In July 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17), a passenger flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down over eastern Ukraine. Over the next four years, Bellingcat – an independent international collective of researchers, investigators, and citizen journalists – combined open source and social media data with an inquisitive and curious mindset to uncover proof of the Russians involvement in the MH17 tragedy.

Bellingcat made a break in the case when it discovered videos and photos posted online that identified and tracked a Russian Buk TELAR missile system as it made its way through rebel-controlled territory into Ukraine.  Bellingcat identified that the Russian military was involved in the MH17 tragedy years before it was confirmed by European officials (Figure 1).

Figure 1: “How Bellingcat tracked a Russian missile system in Ukraine

Bellingcat identified the location of the convoy by comparing images posted online to satellite imagery. Matching multiple objects in the images, Bellingcat’s team determined the precise location for each image. The team used shadows in the images to determine the approximate time of day for the photo or video. The trail led them to Kursk, Russia and established that the missile launcher that shot down MH17 came from a Russian brigade[1].

I had my own personal inquisitive epiphany when I was doing research for my blog “Creating Assets that Appreciate, Not Depreciate, in Value Thru Cont…”.  I suspected that Tesla must be building a massive simulation environment in which to train the Full Self Driving (FSD) module behind Tesla’s autonomous vehicle plans.  However, I struggled to find details until it occurred to me to analyze Tesla’s job board! There, I uncovered this job posting for a Tesla Autopilot Simulation, Tools Engineer (note: link is no longer active):

“The foundation on which we [Tesla] build these [autonomous vehicle] elements (such as building tools to perform virtual test drives, generate synthetic data set for neural network training) is our simulation environment. We develop photorealistic worlds for our virtual car to drive in, enabling our developers to iterate faster and rely less on real-world testing. We strive for perfect correlation to real-world vehicle behavior and work with Autopilot software engineers to improve both Autopilot and the simulator over time.”

Yes, Tesla needed to build this massive cloud simulation environment where individual learnings…

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