM doesn't have a chance in the bigtime industry of Auto Mfring (where a LOT of critical mass is required). Not to put down Martin, it was certainly a heroic effort for his initiative to found TM. Heck , it certainly "stirred the pot" & got GM off their butts. THAT may be the biggest legacy of all for TM, the "I'm the straw that stirs the drink" (quote by Mr. October, aka New York Yankee outfielder Reggie Jackson). Unfortunately, some unscrupulous characters were brought on board. THAT'S LIFE, scoundrels/sharks everywhere! I had my own experience in 2006, boy was it NASTY! However, the bad guys had a SPECTACULAR FAILURE according to the maxim "Cheaters Never Prosper". Like D. Vespremi (suing TM), I simply get a lawyer & it's a simple matter to recover damages for "Unfair Competition" (my case could settle in the millions).

    Some finishing comments from RCSE:

    How we all wish TM was the latter! Again, it was a certain individual that came in & messed things up!

    I go back to the transmission issue with Xtrac & Magna. Man, these kinds of teething engineering issues always come up, especially in the "In order to push the Limits, you SOMETIMES HAVE TO EXCEED THE LIMITS" world of Alternative Energy. It takes TIME (that cursed word in Research & Manufacturing) to sort things out. An R&D program was NOT setup to cover them

    [ Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft Index Home is a good example of a 3rd party entity set up to pro-actively search for such engineering problems to be located/solved, before they arise in Industry. As a matter of fact, I spoke to a German CS/Computer Science prof (associated with Fraunhofer) about my idea to setup a Interdisciplinary Collaborative/Cooperative R&D Inst for Alternative Energy, & he immediately picked up on it. He named Daimler-Benz, Volkswagen, BMW as potential clients. Well, we now know DB has some kind of deal going with TM, so that may play into.. ]

    so, that cost them TIME. Well guess what? Xtrac is heavily involved with Auto Racing (experimental testbed for R&D): IndyCar, Offroad, Formula 1, Rally. They signed up a leading Class 1 team in Offroad as a Development Partner (whose owner's name is Martin, btw), worked thru severe breakage issues in 2007, & in early 2008 they successfully developed an Xtrac tranny that earned them a 1st place & 3rd place at the 2 most recent Baja races! The shockload problem in Offroad (flying a car in the car & landing it, tremendous stress on tranny) is NOT unlike that of the Roadster. So, the cross-pollination effect of Interdisciplinary Science has a solution for a 2-speed Xtrac Roadster. I.e., the Proof of Concept has essentially been done. Submitted as part of a NSF (or DoE or DARPA) proposal, this would go a long way in getting the R&D Inst funded. My involvement with Offroad (& pavement racing like Champcar) has many fancy mutlimedia tools, so this effective use of state-of-the-art of Graphics will also enhance the proposal. The latter 2 points: Proof of Concept & Effective Use of Graphics were named as key in getting proposals funded ("Art of Grant Writing", SIGGRAPH 2008 course). I've found a couple of key contacts, who have experience in Infrastructure Development (1 guy sits on NSF panel reviews, & himself got his thing funded to the tune of 33 million).

    So, I'm pretty pumped I've found the Solution, in the Needs/Solution model for TM. I'm just waiting for Martin to get on board, or have him available as an advisor. Maybe, his role is to work with GM/Bob Lutz to get the Volt to the mass-market. You will notice that the R&D Inst has a *generalized* model (business model diversification), it targets ANY Alternative Energy company. Hydrogen power, EV, solar power. So, I'm covered in the sense that I'm not affected by individual company blowups.

    I invite any comment/feedback by knowledgable TMC members (some with extensive business experience). I still have to fine-tune the concept, before I know what to write a proposal for. The R&D Inst would be located on various university campuses (UIUC, Caltech, Georgia-Tech, UC San Diego...Academic research partners), & also have Industrial Partners (GM, Intel, Fraunhofer Inst). Many of aforementioned entities have UIUC alumni (ironically, some were officemates with Martin & myself at Coordinated Science Laboratory/AARGM). My background is Research, not Business.
     
