Tesla is working with famed video game engineer John Carmack to improve the interface performance in older vehicles.
Carmack is a legend in the video game world and in the broader computer science industry.
He made important advancements in 3D computer graphics and was the lead programmer on game-changing video games like Doom and Quake.
Later in his career, he focused his talents on virtual reality and became CTO of Oculus.
More recently, he stepped down from his role at Oculus to focus on general artificial intelligence.
In the 2000s, Carmack also had an interest in rocketry and started Armadillo Aerospace.
Several of these interests overlap with Elon Musk’s, who has a lot of respect for Carmack and tried to hire him for a long time.
While it doesn’t sound like Musk has convinced him to come work with him just yet, Carmack confirmed that he is actually working on a Tesla product.
Carmack drives a Tesla Model S, and he confirmed that he is working with Tesla engineers to improve interface performance:
“I did kind of volunteer to help them fix what I consider very poor user interface performance on the older model S (that I drive). Their engineers have been sharing data with me.”
Tesla has had performance issues with its older media control unit found in older Tesla Model S vehicles.
The automaker offers a media computer upgrade to improve performance, but you are stuck if you don’t want to pay the $2,500 upgrade.
As the owner of a 2012 Model S, I am excited about the prospect of that collaboration.
Carmack has a lot of experience running software with limitations on the hardware side, like running the first video games with 3D graphics on 1990s personal computers and VR games on a standalone VR headset.
If someone can help Tesla’s software run smoother on older MCUs, it’s him.
Also, it’s a step closer for Carmack to coming to work for Tesla. Considering his interest in general artificial intelligence, it looks like Musk’s part of the AI Day presentation was basically targeted at getting Carmack to come work on the project.
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