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Tesla hacker who offered $1M bribe to Giga Nevada employee pleads guilty

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The Tesla hacker who attempted to infiltrate the company’s Gigafactory Nevada facility with malware, offering $1 million to an employee for help with the task, pleaded guilty to counts of “conspiracy to intentionally cause damage to a protected computer.”

Egor Igorevich Kriuchkov pleaded guilty, according to a U.S. Department of Justice complaint that was released yesterday. His sentence offered a maximum of five (5) years imprisonment, three (3) years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine or “twice the gross gain or gross loss resulting from the offense,” and a mandatory special assessment of $100, if he would have pleaded guilty, Engadget reported.

Tesla employee foregoes $1M payment, works with FBI to thwart cybersecurity attack

In Summer 2020, Kriuchkov contacted a Russian-speaking, non-U.S. citizen attempting to access Tesla’s computer networks. The initial contacts between Kriuchkov and the employee were made through WhatsApp, a popular messaging application for Smartphones. The employee and Kriuchkov met on August 1-3, asking to meet for “business.” The plan was revealed, and the Tesla employee was offered $500,000 initially, and an additional $500,000, for a total of $1 million if the operation was successful. He planned to receive sensitive information about Tesla and hold it for ransom, threatening to release company secrets or future developments if his demands were not met.

However, the plan fell through, as the employee met with the FBI, who outfitted the anonymous employee with a wire. He wore it during his next meeting with Kriuchkov and was able to get the hacker to reveal sensitive information about the elaborate scheme that led to his indictment. The hacker was arrested on August 22nd, 2020, in Los Angeles.

Originally, Kruichkov pleaded not guilty to the charges that were initially filed on September 3rd, 2020. A jury trial was planned for September of this year, and if he were found guilty, the aforementioned charges would have been what he was facing. However, the new guilty plea that Kriuchkov will carry a between four and ten-month sentencing with three years of supervised release. His fine will also be eliminated, but he will have to pay $14,824.88 in restitution.

Kruichkov’s full complaint from the U.S. Department of Justice is available below.

Plea Agreement for Egor Igorevich Kriuchkov by Joey Klender on Scribd

Tesla hacker who offered $1M bribe to Giga Nevada employee pleads guilty

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Source: https://www.teslarati.com/tesla-hacker-giga-nevada-pleads-guilty/

Automotive

SpaceX fires up sooty Falcon booster ahead of historic astronaut launch

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SpaceX says it has successfully completed the last major test standing between a flight-proven Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft and the company’s next historic astronaut launch.

Right on schedule, once-flown Falcon 9 booster B1061, orbit-proven Crew Dragon capsule C206, and a new expendable Falcon upper stage rolled out to Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Launch Complex 39A on Friday, April 16th, kicking off the last major steps for SpaceX’s second operational astronaut launch. Captured in great detail by NASA and SpaceX photographers, the rollout was completed without issue and the rocket was brought vertical and connected to the launch pad later the same day.

Less than 24 hours later, the fully integrated Falcon 9 was loaded with supercooled liquid oxygen and rocket-grade kerosene (RP-1) and ultimately fired up its nine first-stage Merlin 1D engines – a procedure virtually identical to a normal launch flow. All systems thus fully checked out and cleared for flight, SpaceX and NASA proceeded into a “dry dress rehearsal” early on Sunday.

Much like the Saturday static fire replicated almost every rocket-related aspect of launch, Sunday’s ‘dry dress’ served a similar role for the mission’s human elements – an international group of astronauts and the SpaceX and NASA teams that prepare them for flight. For Crew-2, Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon will be carrying Japanese (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, European (ESA) astronaut Thomas Pesquet, and NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur.

Those four astronauts will be flying on Falcon 9 booster B1061, already responsible for launching Crew Dragon’s operational debut in November 2020, making Crew-2 the first time in history that astronauts will fly on a flight-proven liquid rocket booster and flight-proven private rocket of any kind.

Falcon 9 B1061 first launched Crew-1 in November 2020. (Richard Angle)

(Quite literally) on top of that, they will also be riding in the Crew Dragon capsule responsible for enabling the United States’ first orbital human spaceflight launch in almost a decade less than a year ago. Dragon C206 successfully launched NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station (ISS) in late May 2020 and flawlessly returned them back to earth in early August, acing the first crewed US spaceflight since the Space Shuttle’s premature July 2011 retirement.