  13. chimpanzee

    chimpanzee Member

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    Here's another comment from the RCSE thread about "Business run like a Hobby":

    It appears as if the TM situation is not an isolated incident, but a universal problem that pervades all of Business. One has to wonder, where they would be if Management was "with it".
     
  14. chimpanzee

    chimpanzee Member

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    No reports about the Death Valley test (scheduled in Aug). Again, like you pointed out, this could be a PR issue. It's been observed that TM blogs are woefully inadequate in maintaining "transparency". This is reminiscent of the Champcar fiasco (bankrupt CART proceeds bought by K. Kalkhoven .com'er), where it was totally mismanaged & the media dept "disappeared":

    "if you don't control the Media, the Media will control you"

    A LOT of worried commentary/speculation by fans (on Champcar Fanatics forum, the analog of TMC), & sure enough..implosion earlier this year: Bankruptcy.

    I will say this. Knowing something about Auto Racing, I have smelled BURNED ELECTRONICS on pit-road. Being an EE, I know about this. What is going on is that the electronic black-box is subjected to severe heat stress (no air conditioning) & they blow up. Laws of Thermodynamics apply. You often see Indycars fail to start at the beginning of the race: I believe this is due to cars sitting around, getting hot, black box electronics failing. You often see race cars coming in during the race, & blackbox being swapped out (I remember Newman-Haas doing this to S. Bourdais' car, & doing a fancy WiFi software update on pit-road).

    We are hearing about reports from Autobahn testing, where extended periods of running the car full-tilt are causing cooling issues w/electronics. Drivetrain 1.5 is a 1-speed that is over-revved & overheating the motor (requiring special watercooling). Heat is the enemy, it will cause premature component wear. So, heating issues are a concern, & although I don't know for a fact, I'm suspecting there could be a lurking heat gremlin. I've BEEN to Death Valley, it can get up to 125 deg there. To be making major engineering mods mid-stream, without full test profiling (isn't that what Engineering prototypes are for?), swapping it in to fix a failing component (2-speed tranny locked into 2nd), sounds awful dicey to me.

    What is it..around 30 Roadster delivered so far? How do they expect to fulfill all those future orders (isn't it a large # ?) And, now they are tackling ANOTHER vehicle development/manufacturing program? This sounds like a classic case of violating the maxim:

    "Discretion is the Better Part of Valor"

    TM is trying to do way too much, too soon. It goes back to "it starts from the top", some guy out there has no Sense of Reality. His ex Physics prof (Univ of Penn) publicly commented "his efforts are diluted". He's doing this SpaceX (trail of failures) AND micro-managing TM into the ground? (driving out Martin, W. Rippel, J. Estrin). Despite the temporary optimism about some Roadster deliveries, I see NO CHANGE in the flaws with upper management.

    I hate to say it, others have commented also, that TM has a real uphill climb ("challenges") in front of it. Can they be David, & beat Goliath (established auto mfrs, with tons of resources & "critical mass")? Well, they sure aren't doing the following:

    "if you put themselves in a position to Win, you have a shot at winning"
    -- Jim Valvano, head basketball coach of NC State Wolfpack

    They seem to reverting to past behavior: "throwing money at the problem". Hiring a bunch of hi-profile people (ex-Mazda designer), & leading people to believe (on the surface) that there's optimism/hope for progress.


    You have a point, there is incomplete information & speculation. But, read the above analysis, & you get a feeling of "System Gestalt" (German term from Artificial Intelligence research, about global organization) that they are not making proper adjustments. That's why I'm high on the idea of a 3rd party R&D outfit, to offload some of the engineering R&D off their backs (JD Straubel & staff).

    I go back to the famous fable of Rabbit vs Tortoise. The rabbit starts off fast, burns out, & the Tortoise wins. "Slow & Steady wins the race" (similar to the naval saying "Steady as she goes"). I think TM is following the path of the "rabbit", trying to do too much..too fast. "Haste makes Waste". This SH*T takes TIME (that magic word), it won't happen overnight.

