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Tesla’s humanoid robot ready for September reveal, says Musk • The Register

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If Elon Musk’s claims made during Tesla’s shareholder meeting this week are accurate, get ready for that humanoid robot he promised, some self-driving software update, and an overhauled Cybertruck. Then again, this is Elon we’re talking about.

The tech tycoon’s portion of Thursday’s meeting consisted of a Tesla corporate update that included a lot of standard fare, such as news that the automaker’s operations have reportedly produced more electricity than they’ve used and that the biz reached a 1.5 million annual vehicle production run-rate in June.

Beyond that, Musk’s predictions for his car company’s short-term future are part lofty, part hard to believe. As is Musk’s style, much of the talk was peppered with jokes – in this case about the upcoming version of Full Self-Driving (FSD) that, instead of being 10.12 or .13, “maybe it’ll be 10.69,” – and comments seemingly tailored to generate audience enthusiasm.

Elon’s look at Tesla’s future

Musk’s first stated goal was to ramp Tesla’s production up to two million vehicles a year, and with the company having recently hit the 1.5 million mark to date, that may be feasible.

Still, in the next sentence Musk admitted Tesla had recently manufactured its three millionth car since beginning production in 2012. Additionally, Musk said, Tesla’s California gigafactory has “run out of room,” and won’t be able to produce more than 700 to 800,000 cars a year. Tesla currently has a vehicle gigafactory in each of California, Shanghai, and Berlin, and two in Texas. 

Musk claims Tesla will eventually have 10 to 12 gigafactories able to output 1.5 to 2 million vehicles a year. 

Musk also said Tesla was close to “solving autonomy” – as in, autonomous self-driving cars – which he said will be “an amplification of free cash flow” for the business. Musk didn’t provide much in the way of details, though claimed the software was “working well for him,” was 90 percent successful in testing “complex left turns,” and that full autonomy was coming “this year, I swear.” So it sounds as though an FSD update is coming. The software is for now, and for a long time has been, a work in progress.

By the way, the California Dept of Motor Vehicles has accused Tesla of deceptive practices regarding the marketing of its super-cruise-control Autopilot and self-driving-ish FSD. The agency is unhappy that the names and branding of Autopilot and Full Self-Driving imply the vehicles can drive themselves when they are not in fact actually all that autonomous – or not autonomous at all.

During a Q&A, an investor asked Musk about the status of the Tesla Cybertruck, of which little has been seen since it was teased in 2019. “A lot has changed,” Musk said.

He mentioned specs and pricing would be different (read: more expensive) because Tesla “couldn’t anticipate quite the inflation we’ve seen,” as well as “various issues” Musk didn’t elaborate on. He said Tesla aims to be producing Cybertrucks by the middle of next year.

Optimus ready for primetime?

The claim that may attract the most scrutiny is Musk’s update on the humanoid Tesla robot “previewed” last year, when it was just an actor in a bodysuit, which he claims will be ready to show off at Tesla’s AI Day event on September 30. 

Now dubbed Optimus, Musk said people are underestimating the value of the as-yet unseen robot. “My guess is that Optimus will be more valuable than the car in the long term,” he added.

Optimus will, in Musk’s words, be able to “turn notions of what’s an economy on its head” by eliminating the need for humans to do unpleasant manual work. The billionaire’s presentation included what appeared to be Optimus’ hands in the shape of a heart, though despite claims that the robot would have “many cool updates,” nothing particular was shared. 

The 125-pound 5’8″ robot will allegedly be able to walk at 5 MPH, carry 45 pounds and deadlift 150 pounds, using visual sensors in its head and “human-level” hands. We’ll see in September, maybe.

The likelihood that Optimus is actually ready next month is, according to AI scientist Gary Marcus, “preposterous,” he told CNBC in April.

“Tesla has not even come close to reliably solving one relatively simple task,” Marcus said, referring to the years of work on self-driving that Tesla has yet to perfect though allegedly may do this year. Somehow. Say, what’s the Boring Company up to these days? ®

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Elon Musk sells Tesla shares worth $6.9bn as Twitter trial looms | Elon Musk

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Elon Musk has sold $6.9bn (£5.7bn) worth of shares in Tesla after admitting that he could need the funds if he loses a legal battle with Twitter and is forced to buy the social media platform.

The Tesla CEO walked away from a $44bn deal to buy Twitter in July but the company has launched a lawsuit demanding that he complete the deal. A trial will take place in Delaware in October.

“In the (hopefully unlikely) event that Twitter forces this deal to close *and* some equity partners don’t come through, it is important to avoid an emergency sale of Tesla stock,” Musk said in a tweet late on Tuesday.

In other comments on Twitter on Tuesday, Musk said “yes” when asked if he was finished selling Tesla stock. He also said he would buy Tesla stock again if the Twitter deal does not close.

Musk has committed more than $30bn of his own money to the financing of the deal, with more than $7bn of that total provided by a coterie of associates including tech tycoon Larry Ellison, the Qatar state investment fund and the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance.

