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Here’s Who Really Invents the Amazing Things Elon Musk Gets All the Credit For
[Image via Universal Pictures]

Elon Musk’s Back To The Future 2 Patent

Perhaps the earliest patent Elon Musk filed took place in 1997, referred to as the “System and Method For Initiating A Telephone Call Utilizing Internet Initiation.” This is a system and method for uniquely combining the Internet and the Public Switched Telephone Network for calling an entity displayed on a monitor. The user inputs a request into the computer to initiate a call. This call request data is received at a website providing a display and is then relayed over the Internet to a call center. The call center then establishes the desired phone connection over the Public Switched Telephone Network.

Here’s Who Really Invents the Amazing Things Elon Musk Gets All the Credit For
[Image via Zoom]
Many believe that Musk had invented Skype or Zoom before it was cool. However, it’s likely that this would not have worked very well in the mid-1990s. Our internet was not very powerful, and power would be needed to do this properly. Having to then use a separate and public switched telephone network wouldn’t be sensible either. Plus, was this not used in Back to the Future 2? The concept was filed in 1997 by Zip2 but was not accepted until 2001. Aleksandar Dukic was the other inventor mentioned on the patent. He happens to be a communications expert and while little is known about him, he has been a V.P. of Engineering.

Here’s Who Really Invents the Amazing Things Elon Musk Gets All the Credit For
[Image via Roschetzky Photography/Shutterstock.com]

Tesla Powerwall

If you recall, the SolarCity buyout allowed Elon Musk to open up Tesla Energy. This is where Tesla focuses on a lot of energy-efficient products. While this did include solar energy products, it also included a lot of residential material that could be used to store electricity. The Tesla Powerwall is a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that stores electricity for solar self-consumption. This can be crucial because solar panels only do so much. Most of the time, the panels only power things up when they have the sun directly on them. Most places that sold solar energy panels did not offer any sort of energy storage unit that was worth your time.

Here’s Who Really Invents the Amazing Things Elon Musk Gets All the Credit For
[Image via Joni Hanebutt/Shutterstock.com]
This allowed the Tesla Powerwall to really become an asset as it stored that solar energy where your home could gather up all the solar energy panels could manage during the day. Yet what your home was not using could then be stored in the Powerwall as backup power. When it first came out in 2015, the production was limited but mass production began in 2017. By Spring 2021, Tesla installed as many as 200,000 Powerwalls. Musk was not responsible for the design of this either. The inventor was Arch Rao, who was Tesla’s Head of Product at the time. Today, they have also produced even larger and more efficient Powerwalls than the original.

Here’s Who Really Invents the Amazing Things Elon Musk Gets All the Credit For
[Image via Mike Mareen/Shutterstock.com]

Starlink

Starlink is a satellite system that is expected to hopefully provide internet globally. SpaceX will be responsible for this satellite internet constellation. The name it’s given is likely due to the massive amount of satellites already launched. On top of those that will be launched. As of now, at least 40 countries are involved in the program but by 2023, Elon Musk wants complete global access. By July 2022, at least 3,000 satellites (all small and in low orbit) were officially in space from the team. As of now, at least 500,000 people subscribe to the service. This process has taken around a decade to perfect, and it has cost billions of dollars.

Here’s Who Really Invents the Amazing Things Elon Musk Gets All the Credit For
[Image via CG Alex/Shutterstock.com]
By 2025, it is expected that at least $30 billion will have been spent on the project. Back in 2019, the FCC in the United States submitted filings to the International Telecommunications Union to arrange for another 30,000 satellites to supplement the 12,000 already approved by the FCC. Many astronomers are against the sea of new satellites though. Critics, including NASA, feel that it will cause possible issues with the numerous satellites we already have. It’ll also be harder for telescopes to see into space while constantly blocked or disrupted. Moreover, it is not as if Musk invented these satellites nor did anything revolutionary. Satellites providing internet has been a thing for a very long time now.