    Someone in TM management is apparently in some sort of "Reality Distortion Field", just not grounded in Reality. "Some people have more Money than Brains". My training is in EE (same generation as Martin, we both did our masters thesis in AI/Robotics/Vision, same advisor), & my bent is toward being Conservative. Exhaustive Design & Testing (doing my homework), before announcing a "product". You get the feeling that TM is doing the equivalent of "cramming before an exam". Bad idea.

    Given all that's happened, everyone has to ask themselves that question: "What do you think about TM future?" If there isn't an immediate split-second response like "they'll pull it off", that means there are problems ("red flags").
     
  15. chimpanzee

    chimpanzee Member

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    #15 chimpanzee, Sep 12, 2008
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2008
    I haven't had time to fully research all the press out there (due to work constraints), Re: Drivetrain 1.5. I do recall JB talking about how quirky the analog circuity of ACP's PEM was, & how they re-engineered everything to a modern digital design. I go back to my repeated emphasis on the importance of an R&D program

    [ especially external virtual Interdisciplinary Collaborative/Cooperative R&D Inst for Alternative Energy, covering Academia & Industry..ala Fraunhofer Inst: pro-active search/solution of engineering problems, before they are encountered in Manufacturing ]

    which acts as a "safety umbrella", which covers companies like TM. I understand there was a LOT of furious engineering activity by JB & staff, this kind of stress (workload under time pressure) increases Risk. The whole crisis last year arose from engineering pressure & missed deadlines, which manifested as the Stealth Bloodbath. Good people were ejected (UIUC & Caltech alumni), & the consequences may be felt for a long time to come.

    "Go into it with a GROUP [ teamwork ] of people"
    -- Dr xxx, Caltech CS professor

    The idea of some organized infrastructure (TM & the above R&D Inst) is how Japan is so successful in its dominance in the Tech industry:

    "America is #1 in Technology, Japan is #1 in bringing Technology to the Marketplace"
    -- Japanese industrialist, early 80's (said to me while a UIUC grad student, the same time Martin was in our group)

    In Japan, there is organized effort involving Govt & Industry (incl subsidies). Martin's summer '81 advisor @UIUC (whose son was an intern w/Martin that same summer at our lab, now is Director of Research & VP Corporate Technology @Intel) said "The Japanese use the tools so fast".

    So, just look at "Who killed the Electric Car?". It's pathetic & depressing (I could see the resignation on A. Cocconi's face when I met him in summer '06, he was burned out due to infighting with Govt & oil companies), how this country (govt & certain Industry entities) shoot themselves in the foot.

    "I want a Clean Solution, WITHOUT ANY INFIGHTING"

    Maybe an expert can chime in, but overall I see chaos. Ironically, we saw chaos within even a small company like TM (infighting), which led to a crisis. The lessons learned, is that there needs to be better Organization/Infrastructure. High-level initiatives have to come from the top. I was just watching an ABC Investigative Reports from the DNC & RNC, where there were these sleazy Lobbying parties (by wealthy corporations) designed to influence political candidates. It seems as if direction in USA is driven by Politics, not Needs/Solutions of the masses (e.g., Alternative Energy).

    How can any company (like TM) in Alternative Energy be a part of a new Industrial Revolution, with such flawed infrastructure? "It starts from the Top" as the saying goes, & someone powerful in Washington better step to the plate & do something.

    The offroad racing is a REALLY "extreme duty application", the physical shock/heat/dust is unbelievable. The "buggy" (independent suspension, derived from VW transaxle) flies in the air & lands, the latter where the shockload to tranny occurs. It's not unlike the shockload in a Roadster, the sudden torque curve of the AC Induction motor placing stress on the tranny (also, in clutchless shifts from 1st to 2nd?). They had breakage problems (by various offroad clients in desert racing) throughout 2007, but this team has technical expertise (the owner/driver has a 4 yr tech degree from Europe). They do their own on-board telemetry analysis. I am not surprised that this "sharp well run team that is INTO TECHNOLOGY" has achieved success as development partner with Xtrac.

