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Tesla Autopilot Is Better Than You Think (Video)

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Published on June 12th, 2020 | by Johnna Crider

June 12th, 2020 by Johnna Crider 


In a video on YouTube titled “Tesla Autopilot is better than you think! Here’s why,” Wes Bard gives a detailed analysis as to why this is so. In the video (featured above), Bard goes over the basics of what people think when they think of Autopilot. They think about what it can do, such as keeping you in a lane even while driving along a tight curve or adjusting the speed to match the car ahead of you. But this is just the tip of the iceberg, according to Bard.

He noted that the smallest details provide the key to seeing just how impressive Autopilot is. Bard used a video that Tesla released February of 2020 showing what the forward-facing camera sees to hone in on some of those details.

He started with the painted arrows on the road. In the video, they are labeled a certain way: LA, FA, and RA. These stand for Left Arrow, Front or Forward Arrow, and Right Arrow. If you look toward the horizon, you can see more of these labels in the distance. “If you’re not impressed yet, just remember that this is a computer recognizing arrows on a video that it has never seen before,” Bard said.

Stop Signs

Bard pointed out that Autopilot first saw the stop sign “really far back” and zoomed in to show that Autopilot saw the stop sign outlined and labeled in red. As he drove closer toward the intersection, one important detail was the red line where the vehicle should come to a complete stop along with a label similar to those on the arrows — the letter S.

In another example with a truck in front of the vehicle, Bard remarked that Autopilot was still able to properly label the stop sign line on the road — whereas human eyes can’t see the physical line if it’s obscured by a vehicle.

A logical thinker would automatically know that place is where you should come to a complete stop since there is a stop sign. The fact that a computer knows this as well shows just how advanced at critical thinking while driving Autopilot has become.

Wet Road

Bard said that this was one of the most impressive things that he has seen Autopilot do. In the video, he pointed out the text on the left where you see a numerical value followed by text. If you notice in the screenshot above, most of the text is written in white except for the “Restricted” line.

Just above “Restricted” is the “Wet_Road” line. Keeping an eye on that as the video plays, you can see that as the car drives closer to a puddle just before the stop sign, the wet road line turns green or yellow. Also, those numbers change. “This is a computer recognizing water on a road from a video feed that it has never seen before,” Bard remarked.

Little Red X

If what Bard suspected the little red x means is accurate, then this is just more proof of how intelligent Autopilot has become. The little red x appears right where the road splits to go left or right. Bard suspects that the red x is a labeling of the right lane line as a lane line that Autopilot should not follow.

I also noticed something in the video — that little red x is just to the right of the right line while barely touching the white line — as if blocking an entrance. X usually means stop symbolically, and an intelligent person who knows this would see the red x and veer towards the left.

Other things that Bard covered in his video were traffic lights, labeling of other cars, indicating a lane line where cars are parked. “Even though there’s no actual line painted, the car recognizes that those parked cars are a border in a sense where the car cannot go and therefore puts a lane line.”

This is exciting to think about. I appreciate Bard’s analysis. When Tesla tweeted that video, I didn’t really pay attention to the details. To me, it looked like the inside of a computer game and something that was advanced in a way that I couldn’t understand.

Bard’s analysis helped my own mind to see more than just fast-moving, squiggly, colored lines dancing around the screen and I think this is what I appreciate the most from his video. He explained it in a way that the average person who may not have the mind of a tech person could understand it.

This makes me appreciate Autopilot even more. I mean, think about it. A computer can take information from its own environment and make split-second decisions based on the factors that are happening in real-time. I have to agree — Tesla’s Autopilot is better than we often think, and will continue to improve.

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Tags: Tesla, Tesla autopilot, Wes Bard


About the Author

Johnna Crider is a Baton Rouge artist, gem and mineral collector, and Tesla shareholder who believes in Elon Musk and Tesla. Elon Musk advised her in 2018 to “Believe in Good.” Tesla is one of many good things to believe in. You can find Johnna on Twitter




Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2020/06/12/tesla-autopilot-is-better-than-you-think-video/

Energy

Duke Energy Florida Plans To Double Its Solar Power Capacity

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Clean Power Duke Energy Florida community solar

Published on July 3rd, 2020 | by Steve Hanley

July 3rd, 2020 by Steve Hanley 


You don’t have to hit the management team at Duke Energy over the head with a 2×4 to get them to wake up to the advantages of solar power, but it might help. Perhaps its executives have been spurred on by the massive investment by cross-state rival NextEra Energy, a division of Florida Power & Light, which plans to install 30 million solar panels between now and 2030. Or perhaps they have stopped drinking the fossil fuel Kool-Aid and noticed that solar power is simply cheaper than nuclear, coal, or natural gas.

Okay, the crossover point may not be here quite yet, but utility companies think in terms of decades and they put a premium on predictability. Natural gas is abundant and cheap right now, but there’s no guarantee it will be in 2027. The cost of electricity from a solar power plant that comes online today can be accurately calculated down to the tenth of a penny 20 years from now. That’s the kind of metric that appeals to decision makers.