Musk, the world’s richest person, sold $8.5bn worth of Tesla shares in April and had said at the time there were no further sales planned. But since then, legal experts had suggested that if Musk is forced to complete the acquisition or settle the dispute with a stiff penalty, he was likely to sell more Tesla shares.

Last week Musk launched a countersuit against Twitter, accusing the platform of deliberately miscounting the number of spam accounts on the platform. Twitter has consistently stated that the number of spam accounts on its service is less than 5% of its user base, which currently stands at just under 238 million. Legal experts have said that Musk will find it hard to convince a judge that Twitter’s spam issue represents a “company material adverse effect” that substantially alters the company’s value – and therefore voids the deal.

Musk sold about 7.92m Tesla shares between 5 August and 9 August, according to multiple filings. He now owns 155m Tesla shares or just under 15% of the electric carmaker.

The latest sales bring total Tesla stock sales by Musk to about $32bn in less than one year. However, Musk remains comfortably ahead of Jeff Bezos as the world’s richest man with an estimated $250bn fortune, according to the Bloomberg billionaires index.

Tesla shares have risen nearly 15% since the automaker reported better-than-expected earnings on 20 July, also helped by the Biden administration’s climate bill that, if passed, would lift the cap on tax credits for electric vehicles.

Musk also teased on Tuesday that he could start his own social media platform. When asked by a Twitter user if he had thought about creating his own platform if the deal didn’t close, he replied: “”.

With Reuters

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Iran reveals use of cryptocurrency to pay for imports • The Register

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Iran has announced it used cryptocurrency to pay for imports, raising the prospect that the nation is using digital assets to evade sanctions.

Trade minister Alireza Peyman Pak revealed the transaction with the tweet below, which translates as “This week, the first official import order was successfully placed with cryptocurrency worth ten million dollars. By the end of September, the use of cryptocurrencies and smart contracts will be widespread in foreign trade with target countries.”

It is unclear what Peman Pak referred to with his mention of widespread use of crypto for foreign trade, and the identity of the foreign countries he mentioned is also obscure.

But the intent of the announcement appears clear: Iran will use cryptocurrency to settle cross-border trades.

That’s very significant because Iran is subject to extensive sanctions aimed at preventing its ability to acquire nuclear weapons and reduce its ability to sponsor terrorism. Sanctions prevent the sale of many commodities and technologies to Iran, and financial institutions aren’t allowed to deal with their Iranian counterparts, who are mostly shunned around the world.

As explained in this advisory [PDF] issued by the US Treasury, Iran has developed numerous practices to evade sanctions, including payment offsetting schemes that let it sell oil in contravention of sanctions. Proceeds of such sales are alleged to have been funnelled to terrorist groups.

While cryptocurrency’s anonymity has been largely disproved, trades in digital assets aren’t regulated so sanctions enforcement will be more complex if Iran and its trading partners use crypto instead of fiat currencies.

Which perhaps adds more weight to the argument that cryptocurrency has few proven uses beyond speculative trading, making the ransomware industry possible, and helping authoritarian states like Iran and North Korea to acquire materiel for weapons.

Peyman Pak’s mention of “widespread” cross-border crypto deals, facilitated by automated smart contracts, therefore represents a challenge to those who monitor and enforce sanctions – and something new to worry about for the rest of us. ®

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Edwards Lifesciences is hiring at its ‘key’ Shannon and Limerick facilities

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The medtech company is hiring for a variety of roles at both its Limerick and Shannon sites, the latter of which is being transformed into a specialised manufacturing facility.

Medical devices giant Edwards Lifesciences began renovations to convert its existing Shannon facility into a specialised manufacturing centre at the end of July.

The expansion will allow the company to produce components that are an integral part of its transcatheter heart valves. The conversion is part of Edwards Lifesciences’ expansion plan that will see it hire for hundreds of new roles in the coming years.

“The expanded capability at our Shannon facility demonstrates that our operations in Ireland are a key enabler for Edwards to continue helping patients across the globe,” said Andrew Walls, general manager for the company’s manufacturing facilities in Ireland.

According to Walls, hiring is currently underway at the company’s Shannon and Limerick facilities for a variety of functions such as assembly and inspection roles, manufacturing and quality engineering, supply chain, warehouse operations and project management.

Why Ireland?

Headquartered in Irvine, California, Edwards Lifesciences established its operations in Shannon in 2018 and announced 600 new jobs for the mid-west region. This number was then doubled a year later when it revealed increased investment in Limerick.

When the Limerick plant was officially opened in October 2021, the medtech company added another 250 roles onto the previously announced 600, promising 850 new jobs by 2025.

“As the company grows and serves even more patients around the world, Edwards conducted a thorough review of its global valve manufacturing network to ensure we have the right facilities and talent to address our future needs,” Walls told

“We consider multiple factors when determining where we decide to manufacture – for example, a location that will allow us to produce close to where products are utilised, a location that offers advantages for our supply chain, excellent local talent pool for an engaged workforce, an interest in education and good academic infrastructure, and other characteristics that will be good for business and, ultimately, good for patients.

“Both our Shannon and Limerick sites are key enablers for Edwards Lifesciences to continue helping patients across the globe.”

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