    Getting back to your question, how would their knowledge translate to a 2-speed Xtrac tranny for pavement applications (e.g., Roadster). Racing hardware is designed for short burst application (1 race). However, even so, it might translate into longevity/robustness (durability/reliability) for street applications. Even, sustaining Martin's wicked style of driving!

    That would be one of the problems to be studied, if my proposal (DoE or NSF or DARPA) gets funded, hopefully with Martin in tow. Translating the racing tranny to a street tranny (doing a crossover from Offroad to Street, that's Interdisciplinary Science). This could benefit not just TM, but ANY EV company wanting to do a 2-speed tranny for their car.


    It's been said:

    "there is no such thing as a bullet proof transmission in offroad racing"

    I.e., both driver & car have their limits, & the driver has to know the limits of the car (engine, tranny, suspension, tires) & stay within the performance envelope. I.e., operate to the fine line of breakage & bring the car home. What's going on with that Class 1 team, is that they've developed an Xtrac tranny which is strong (but not indestructable) AND found a championship Rally driver (from Germany) who has a track record for winning races.

    It's the well known symbiosis of driver + car, in the environment of a race-track. There was a famous Formula 1 driver (multiple season points titles to his credit) by the name of Alain Prost, aka "The Professor". He was famous for "saving the car" (especially tires) in early/mid stages of the race, & finishing strong late in the race. Another driver known for this was Rick Mears (cut his teeth in offroad racing, 4-time Indy 500 winner), who would always "stay in the hunt", & go for the win in the later stages.

    The above Strategy is what TM lacked. They were trying to go TOO FAST..TOO SOON. It's the old fable of the Tortoise & the Hare:

    "Slow & Steady wins the race"

    In naval speak, they say "Steady as she goes". TM was trying to go for the grand-slam in their rookie-at-bat (I commend them for their go-for-it-attitude), but "Discretion is the Better Part of Valor")

    Lo & Behold, the tranny issue bit them (their failure to setup a "protective umbrella" short/medium/long term R&D program, prevented a "rescue" solution), & we are where we are today..scrambling. TM is still "throwing money at the problem", hiring all sorts of top tier people. But, have they realized their mistakes & made adjustments to their Strategy? ("Risk Management", as per Bobby Baldwin the famous Vegas casino exeuctive & championship Poker player, business is afterall somewhat of a poker game)

    "Increasingly, it's a race between Education [ R&D program, "Book Knowledge"/Academia & "Real World Knowledge"/Racing ] & Disaster"
    -- H.G. Wells

    TM may be "getting away with it" with their Drivetrain 1.5 "save", but can they continue along in poor "risk management" modus-operanda? No, it will eventually catch up with them. You can only "goto the well" so often, before Mr. Fate will intervene.

    Maybe it's good that Martin is no longer there, he is free to use the lessons from TM ("Experience is a Great Teacher") to start his next venture. Hopefully, partner with this upcoming "Interdisciplinary Collaborative/Cooperative R&D Inst for Alternative Energy" to minimize risk for his new company.
     
  16. Laurent

    Laurent Member

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    Judging from your posts, I wouldn't be surprised if Martin chose instead to get away from you as fast as possible, like 0 to 60 under 4 seconds.
     
  17. chimpanzee

    chimpanzee Member

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    #17 chimpanzee, Sep 12, 2008
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2008
    "Talk sense to a fool, & he calls you foolish"
    -- Euripides

    This is a familiar response when dealing with simpletons. I defer to Stephen Wolfram's remarks, when he left UIUC (triple appointment in Math, Physics, Computer Science):

    "It was a mind numbing experience"
    -- S. Wolfram, Re: undergrad students (as a whole, not everyone)

    Another example. The recent CERN/LHC turn on, which has resulted in the usual attacks by ignoramuses/fools. MIT physicist Frank Wilczek/Nobel Laureate (who I know, & plan on working with in a HEP related project) was the target of death threats

    Thanks for the feedback, I take it as a compliment.