Here’s Who Really Invents the Amazing Things Elon Musk Gets All the Credit For
[Image via Piotr Swat/Shutterstock.com]

OpenAI

Elon Musk has been a huge hater of artificial intelligence and truly seems to fear it as a future problem for mankind. Therefore, it is kind of interesting that he decided to have any involvement in an AI company. OpenAI is officially an AI research laboratory that also has a for-profit corporation attached to it, known as OpenAI LP. All of this falls under the OpenAI Inc. parent company. Musk started the company along with Sam Altman, and Ilya Sutskever, among a few others back in 2015. The goal was to both promote and develop “friendly AI.” With the added goal of ensuring that this artificial intelligence benefitted humanity.

Here’s Who Really Invents the Amazing Things Elon Musk Gets All the Credit For
[Image via Medium]
Musk might be a co-founder, but OpenAI is not a company he seems to have much involvement in. He was part of the board initially but left it back in 2018, though he remained a donor. In 2019, the company secured a $1 billion investment from Microsoft. The main person in charge seems to be Dr. Sutskever, who previously worked for Google as part of their Google Brain division. He’s also the co-inventor of the convolutional neural network known as AlexNet. Ilya is a brilliant man who serves as Chief Scientist at OpenAI for a reason. Anything that comes out of here likely has his fingerprints all over it, and none of Elon’s.

Here’s Who Really Invents the Amazing Things Elon Musk Gets All the Credit For
[Image via Mike Mareen/Shutterstock.com]

Tesla Model X

The Tesla Model X officially went on sale in 2015 and was Tesla’s first attempt at a full-size sedan, and it worked well. It also used falcon-wing doors for passengers, giving a more futuristic feel. On top of this, the Model X was capable of reaching up to 360 miles on a single charge for its “Long Range” model. Yet the normal model was not bad, as it could reach roughly 340 miles on a single charge. Both came with Tesla’s Autopilot driver assistance system too. Franz von Holzhausen is more than likely the main man behind the development of the Model X.

Here’s Who Really Invents the Amazing Things Elon Musk Gets All the Credit For
[Image via Roman.S-Photographer/Shutterstock.com]
We know this now only because Franz has held a few major roles in Tesla Motors, but also because he is even credited for its development. He has been with Tesla for 14 years now, so since roughly 2008. He is the Senior Design Executive and was more than deserving of this role. Before Tesla, Franz had worked at Maza, Voltzwagon, and General Motors as a Design Executive or Senior Engineer. Therefore, it is pretty clear Elon Musk did not serve a major role in the invention of this car and Franz (along with his team of engineers) should be getting the credit instead.

Here’s Who Really Invents the Amazing Things Elon Musk Gets All the Credit For
[Image via junpiiiiiiiiiii/Shutterstock.com]

Elon Musk Steals Almir Grbic’s Patent Thunder

This particular patent was filed when Elon Musk was essentially right in the middle of the initial merger with PayPal. This was filed in August 2001, when Musk would have been on the outs with PayPal after being the company’s CEO the year prior. This particular invention provides a system for sending and receiving a facsimile of a document. A sending user transmits a FAX to a FAX server, along with a recipient’s ID code. The server stores the FAX in a designed webpage, with the webpage being associated with a FAX uniform resource locator address.

Here’s Who Really Invents the Amazing Things Elon Musk Gets All the Credit For
[Image via junpiiiiiiiiiii/Shutterstock.com]
The server determines the electronic communications location of the retrieving user from the recipient’s ID code and sends the FAX URL address to them. The recipient can then retrieve it by using a web browser. The invention was called “Bi-Directional Facsimile Mechanism Using The Internet.” Seems a lot like a complicated version of e-mail, right? Along with Musk, the patent also mentions Almir Grbic. It is very likely that this was a Grbic invention entirely, as this man seems to be brilliant. He was a software consultant for Zip2, which is likely where Musk met him. He’d go on to work for AltaVista and Intel, which proves he was likely the main inventor of this concept.

Here’s Who Really Invents the Amazing Things Elon Musk Gets All the Credit For
[Image via MyWay.com]

Elon Musk’s Weird Zip2 Patent

Musk also put in for a patent over twenty years ago named “Method and Apparatus For An Accelerated Radius Search.” How does this patent work? Essentially, it patented a search category built to have a density value corresponding to a geographic area. A first radius search is generated connected to the category and is used to perform a “first search.” If this first search returns an insufficient number of results, then a second search radius is generated. It will do this by using a heuristic to increase the aforementioned first search radius, and then the second search radius will perform a second search. This is repeated until one gets the desired result.