Crew Dragon C206 is the first privately-developed spacecraft in history to launch astronauts. (NASA)
Looking like a well-toasted marshmallow after its first orbital-velocity reentry, Dragon C206 has cleaned up nicely for its second astronaut launch. (NASA)
C206 looks like an entirely new Dragon after ~8 months of refurbishment. (SpaceX)

That means that Crew-2 will make Crew Dragon C206 the first crewed space capsule in history to launch astronauts more than once – a truly historic achievement but just the latest in a long line of successful uncrewed Dragon reuses over the last four years. That NASA – a famously risk-averse spaceflight agency – is at all willing to allow its astronauts to fly on a flight-proven Dragon or Falcon 9 booster at all is impressive and was perceived as a highly improbable outcome just a few years ago.

For NASA to allow SpaceX to perform both feats of unprecedented crewed rocket and spacecraft reuse on Dragon’s third human spaceflight ever is nothing short of the most resounding endorsement and validation of the company’s technical expertise that the space agency could ever offer. Thanks in large part to NASA’s flexibility and seemingly boundless confidence in SpaceX, the company has been able to expedite its astronaut launch plans in order to prevent major delays hampering Commercial Crew Program’s other partner – Boeing – from disrupting NASA’s presence on the ISS.

Falcon 9 is scheduled to launch Crew-2 no earlier than (NET) 6:11 am EDT (10:11 UTC) on Thursday, April 22nd.

(SpaceX)
(NASA)
(NASA)

SpaceX fires up sooty Falcon booster ahead of historic astronaut launch

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Source: https://www.teslarati.com/spacex-crew-2-reused-dragon-falcon-static-fire/

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Volvo to supply cars for Didi’s global autonomous driving fleets

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As the autonomous driving race in China heats up, Didi is rushing to expand its car fleets by picking Swedish automaker Volvo, an old partner of Uber, as its ally.

Didi said on Monday it will be using the XC90 SUVs of Volvo, which has been owned by Chinese auto company Geely since 2010, for its global network of robotaxis in the long term. Didi created a subsidiary dedicated to autonomous driving last year and the unit has since raised about $800 million from investors including SoftBank Vision Fund and IDG Capital. The subsidiary now has over 500 employees.

Didi started out as a ride-share app in 2012 and gobbled up Uber China in 2016. It now offers a range of mobility services including taxi hailing, ride-hailing, carpooling, shared bikes and scooters, as well as financial services for drivers. The company is seeking a valuation north of $100 billion in an initial public offering, Reuters reported last month.

Didi’s autonomous driving arm has been testing robotaxis for the past two years in China and the United States, but Volvo’s XC90 model will be the first to adopt Didi’s freshly minted self-driving hardware system called Gemini, which contains sensors like short, mid and long-range lidars, radars, cameras, a thermal imager; a fallback system; and remote assistance through 5G networks.

Didi said that its Gemini platform, coupled with Volvo’s backup functions including steering, braking and electric power, will eventually allow its robotaxis to remove safety drivers. If any of the primary systems fail during a ride, Volvo’s backup systems can act to bring the vehicle to a safe stop.

Didi is competing against a clutch of well-funded robotaxi startups in China, such as Pony.ai and WeRide, which are busy testing in major Chinese cities and California while splurging on R&D expenses to reach Level 4 driving. AutoX, another Chinese robotaxi company, announced last week that it will be using Honda’s Accord and Inspire sedans for its test drives in China. The edge of Didi, some suggest, is the mountains of driving data accumulated from its ride-hailing business spanning Asia, Latin America, Africa and Russia.

Rising electric automakers like Nio and Xpeng have also joined in the race to automate vehicles, making bold claims that they, too, will be able to remove safety drivers soon. Meanwhile, traditional car manufacturers don’t want to fall behind. BAIC, a state-owned enterprise, for instance, is adding Huawei’s advanced automation system and smart cockpit to its new electric passenger cars.

Updated headline on April 19 for clarity.