    Similarly, Martin's collision with xxx at TM is similar, he ran afoul of the same phenomena when trying to deal with idiots. Justine Musk said recently on her blog:

    "It's one thing to be adored, but when you're reviled in equal measure...now that's a sign you've truly made it."
    -- smashed car. sold book. met Coldplay, went to dinner with Coldplay upon Elon's request (after they visited TM LA store)


    "If you're gonna go, GO BIG"
    "Go Hard..or GO HOME"
    -- offroad racing saying

    "I always thought they went only half-way..NOT ALL THE WAY"
    -- Dr. Ella Leppert (my HS history teacher)

    I get the impression that there's been a lack of "following through" (as per the Eddie Rickenbacker quote "I shall give you a 6 word formula for Success: First, Think things through..then FOLLOW THROUGH")

    TM was doing more "spending money" than "thinking through".

    Judging from the lack of planning/forethought at TM (their management team), mainly not putting in place a short/medium/long term R&D program (Racing & Academia), most researchers (PhD level) would choose to stay away from the impending implosion at TM.

    All they were (& still are) doing is:

    - building up hype & getting VC funding

    - "throwing money at the problem"
    there is some innovation, however

    Not impressed. But, I give them high marks for entrepeneurship, Vision, & "waking up the industry". The latter is probably their greatest contribution.

    BTW, at the UIUC alumni awards honoring Martin, also was Dr. Alan Bovik (we got our PhDs at the same time '84, my PhD advisor was on his thesis committee):

    Alumni award winners announced - ECE Illinois - U of I

    His PhD advisor (David Munson) succeeded Ed Davidson (Martin's mentor @UIUC, mine also) as Dept Head EE Dept/Univ of Michigan. Alan used our labs (AARG) hi-speed Image Buffer (Air Force funded project), which was wire-wrapped by Martin while he was summer '81 intern (designed by R. Fletcher). I also designed & wire-wrapped an interface board for that image buffer.

    "Go into it [ project ], with a GROUP OF PEOPLE"
    -- Dr. XX, Caltech CS Dept

    Bottomline:
    There are a LOT of UIUC alumni, which could be useful weapons for Martin's future startup. Many of them are not only smart, but in powerful positions as well. (Director of Research & VP Corporate Technology @Intel, who was a summer '81 intern w/Martin). The R&D Inst could happen with a few emails & phone calls, via a "top down" approach.

    "It's all about TRUST"
    -- Mario Andretti

    One lesson learned from TM, is that Martin was dealing with people he never worked with ("strangers"). The aforementioned UIUC alumni are less likely to screw you, there's a Law of Brotherhood going on.

    "In a time of Need, YOU KNOW WHO YOUR REAL FRIENDS ARE"
    "that's what friends are for"

    My principal motivation is to help an old friend (Martin), I really had no interest in Alternative Energy or EV. Seriously. Funny thing happened, as I got more involved with a solution for Martin, I began to get INTO the whole Alternative Energy thing. I'm a fan now, & probably "jumping into the game" like Martin did.
     
  18. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    chimpanzee:

    Any idea why Martin never seems to respond to your posts?

    With all the name dropping and idea proposing you have done, has he seen fit to contact you about them?
     
  19. chimpanzee

    chimpanzee Member

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    #19 chimpanzee, Sep 12, 2008
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2008
    I've been making my case know, about setting up a National Center for Energy Applications (to parallel the NCSA/National Ctr for Supercomputing Applications, that was founded by Dr. Larry Smarr/UIUC back in the 80's), as a virtual R&D Inst that is spread out "virtually" at leading Academic Institutions in USA.

    It would help EV companies like TM, to lessen the burden of "Pushing the Technology" (which often "exceeds the limits", & creates engineering challenges & time-sensitive crises). It might have avoided last years crisis.

