When we think of Elon Musk, we tend to levitate toward Tesla and SpaceX, but Musk tends to go in all directions at once. He is undoubtedly one of the most brilliant people of our time. His vision for the future is astounding, and he isn’t afraid to just go for it or take risks.
Looking at the man who works 100 hours a week (and that’s conservative considering the 120 hours he used to work), there is a lot of things that Musk has his fingers in that we don’t even know about. I decided to take a look at some of the products he has been working on.
Tesla and SolarCity
The obvious one. This company started in July 2003 by engineers Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning under the name Tesla Motors. It was then joined by Elon Musk, J. B. Straubel and Ian Wright who were allowed to call themselves co-founders. Musk was the chairman who later became CEO and in February 2017 the company shortened it’s name to Tesla.
I think we all know about Tesla, if you don’t, you may have been hiding under a rock. Tesla is the leader in electric car manufacture, simple as that, and I spoke about it last week in a post about the latest demand and production report, so I won’t go on and on again.
However, a part of Tesla is also SolarCity, which is revolutionising solar powered roofs. The product is a solar panel that looks like a roof tile from tuscan style to slate roofing, so instead of having obvious looking panels on your roof, your actual roof becomes the solar panel. This product also comes with the Powerwall to store excess energy and there are also much larger versions that can power entire cities.
I think the biggest achievement for SpaceX is the reusable rocket. The problem that was faced, that is the “pain point” for NASA, was that they would spend billions building a rocket, launch it into space and that was it. If they wanted to do it again, they would have to start from scratch and use billions of dollars to build a new rocket.
So, what if instead of building, destroying and rebuilding, you could actually save an absolute ton of money by retrieving the rocket part? Makes sense right. However, once the rocket has been launched and the cargo section detached, how do you get the rocket to come home without it simply crashing to the ground? After all, nobody is piloting it.
This is where Musk comes in. He successfully created a rocket that could land without falling or crashing to the ground. This saves a boat load of money when you want to launch your next rocket. Just in case you were thinking of taking the family on a vacation to Mars by any chance.
But there is so much more SpaceX has accomplished. I don’t want to go into every single thing, just want to make you aware of everything that Musk is up to. So let’s get into some of the lesser known stuff.
This is a satellite constellation development project created by SpaceX. The idea here is to create a grid of low orbit satellites that will cover the globe which will create a space-based internet communication system.
What this will mean for our future is that everyone on the planet will be able to access high speed internet. Doesn’t matter if you are in the middle of a big city or in the middle of the Amazon rain forest, you will have internet access. I also believe the intention is to make this low cost so literally everyone will be able to take advantage of it.
Test satellites have been deployed and so far, as of May 2019 a small batch of 60 satellites have been set in motion and are in orbit. The intention is to put nearly 12,000 satellites into orbit for this project to be successful and should be completed by mid 2020.
The Boring Company
Now we start to get into the projects that not many people know about. Musk said in a tweet that he was sick and tired of the traffic problem and wished that someone would build tunnels so we could travel through them. This obviously created a spark of inspiration and on the same day, The Boring Company was registered.
Musk says that if you consider that the lowest mines go far lower than the highest skyscrapers have ever been able to reach, then going down makes more sense than going up. You have more real estate to build a series of tunnels that you can travel in to get from point A to point B without experiencing traffic congestion.
If you have a look at the demonstration videos then you would drive your car (most probably your Tesla) onto a platform that descends into the earth, places you in a tunnel where you move along (tests went at 40 km per hour but the intention is to make that more like 200 km per hour). When you get to the end, a platform simply raises you up to the surface again and you drive a little bit further to your final destination.
As an April Fool’s joke in 2018 Elon Musk tweeted that because Tesla was going bankrupt he was found passed out next to a Tesla Model 3 surrounded by Teslaquila bottles. The tweet came with image and all. People started to ask where they can get Teslaquila and so Mr Musk decided to create the Tesla brand of Tequila. However, we still wait because he is facing some difficulties from the Mexico Tequila regulatory council.
The Boring Company Flamethrower
After the Boring Company made a million dollars from a run of limited edition caps in 2017, Musk decided to develop the flamethrower. He wanted the next limited edition product to make $10mil, so he made 20,000 flamethrowers and sold them for $500 a piece. He did tell his fans not to buy the flamethrower (which he actually called “not a flamethrower” to get around shipping problems) because it was a terrible and dangerous idea. However, despite the warnings, all 20,000 units sold out quickly.
Because of his fear of Artificial Intelligence he decided to start OpenAI which is a non-profit research project to create safe AI which is called AGI and stands for Artificial General Intelligence.
In one interview he mentioned that his vision is to create an interface for humans that you place into your brain which connects with AI, essentially uploading and downloading between the AI and your own brain. This would keep machines safe because they wouldn’t be able to overtake human intelligence as the human would be on par with the machine. This project is called NeuraLink.
And from the creator of electric cars and rockets that can launch into space also comes candy. In May 2018 he tweeted that he is going to start a candy company and it is going to be amazing. He also said that he is going to build a moat and fill it with candy, and that Warren Buffett will not be able to resist investing. We are still however not sure if this was a serious product even though he said he was dead serious. It may have just been a joke and a jab at Warren Buffett. Who knows, maybe we’ll see Boring Candy on the shelves someday.
And that concludes my analysis of Elon Musk’s current adventures. You really can’t say the man is boring, well, I guess you could in relation to underground tunnels, flamethrowers and candy. Now he just needs to get us all to Mars.