Here’s Who Really Invents the Amazing Things Elon Musk Gets All the Credit For
[Image via MyWay.com]
The assignee of the patent was the MyWay.com Corporation, which connects to Musk because Zip2 became a subsidiary of this corporation around 2000. MyWay was owned by IAC, a previous internet juggernaut. They stripped Zip2 of all its branding and it would eventually sell off to many internet companies. Yet this 1998 patent did not get to Zip2 until August of 2000 right in the middle of everything. Since this patent revolved around MyWay’s entire business model, it was also worked on by King-Sun Wai and Leo Chan. King-Sun is a prolific software engineer with many patents of his own and Leo Chan is an engineer himself, so it seems like Musk was only added to this and likely did nothing on the project over the other two.

Here’s Who Really Invents the Amazing Things Elon Musk Gets All the Credit For
[Image via Alex Terentii/Shutterstock.com]

SpaceX Raptor Engines

It is important to reference that there are several Raptor Engines developed by SpaceX. Therefore, when we mention them, we’re referring to the entire family of engines. These particular engines were powered by cryogenic liquid methane along with liquid oxygen. This differs from the RP-1 (rocket propellant) and liquid oxygen combo that had been used in the Kerolox & Merlin engines previously. Best of all, the initial Raptor Engine had more than twice the thrust of the SpaceX Merlin 1D engine that powers both the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy. The Raptor 2 alone produces over 240 tons of force!

Here’s Who Really Invents the Amazing Things Elon Musk Gets All the Credit For
[Image via CNET]
On top of this, these engines are used in the SpaceX starship system for both the “super-heavy-lift” Super Booster and in the Starship Spacecraft. The engines are used in the second stage when launched from Earth. They also operate as independent spacecraft in low earth orbit and beyond. The plan for SpaceX is to use the Starship in various formats, so the Raptor Engines need to be capable of working properly. The main inventor or developer of the engines is more than likely Tom Mueller. He worked on the other engines and more than likely would have developed these as well. Even if he’s gone from SpaceX entirely today, his work will be used in the making of every engine SpaceX develops.

Here’s Who Really Invents the Amazing Things Elon Musk Gets All the Credit For
[Image via Felipe Sanchez/Shutterstock.com]

Tesla Supercharger Station

Let’s face it, the biggest problem with electric cars has been the clear lack of charging stations. You can find a gas station almost anywhere, in the United States at least. Yet charging stations aren’t as easy to find, particularly in southern states. Tesla Motors knew that they could not expect people to travel as often in their vehicles if they couldn’t find a reliable place to charge their cars. While some hotels allow people to charge their car, it isn’t as common as one would want. That led to the introduction of charging stations.

Here’s Who Really Invents the Amazing Things Elon Musk Gets All the Credit For
[Image via Sheila Fitzgerald/Shutterstock.com]
Not only did Tesla want to provide reliable charging places, but also ensure it doesn’t take very long to charge the cars too. The Tesla Charging Stations weren’t exactly invented by Elon Musk, but he did feel that charging stations needed to be available. Production on these stations began in 2012 on the original stations, where Tesla actually offered free charges. This ended around the Spring of 2020. Today, there are over 35,000 Tesla Supercharger Stations, making it the world’s largest fast-charging network. It is assumed Javier Verdura is the brainchild behind the supercharger stations. He has been the Tesla Global Design Director since 2012.

Here’s Who Really Invents the Amazing Things Elon Musk Gets All the Credit For
[Image via CanadianPhotographer56/Shutterstock.com]

Tesla Model 3

The Tesla Model 3 is quite an interesting vehicle for the company. While it was made to be all-electric like the others, the design made it look like what one might find at any dealership. This is an executive sedan that launched in mid-2017 on a limited production. There are two versions of the Model 3. The first is capable of reaching 272 miles on a single charge. Meanwhile, the slightly more expensive “Long Range” version could reach 358 miles on a single charge. The Model 3 also contains full self-driving hardware, with periodic software updates that add functionality. Before the Model 3 came out, one issue plagued Tesla Motors. Their cars were expensive.