    It would include:

    1) Caltech
    illustrious track record in Alternative Energy & Automotive. Dr. Paul Macready (Caltech aeronautics PhD) who founded Aerovironment, whose contract work for Hughes (partner with GM for EV1) was instrumental for EV1. This is where A. Cocconi & W. Rippel did their pioneering work, which led AC to found AC Propulsion. Which is where Martin was led to, in his search for an off-the-shelf EV sportscar. In the end, TM licensed ACP's PEM for the Roadster.

    Produced the legendary Jim Hall, who invented "ground effects" for Auto Racing (Indycar & Formula 1). He is on the Advisory Board, for the Caltech Mech. Eng Dept.

    2) UIUC
    produced Martin Eberhard, co-founder of Tesla Motors. Another UIUC/Coordinated Science Laboratory/AARG alumni (same generation as Martin, early 80's) is Dr. Steve Cross, who is Vice-President of Georgia-Tech & President of GTRI/Georgia-Tech Research Inst, the latter which is involved with battery-technology research.

    It also produced Dr. yyy (PhD '94, EE/Artificial Intelligence, the same field as Martin & me @UIUC/EE), who is now Vice-President & Director of Research of YYY (800 million dollar govt contractor in Virginia), whose company was involved with the LIVE Iridium vehicle-tracking for the DARPA Grand Challenge '05. I did a successful project with him/YYY in 2006

    Martin's mentor Dr. Ed Davidson went on to Univ of Michigan/EE Dept as dept head. I last spoke with Ed in 2001, about my concept for an Interdiscipinary R&D Inst. Another UIUC EE prof (David Munson), also became UofM/EE Dept head (PhD advisor to A. Bovik/UT Austin, who received a UIUC alumni award a week ago on Sept 5, along with Martin). Think of the connections to Michigan based auto industry (GM, Ford, Chrysler, et al) that they have. Hint: "drive by wire" (computers in the control loop), an EE specialty.

    3) Georgia-Tech & GTRI
    see above. Leading engineering univ. At the time Martin & I were at UIUC, MIT was ranked #1, Stanford & UIUC were tied for 2nd.

    S. Cross's ex-Gatech colleague is now President of Caltech. There is cross over with the above universities, so a Collaborative/Cooperative effort betweeen Caltech/Georgia-Tech/UIUC is even more probable.

    4) UC San Diego/CALIT2
    Dr. Larry Smarr (ex UIUC prof, founder of NCSA while at UIUC) moved on to lead CALIT2. The latter is leveraging Communications Technology to "help the emerging Economy of California". They have automotive related projects, so TM is a potential industrial partner. L. Smarr has experience going to Washington DC, pitching a proposal (with the RIGHT strategy), knowing Washington contacts, etc

    Martin's co-summer intern '81 at Coordinated Science Lab/AARG was Andrew Chien (MIT PhD Computer Science) who became professor @UCSD. BTW, AC's dad was Martin's supervisor that summer. He recently moved on to Intel, as Director of Research & VP of Corporate Technology. His interest is Inference Computing (part of Ubiquitous Computing), which is related to my idea of using mobile-media-solutions for a Distributed Architecture for remote R&D infrastructure. More importantly, Intel could easily be an Industrial Partner for "drive by wire", e.g. microprocessors. There's a link to Caltech, since the co-founder of Intel is Gordon Moore (Caltech alumni), who makes philanthropic donations to Caltech.

    5) Stanford
    their DARPA Grand Challenge team (led by Dr. Sebastian Thrun, a CMU alumni) won in a Red Bull sponsored VW Touareg.

    6) CMU
    Dr. Steve Cross went thru CMU (Director of SEI/Software Engineering Inst), before he moved on to Georgia-Tech. CMU has a strong Artificial Intelligence/Vision/Robotics program (at the time Martin & I were at the "AI lab" at UIUC: MIT, Stanford, CMU were the "big 3"). They were the favorites in the DARPA Grand Challenge '05, & ended up winning the followup Urban Challenge (autonomous navigation vehicles in urban setting). I almost got hired after getting my PhD '84 here, & know Takeo Kanade. I just met him (the last time we met was at the '84 IJCPR/Int'l Joint Conference on Pattern Recognition in Montreal, where I gave a paper) at the recent SIGGRAPH 2008 conference.