Duke Energy Florida community solar

Image credit: Duke Energy Florida

Whatever the motivation might be, Duke Energy this week submitted a proposal to the Florida Public Service Commission requesting approval for a plan to build 750 megawatts of new solar capacity at a cost of $1 billion. A spokesperson for Duke Energy Florida tells the Tampa Bay Times, “This is an opportunity that provides customers a way to provide them solar access while actually lowering their bills over time.” The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Vote Solar, and Walmart helped to develop the plan.

Clean Energy Connection

The solar electricity will be made available through Duke Energy Florida’s Clean Energy Connection Program, “which is delivering on what our consumers desire — budget friendly clean energy options. It will be a quantifiable way for customers to cooperate reducing carbon emissions,” said Catherine Stempien, President of Duke Energy Florida, in a press statement. “We know that larger scale solar is the most affordable way to get the benefits of solar on our entire system as well as this program gives consumers, particularly those who might not have the capacity to set up solar in your home, an engaging option to roof panels.”

The Clean Connection program is designed to allow customers who cannot install rooftop solar — such as renters and condo dwellers — to obtain the benefits of clean solar electricity. Another features is the access to solar power is portable if a customer moves anywhere within the Duke Energy Florida service area.

“This is an opportunity that provides customers a way to provide them solar access while actually lowering their bills over time,” said Ana Gibbs, a spokesperson for  the company. About 26 MW will be set aside for low income customers. To date, the city of St. Petersburg has signed up for 28.3 MW while 12 commercial and industrial customers have reserved 540 megawatts of capacity.

In essence, customers will pay $8.35 a month for a one kilowatt block of power. The company says if they remain customers for 7 years, they will earn rebates that will offset the cost of their participation in the program.

Solar In Florida

Solar power has a been a bone of contention in Florida for years, with utility companies waging an aggressive disinformation campaign against rooftop solar. It got so bad, the major utilities spent millions on a campaign for an amendment to the Florida constitution that would have outlawed individual rooftop solar systems. The attitude of the companies has always been, “It’s our electricity, dammit, and we will decide how it is generated and how much you will pay for it.”

Florida Power & Light has a similar community solar program that is more than double the size of the one Duke Energy Florida is proposing. FPL says more than 120,000 families and small businesses have expressed interest in participating in its SolarTogether program. The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and Vote Solar were also directly involved in promoting that community solar initiative.

Driving around Florida today, rooftop solar panels are conspicuous by their absence. The utility companies may be high on solar electricity for their own use but have been largely successful at limiting the number of solar panels on the rooftops of the Sunshine State. What a waste to squander all that prime territory for erecting solar panels. Attitudes in Florida are changing but not nearly fast enough.


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Tags: Clean Energy Connection, Duke Energy, Duke Energy Florida


About the Author

Steve Hanley Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his homes in Florida and Connecticut or anywhere else the Singularity may lead him. You can follow him on Twitter but not on any social media platforms run by evil overlords like Facebook.



Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2020/07/03/duke-energy-florida-plans-to-double-its-solar-power-capacity/

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CleanTechnica’s First Virtual Trade Show! Top Tesla Aftermarket Gear!

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Published on July 3rd, 2020 | by Andrea Bertoli

July 3rd, 2020 by Andrea Bertoli 


virtual trade showWelcome to the very first CleanTechnica Virtual Trade Show — join us on July 29 to attend!

In this first virtual trade show event, we’re hosting some of the coolest companies making the newest and most useful products for your S3XY car. This Virtual Trade Show will be focused on Tesla aftermarket accessories and products — all the gear you need to make your car the best. Whether you own a Tesla currently or are planning on buying one in the near future, you can check out what these great companies have to offer.

Register here to attend our first Virtual Trade Show! (It’s free.)

What’s a Virtual Trade Show?

We will host a free, live event via Zoom. Each participating company will have a short introduction and pitch, and then we will divide the meeting into dedicated booths (aka “Zoom breakout rooms”). Attendees can then drop into the different booths for any length of time to learn more about specific products, ask the manufacturers questions, or just have a chat with the founders.

This is a fun, climate-friendly way to attend a cool event, instead of flying across the country (too many emissions) and sharing space with too many people (#socialdistancing). You can still check out “booths” at this virtual event to learn more about the various brands and have a closer look at products.

Tesla Aftermarket Gear for Our 1st Event

We’re inviting some of our favorite Tesla aftermarket parts companies to join us for our first trade show since Tesla is apparently the most popular topic on here and since most EV buyers buy Teslas.

CleanTechnica readers (or anyone!) can attend this event for free, and can enter to win a $100 gift card from the company of their choice. We’ll announce the participating companies as soon as we have the full list!

The Virtual Trade Show will be hosted by our CEO, Zachary Shahan, and many on the CleanTechnica team will be working behind the scenes to help it run smoothly. If you have any questions, please contact Andrea (me).

Register here to attend our first Virtual Trade Show!


