AI and Autopilot: How Tesla is winning the race to achieve vehicle autonomy [Infographic]

At the intersection of self-driving tech and artificial intelligence, lies the future of personal transport. And Tesla [NASDAQ: TSLA] continues to lead the industry as it collects billions of miles of data collected from Tesla's fleet. Now, according to Charlotte Hu at Teslarati*, "At the end of June, [Tesla's Elon] Musk hired Andrej Karpathy as the new Director of Artificial Intelligence at Tesla, and MIT Technology Review claims it is the start of a plan to rethink automated driving at Tesla."

Above: Tesla's fleet is aggregating data at a staggering rate (Instagram: ecar_rent)

How? "Karpathy comes from OpenAI, a non-profit company founded by Musk that focuses on 'discovering and enacting the path to safe artificial general intelligence.' Afterwards, he moved on to intern at DeepMind, a place that spotlighted reinforcement learning with AI. Karpathy’s previous research focuses are on image understanding and recognition, which directly translates into applying proven image recognitions algorithms in Tesla’s Autopilot."

Electrek recently reported that Karpathy explained Tesla's advantage in the following manner: "The Tesla fleet is like a large, distributed, mobile data center. Each machine is attached to a big battery, a person, and moves very fast.” For more insight into Karpathy, check out a presentation he did on visualizing and understanding recurrent neural networks.


Above: Karpathy discusses 'Recurrent Network Language Models for Dense Image Captioning' at the RE-Work Deep Learning Summit in San Francisco (Youtube: RE•WORK)

Tesla's latest hire is bound to have an immediate impact. According to Hu, "Karpathy will be a notable asset for Tesla’s Autopilot team.... [which] will be able to apply Karpathy’s deep knowledge of reinforcement learning systems. Reinforcement learning for AI is similar to teaching animals via repetition of a behavior until a positive outcome is yielded. This type of machine learning will allow Tesla Autopilot to navigate complex and challenging scenarios." 

What differentiates Tesla from other players in the self-driving space? "While other companies are investing heavily in autonomous fleets, Tesla far outpaces them in terms of data collection and release of finished product." And most recently, "With the introduction of Autopilot 2.0 and Tesla’s 'Vision' system, and billions of miles real-world driving data collected by Model S and Model X drivers, Tesla continues to create a detailed 3D map of the world that has increasingly finer resolution as more vehicles are purchased, delivered and placed onto roadways."

For a broad overview of how Tesla's Autopilot tech works, see the infographic below...




*Source: Teslarati; Electrek / Infographic: Instamotor