Here’s Who Really Invents the Amazing Things Elon Musk Gets All the Credit For
[Image via Christopher Lyzcen/Shutterstock.com]
That made it harder to purchase them for the average person. That’s why the Model 3 was reduced in price compared to previous Tesla vehicles. In fact, the company marketed it as “affordable.” Today, a rear-wheel drive version will cost you around $40,000 while the AWD is a little over $56,000. This plan by Tesla, Inc. worked out well for them too. By 2020, the Model 3 became the best-selling electric car in history. By 2021, Tesla sold 1 million Model 3 vehicles. The planning for the Model 3 goes back several years, with Franz von Holzhausen operating as Design Chief. Franz wanted to make the design come off like an Audi A4 or BMW 3 series type of vehicle. He managed to do this, and it was 20% smaller than the Model S too!

Here’s Who Really Invents the Amazing Things Elon Musk Gets All the Credit For
[Image via Alexander Lukatskiy/Shutterstock.com]

Elon Musk and Maurice J. Fitzgerald, II’s Dual Patent

Elon Musk along with Maurice J. Fitzgerald, II filed two patents that appear to be for the same invention. It is called “Interactive Network Directory Service With Integrated Maps and Directions.” Both were filed as part of Zip2. The first looks to have been filed by “Zip2” in 1996 and given in August 1999. The second was filed for in June 1999 and given in November 2000. The invention provides a network-accessible service that integrates both a business directory and map database. A user can search the business directory in numerous methods, including using aspects of the map database to quantify the search.

Here’s Who Really Invents the Amazing Things Elon Musk Gets All the Credit For
[Image via Studio Monkey/Shutterstock.com]
Users can then obtain directions from a specific user location to a selected search result. All of this is accomplished by accessing a single website. This was literally the entire business operation of Zip2. While simplistic in its concept, by not patenting it, they’d run the risk of someone else doing so and thereby ending their entire business model. Interestingly, Maurice seems to be connected to several more patents on top of this. Either their father invented several things or they were credited as just Maurice Fitzgerald. Meaning Maurice, Sr. or his son likely assisted big time with this concept.

Here’s Who Really Invents the Amazing Things Elon Musk Gets All the Credit For
[Image via NASA]

The TR-106 Rocket Engine

The TR-106 Rocket Engine was incredibly important to SpaceX and its future. TRW, Inc. began working on the TR-106 Rocket Engine as early as the late 1990s. TRW often took on military contracts. In business since 1901, TRW managed to help the military develop the first intercontinental ballistic missile in the 1950s. You know it best as the ICBM. Eventually, Tom Mueller began working with them and was made the Lead Engineer for the development of the LCPE, a 650,000 pounds of thrust LOX/LH2 engine. They managed to successfully hot-fire test it at 100% of its rated thrust plus 65% throttle condition.

Here’s Who Really Invents the Amazing Things Elon Musk Gets All the Credit For
[Image via NASA]
Yet TRW then changed the pintle injector among other things but suddenly development of the engine ended with the cancellation of the Space Launch Initiative. In 2002, TRW was acquired by Northrop Grumman and the TR-107 began with a NASA contract. Elon Musk offered Tom Mueller the opportunity to become a founding member of SpaceX in 2002 and Mueller’s work on the TR-106 did not go to waste. He used part of this to help SpaceX develop the Merlin Engines. These engines, of course, were part of the initial Falcon Rockets. His work on these engines led to the development of others too.

Here’s Who Really Invents the Amazing Things Elon Musk Gets All the Credit For
[Image via Mike Mareen/Shutterstock.com]

Tesla Cybertruck

While we do not know as much about the Tesla Cybertruck as we do about other vehicles, it does involve one of Musk’s biggest blunders. When introducing it, he claimed the windows are bulletproof. He likely was not briefed on the model used for the display. Those obviously don’t include all the bells and whistles of the Cybertruck at launch. The windows are certainly bulletproof for all Cybertrucks as Musk said, the model used for his talk about it was not. When he attempted to prove the strength of the windows, he asked Franz von Holzhausen to attempt to break one.