    7) Univ of Michigan
    Martin's mentor Dr. Ed Davidson ended up Dept Head at EE dept. David Munson (UIUC EE prof) later became dept head as well. Think of the connections with Michigan based automotive firms like GM, Ford, Chrysler, et al.

    8) MIT
    name speaks for itself. A leading researcher (Chemistry dept) for future battery technology is there.

    The above is a sample "dream team" of powerhouse Academic Partners.

    Industrial Partners candidates include

    1) TM

    2) Fraunhofer Inst
    they are designed to help German Industry like Daimler Benz, Volkswagen, BMW, by being pro-active in search/solution of engineering problems..BEFORE they arise in manufacturing). I've been in touch with these people since 2001 (when I began to formulate my concept for an Interdisciplinary R&D Inst), & just renewed some contacts at the recent SIGGRAPH 2008 conference. I met a German CS prof (w/Fraunhofer Inst), who was excited about my idea involving TM.

    3) Northrop-Grumman
    1 of the Caltech Mech Eng profs is on sabbatical to NG, I believe to explore the Alternative Energy option. There is an Aerospace + Alternative Energy paradigm, i.e. the Technology for the former can be translated/transferred to the latter. Aerovironment (Aeronautics + Environment) founded by Dr. Paul Macready (Caltech alumni, aeronautics PhD) was probably the 1st to demonstrate this concept.

    one of my Dad's PhD students is high up @NG (Houston), & I've recently contacted him. This hi-level contact (& others above) are key to a "top-down" approach to getting some Infrastructure created for Alternative Energy.

    4) Boeing
    1 of my Dad's (who was Dept Head Aeronautical/Astronautical Eng @UIUC) PhD students ended up Program Mgr for the Space Shuttle Division. My dad has extensive contacts with Boeing, his consulting work with them dates back to the 50's. Again, the Aerospace + Alternative Energy paradigm is relevant. With the political hype for Alternative Energy in full swing (subsidies, loans, etc), Aerospace companies will be eager to "jump in the game"

    =========

    The appropriate question is

    "What would happen if the powers-to-be in Washington got their sh*t together ("reinvented themselves") & designed a Collaborative/Cooperative Infrastructure (like Japan does for Govt & Industry) to ACCELERATE the development of Alternative Energy in this country?"

    The above would include this virtual R&D Inst (located at powerhouse American universities, with Industrial Partners like TM), as an "R&D engine" for Alternative Energy companies. It would also include a comprehensive program to subsidize Entrepeneurial activity in Alternative Energy. Say, Martin's next entrepeneurial venture.

    People like L. Smarr (who has gone to Washington, pitched a proposal, & funded the founding of NCSA), M. Eberhard (who has testified on Congressional panels), Dr. Steve Cross (VP of Georgia-Tech & President of GTRI, who has testified about Internet Security at Congressional Panel), & others (like Bob Lutz/GM, who is friendly w/Martin) need to be recruited to do the above. All 3 are UIUC alumni, have brand-name-recognition & are in a position of power.

    [ CONTINUED ]
     
  20. chimpanzee

    chimpanzee Member

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    I need more feedback from the "smarter than the average bear" members on this forum, to fine-tune the above. Then, a proposal can be written.

    "Talk the talk, walk the walk"

    My verbal hyperactivity of recent, is towards the latter: getting sh*t done, making things happen. I view it as a continuation of what Martin has started (with his co-founding of Tesla Motors)

    "Life is 20% what happens to you, 80% HOW YOU RESPOND TO IT"
    -- a wise man once said

    The events of last year at TM, are suggesting a future response. Hopefully, it can be conducive towards an _accelerated_ movement by US Govt & Industry/Academia towards a cool Needs/Solution package for Alternative Energy. There's a saying in Business "Timing is Everything". The outrageous gas prices & downturn in Economy, might be the perfect stimulus to get the Washington characters motivated to design something to boost the American economy.
     

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