Tesla’s Musk Uses Twitter to Find Engineers for ‘Autopilot’ Car

Tesla’s Musk Uses Twitter to Find Engineers for ‘Autopilot’ Car

Elon Musk, Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA)’s unconventional chief executive officer, has turned to Twitter Inc. to further his goal of developing self-driving cars by posting a “help wanted” ad on the social media site. Musk, who told Bloomberg in May that Tesla would eventually develop its own “autopilot” technology for cars, wrote in a post on Twitter yesterday that the Palo Alto, California-based maker of electric cars is serious about developing such a system. “Intense effort under way at Tesla to develop a practical autopilot system for Model S,” said Musk, 42. “Engineers interested in working on autonomous driving, pls email autopilot@teslamotors.com. Team will report directly to me.”Tesla, which has seen its market value top $20 billion this year, is intent on becoming the world’s most profitable seller of battery-powered autos, using technology designed in-house. The company plans this year to deliver 21,000 of its flagship Model S sedans, priced from about $70,000, and double that volume next year as sales in Europe and Asia expand.

Google Inc. (GOOG) in recent years has drawn attention for its efforts to develop a self-driving car, and Nissan Motor Co. said last month it would sell so-called autonomous cars by 2020.

“This is the topic du jour in the auto industry, and Tesla wants to be seen as being part of the movement,” said Karl Brauer, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book in Irvine, California.

‘Mr. Non-Traditional’

Musk is also “Mr. Non-Traditional in the auto industry, and seems to love that image,” Brauer said. “Putting a help wanted ad on Twitter on this completely confirms that image.”

Technologies that can take over for drivers are a logical step in the evolution of cars, Musk said in May. He’s talked with Google about the self-driving technology it’s developing, though prefers to think of applications that are akin to an airplane’s autopilot system, said Musk, who also runs rocket maker Space Exploration Technologies Corp. and co-founded PayPal Inc.

“I like the word autopilot more than I like the word self-driving,” Musk said in the interview. “Self-driving sounds like it’s going to do something you don’t want it to do. Autopilot is a good thing to have in planes, and we should have it in cars.”

With more than 380,000 Twitter followers, many of whom will resend Musk’s comments to others, the post seeking autopilot engineers may be seen by more people than would look at the Los Angeles Times’ classified ads, for example, Brauer said.

“I think he’ll do pretty well,” he said.

Tesla was little changed at $166.22 at yesterday’s close in New York. The shares have surged almost fivefold this year, compared with a 22 percent increase for the Russell 1000 Index. Musk’s net worth has more than tripled this year to $8.1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

— With assistance from Andy Fixmer in Los Angeles. Editors: Stephen West, Ben Livesey

To contact the reporter on this story: Alan Ohnsman in Los Angeles at aohnsman@bloomberg.net

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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