Tesla Video Shows Gigafactory Shanghai Automation Nearing 'Alien Dreadnought' Phase

Tesla's Gigafactory Shanghai is nearing Elon Musk's 'alien dreadnought' phase of total automation.
Brad Bergan

Tesla shared an interesting new time-lapse video of its Gigafactory Shanghai production lies — showing everyone what Elon Musk means when he talks about Tesla's "Alien dreadnought."


Tesla Gigafactory Shanghai video demonstrates automation

Years ago, Elon Musk placed manufacturing as Tesla's primary focus. The CEO wants his company to produce exciting products, but he also wants the factory itself to function like a product; like a machine that builds the machine, according to Musk.

He claims the factory's goal is to look more "alien" than a factory, reports Electrek. In essence, he wants a machine capable of producing vehicles with high automation, at unprecedented speeds of production.

Elon Musk explains meaning of 'alien dreadnought'

He came forward with this idea amid the production of Model 3 vehicles at the Fremont factory. At the time, Musk stressed that the first Model 3 production line would be classified as a "version 0.5" of the "alien dreadnought," with aims to update the design of the line as more automation brings production into a phase he calls "version 3," which he thinks will come in a few years.

"By version 3, it won't look like anything else. You can't have people in the production line itself, otherwise you drop to people speed," said Musk, reports Electrek. "So there will be no people in [the] production process itself. People will maintain the machines, upgrade them, and deal with anomalies."

Gigafactory Shanghai has manufactured the latest Model 3 production line of Tesla's, and the automaker has made headway in the path to its "alien dreadnought" model of autonomous production.

This weekend, Tesla China shared a video on YouTube documenting the production at Gigafactory Shanghai, using its Weibo account.

Gigafactory Shanghai nears 'alien dreadnought' threshold

Obviously, the production line in the video hasn't reached the wholly-autonomous phase Musk wants, but it's certainly approaching the threshold.

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In the video, there are sections of production documenting eight robots working simultaneously on individual cars.

The output may appear more impressive from the time-lapse effect than it really is, but the actual production capacity of Gigafactory Shanghai has increased at a surprising pace, reports Electrek.

When last quarter 2020 ended, Tesla had an annual production capacity of 200,000 vehicles at Gigafactory Shanghai — an impressive spike, especially since it happened over seven short months post-opening and initial production.

The production rate at the time was 4,000 vehicles per week, but it's important to note that this pace could have increased as we've moved into the third quarter. It seems Tesla is not only transforming the auto industry with all-electric vehicles, but also the very heart of vehicle production in factories — which will soon become as strange to our eyes as an "alien dreadnought."

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