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Tags: CleanTechnica Virtual Trade Shows, Tesla, Tesla Accessories, Tesla aftermarket, Tesla aftermarket products, Tesla gear, Tesla Model 3 accessories, Tesla Model 3 aftermarket parts, Tesla Model 3 parts, Tesla Model S Accessories, Tesla Model X Accessories, Tesla Model Y accessories, Tesla Model Y aftermarket parts, Tesla Model Y parts, Tesla parts, trade shows


About the Author

Andrea Bertoli I’m an experienced marketing and sales professional focused on mission-driven businesses, and currently I manage Sales and Partnerships for CleanTechnica. I’m also a journalist, green investor, wellness educator, surfer, and yogi. Find delicious food and wellness stuff on my Instagram @VibrantWellness.



Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2020/07/03/cleantechnicas-first-virtual-trade-show-top-tesla-aftermarket-gear/

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City Of Sydney Goes 100% Renewable

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Published on July 3rd, 2020 | by Steve Hanley

July 3rd, 2020 by Steve Hanley 


As of July 1, Sydney, the largest city in Australia, will power all its operations — street lights, sports facilities, buildings, and the historic Town Hall — with 100% renewable energy from local sources. The clean energy transition, made possible by a power purchase agreement put together by Flow Power, is worth $60 million and is projected to save the city more than a half million dollars on its electricity bills every year for the next 10 years.

Sydney began working to reduce its carbon footprint in 2016 when it adopted a plan to cut its carbon emissions 70% by 2030. The city calculates this latest power purchase agreement will help it reach that goal 6 years earlier than planned. It also worked hard to make sure the sources of the renewable energy it uses were all local to the area, providing economic development and job growth opportunities for people living in surrounding communities.

Two Solar Farms & One Wind Farm

The PPA will use electricity from three sources — 2 solar farms and one wind farm. Three-quarters of it will be provided by the Sapphire Wind Farm near Inverell. It is the largest wind farm in New South Wales with a capacity of 270 MW generated by 75 turbines that stand 200 meters high. The reason wind is such a big part of the package is that the majority of the electricity the city consumes goes to power its 23,000 street lights. Sydney has converted about 6,000 of them to LEDs recently and has plans to convert another 12,000 soon.

“The process of buying energy from a generator when its output matches your demand is known as load matching. For example, if you use most of your electricity at night, like we do, you choose to buy more wind power than solar power. It’s not just a good idea financially — if every large energy buyer practiced load matching, our electricity grid would become much more stable and sustainable,” the city says.

Even though the wind blows at night when the city uses most of its electricity, Sydney is also sourcing renewable energy from two solar farms, one of which is a 3 MW community solar installation. The Shoalhaven project is being developed by Flow Power in partnership with local community group Repower Shoalhaven, a not for profit volunteer community enterprise that develops community solar projects.

“When we decided to pursue a 100% renewable electricity deal, we knew we wanted to help grow the renewables sector in NSW as well. We didn’t want to simply buy renewable electricity that was already being produced. So we worked with our broker to make sure we were supporting new projects,” the city says.

“We ended up partnering with a community energy group that needed help to get a project off the ground. Repower Shoalhaven could not have become operational without our investment. By partnering with this project, we’re stimulating the market and helping the renewables sector grow.”

Sydney Goes Solar

Sydney has also installed solar panels on a number of municipal buildings. “By mid-2021, we expect to have more than 7,800 solar panels on the roofs of our properties. As the mix of storage and generation on our electricity grid changes, solar solutions like this could provide reliability and resilience to our electricity network and potentially prevent blackouts,” says Mayor Clover Moore. The city has installed a 500 kWh battery storage facility supplied by Tesla to help use that solar power as efficiently as possible.

While not nearly as large as the Tesla battery located at the Hornsdale facility in South Australia, together with all the solar panels the city is installing it helped prevent the construction of a natural gas peaker plant in the area which would have spewed carbon emissions into the air for all of its 40+ year service life.

Looking To The Future

In its online announcement about the new power purchase agreement, the city says,

“Our new deal kicks in from 1 July but we’re already looking to the future and how our electricity use might evolve in the years ahead. As more Australian individuals and organisations generate power themselves using rooftop solar, the opportunities will increase for a 2-way system that involves energy users both buying and selling electricity. Many households in the City of Sydney area already sell their excess solar power back to the grid.

“There’s also the practice known as demand response. This is when consumers choose not to use electricity during times of high demand in exchange for lower rates or some other form of reward. The NSW electricity market is moving towards a demand response model and we’re going to be at the forefront of it. That’s why we’ve included provisions for demand response in our current power purchase agreement.”

The Australian national government may refuse to address climate change and stick its head in the sand when it comes to renewables — despite evidence that investment in renewables creates three times as many jobs as investments in fossil fuels — but local communities and state governments are defying the elected idiots and charting their own course to a sustainable future.


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Tags: 100% renewable energy, Australia, Demand response, Flow Power, LED street lights, load matching, Power Purchase Agreement, Sydney


About the Author

Steve Hanley Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his homes in Florida and Connecticut or anywhere else the Singularity may lead him. You can follow him on Twitter but not on any social media platforms run by evil overlords like Facebook.



Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2020/07/03/city-of-sydney-goes-100-renewable/

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