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Tesla 'hackathon' aims to resolve worst robot bottlenecks

by Justin King

A report has compared Model 3 production troubles to GM\'s ill-fated attempt to build a \'lights-out\' fully automated factory in the 1980s.

Tesla is currently holding an internal 'hackathon' to resolve the worst two automation bottlenecks on the Model 3 assembly line.

The efforts were announced in Elon Musk's response to an Ars Technica report that draws parallels between Tesla's attempt at a completely robotic Model 3 production line and General Motors' ill-fated attempt to make its Hamtramck factory fully automated in the 1980s.

"Instead of easing robots onto the line a few at a time, providing for inevitable debugging problems with redundant equipment, GM bet the entire Hamtramck production system on the proposition that leading-edge automation would work instantaneously," Paul Ingrassia and Joseph B. White wrote in the 1994 book Comeback. "When, instead, automated guided vehicles used to deliver parts broke down, or robotic paint systems failed, the whole plant ground to a halt."

Fair criticism, but we're fixing it fast. Hackathon going on right now to fix 2 worst robot production chokepoints. Looks promising.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 14, 2018

Musk admitted the report was "fair criticism" of Model 3 production problems but insists Tesla is quickly resolving the chokepoints and the hackathon "looks promising."

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