Feeding and Funding Tesla’s Dojo

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Earlier this year Tesla announced their project DOJO during the recent Tesla Autonomy Investor Day. For Tesla, DOJO will process large quantities of video data from actual driving to help speed up Tesla’s self-driving capabilities. Looking back at some past updates, this is how it all could combine to a Masterplan to Feed 7 Fund DOJO:

  • Since April 2019, the new HW3 module is installed in all new Tesla vehicles. The HW3 module will enable full self-driving.
  • Tesla currently is perceived by industry experts as leading the auto industry in terms of innovation and self-driving capabilities.
  • Tesla reduced the price of its models over the past few months. The general idea was that it purely served to increase sales.

A plausible scenario when I look at these developments:

  • I expect video footage from the HW3 vehicles to be submitted to DOJO in some fashion; summaries, highlights, or (less likely) the full ride. Starting from April this year, that is already a lot of video to process and take into account. Also, I would not rule out that video from the older models can and is used to feed DOJO.
  • Tesla’s lead stands, but that would not warrant them to sit on their laurels. Making sure they ‘complete’ DOJO and achieve self-driving mastery early on, will allow them to maintain and extend that lead. Having these capabilities will enable them to sell either the software or modules to other OEMs, enabling Tesla’s income to scale faster.
  • The reduced prices were received as a mixed bag, but could well be intended to spur the number of cars on the road, get more data into DOJO. In that case, these discounts were part of the plan to feed and fund DOJO.

I have made some assumptions here, but if true, Tesla is bound to extend their lead even further for a reasonable price. Sure, they reduced their income but compensated for that by selling more vehicles. On top of that, they get more (video) data to feed DOJO and achieve self-driving mastery ahead of everybody else. In that case: Well played! I love it when a (Master)plan comes together.