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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/04/19/didi-volvo-autonomous-driving/

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Neuralink posts more jobs based in Austin, Texas

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Elon Musk’s Neuralink posted five jobs based in Austin, Texas on its website. Neuralink wants to hire an Animal Care Specialist, Registered Veterinary Technician, a Veterinarian, an MEP Engineer, and a “general application” post in Texas.

The jobs posts located in Austin supports rumors that Elon Musk plans to build Neuralink facilities in the state, similar to his other companies. Word spread that Neuralink would build facilities in Texas in January when the company made a job post calling for a “Head of Construction.” Neuralink is now also looking for a mechanical, electrical, plumbing (MEP) engineer, which further suggests that the company plans to build facilities in Texas.

Neuralink also posted several jobs based in Austin related to animal care, an essential aspect of its research and development, as showcased by its most recent video featuring Pager the Macaque. The footage showed Pager playing Pong with his mind with the help of a Neuralink implant. Before Pager, Neuralink researchers also worked with pigs including, Joyce, Gertrude, and Dorothy, who attended the company’s live demo event last year.

Neuralink also posted a position called “General Application,” which proposed a unique proposition. Neuralink asks candidates applying under General Application to present their skill set and describe a job that would be the right fit for them at the company. “If we are intrigued we could just create a role that fits your skills!” Neuralink stated.

Since Musk revealed his interest in Texas, there have been clues hinting that most if not all of his companies have moved to the Lone Star state. The location of Neuralink’s potential facilities in Austin has not been revealed yet, but the job posts confirm that the company is coming to Texas.

Check out Neuralink’s video on Pager the Macaque playing Mindpong!

The Teslarati team would appreciate hearing from you. If you have any tips, email us at [email protected] or reach out to me at [email protected].

Neuralink posts more jobs based in Austin, Texas

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Source: https://www.teslarati.com/neuralink-jobs-austin-texas/

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Tesla drops Model 3’s price in Australia with help from Giga Shanghai exports

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Tesla’s strategy of exporting Model 3s from Gigafactory Shanghai to Australia seems to be bearing fruit, with the EV maker recently rolling out a series of price adjustments for the entry-level sedan. The price adjustments were notable, with vehicles like the Model 3 Standard Range Plus getting as much as AU$4,000 (US$3,000) off its cost.

With its recent price adjustment, the Model 3 Standard Range Plus now costs AU$62,900 (about US$48,500), $4,000 less than its previous price. The Long Range Dual Motor AWD variant’s cost saw a $AU$4,000 reduction as well, to AU$77,900 (about US$60,100). Lastly, the Model 3 Performance now sells for AU$89,900 (about US$69,000), which is AU$1,000 (about US$700) less than its previous cost.

Tesla’s vehicle prices in regions such as the United States have been volatile in recent months, and in Australia, this trend is somewhat the same. About six months ago, Tesla significantly lowered the prices of the Model 3 Standard Range Plus and Model 3 Long Range Dual Motor AWD by up to AU$6,000 (about US$4,600), and the Model 3 Performance received an AU$5,000 (about US$3,800) price cut.

With its current adjustment, the base Model 3 Standard Range Plus has now become 13.5% more affordable than it was 12 months ago. The vehicles’ current prices also make the new entry-level Teslas more attractive than their second-hand counterparts available in the market. Second-hand Model 3s in Australia command a high price, with some cars being listed around AU$68,000 (about US$52,000).

The price of the Model 3 in Australia has been poised for a reduction for months, mainly after Gigafactory Shanghai started exporting vehicles to foreign markets like Australia. So far, both the Model 3 Standard Range Plus and the Model 3 Long Range Dual Motor AWD are reportedly being shipped from China, while the Model 3 Performance is still being shipped from the United States.

It’s not just Australia that has seen a price drop for the Model 3. Just recently, Tesla also rolled out price cuts for the Model 3 in Japan by up to 24%, also thanks in part to the sedan now being sourced from Gigafactory Shanghai. So far, Tesla Japan’s price reductions seem to be working, as the Model 3 sales have seen a 1,300% rise.

Do you have anything to share with the Teslarati Team? We’d love to hear from you, email us at [email protected] or reach out to me at [email protected].

Tesla drops Model 3’s price in Australia with help from Giga Shanghai exports

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