Here’s Who Really Invents the Amazing Things Elon Musk Gets All the Credit For
[Image via Forbes]
Franz asked if Musk was sure before he did it, when Elon said he was, Franz actually broke the window. This is why you always ask your team if the display model is 100% the vehicle one sees at launch. While Franz is one of the main designers of the Cybertruck, a few others also contributed to the design and other engineering aspects of the Cybertruck. Ian Kettle, Sahm Jafari, David Imai, and Ivan Lampkin all contributed to its design and development. While Musk has been talking about Tesla making an all-electric truck for years, he’s not the mastermind behind it. Moreover, it is not going to be available to buy until 2023.

Here’s Who Really Invents the Amazing Things Elon Musk Gets All the Credit For
[Image via Kent Weakley/Shutterstock.com]

Falcon Heavy and Merlin Rocket Engines

The Falcon Heavy Rocket was an engineering masterpiece that surely will help space travel to places like Mars a reality. This same rocket could also be useful for future Moon travel and base setup. Initially, SpaceX had developed rockets that mostly went into Low Earth Orbit. The Falcon Heavy was made to go beyond this territory, so the right equipment had to be developed for it. What makes the Falcon Heavy Rocket stand out is its reusability, which is very abnormal to see from a heavy-lift launch vehicle. It uses two strap-on boosters made from the Falcon 9’s first stages, and a second stage is used on top.

Here’s Who Really Invents the Amazing Things Elon Musk Gets All the Credit For
[Image via Mark_Sawyer/Shutterstock.com]
As of now, the Falcon Heavy also has the highest payload capacity of any current and operational rocket/launch vehicle. Only the Saturn V and Energia have ever been capable of carrying larger payloads. The first launch happened in 2018, then two more took place in 2019 (more are scheduled). The National Security Space Launch Program has since certified the ship. On top of this, this rocket uses Merlin Engines to reach its destination. While Elon Musk has been wanting to make a rocket like this for years, the man who has made a lot of this happen is Tom Mueller. He made the engines and he along with other engineers designed the Falcon Heavy itself.

Here’s Who Really Invents the Amazing Things Elon Musk Gets All the Credit For
[Image via TY Lim/Shutterstock.com]

Elon Musk Essentially Just Added His Name To This Tesla Patent

The first Elon Musk patent we’re going to discuss involves “Autonomous and User Controlled Vehicle Summon To A Target.” The invention revolves around a processor coupled to memory that’s configured to receive an identification of a geographical location, associated with a target, specified by a user remote from a vehicle. A machine learning model is utilized to generate a representation of, at the very least, a portion of an environment surrounding the vehicle. This uses sensor data from one or more sensors of the vehicle. A portion of a path-to-target location then corresponds to receive geographical location, calculated using the generated representation of the environment surrounding the vehicle.

Here’s Who Really Invents the Amazing Things Elon Musk Gets All the Credit For
[Image via Lipik Stock Media/Shutterstock.com]
At least one command is then provided to automatically navigate the vehicle based on a determined path and updated sensor data from a portion of one or more sensors in said vehicle. This was filed on behalf of Tesla, Inc. in 2019 and the inventors of this include Elon Musk, Kate Park, Nenad Uzunovic, Christopher Coleman Moore, Francis Havlak, Stuart Bowers, Andrej Karpathy, Arvind Ramanandan, Ashima Kapur Sud, Paul Chen, Paril Jain, Alexander Hertzberg, Jason Kong, Li Wang, Oktay Arslan, Nicklas Gustafsson, Charles Shieh, and David Seelig. Needless to say, Musk didn’t write his school report, he put his name on a friend’s. If you’d like to read about the invention fully, you can do so here.

Here’s Who Really Invents the Amazing Things Elon Musk Gets All the Credit For
[Image via Grossinger/Shutterstock.com]

SpaceX Starship

Perhaps the biggest project being undertaken by SpaceX at the moment is their Starship. Yes, it is exactly what you think it is. They have already built most of it and are currently developing launch sites for it. This ship, unlike any of the Falcon Rockets, is going to be used for human travel into space. It is the very first launch vehicle ever made for human travel to be completely reusable. It is the tallest, most powerful launch vehicle ever made. The Starship works in two stages, which consist of the Super Heavy booster stage then the Starship’s second stage comes into play…also referred to as the spacecraft itself. This spacecraft is going to have four things inside: the cargo, crew, propellant tanker, and lunar lander.

Here’s Who Really Invents the Amazing Things Elon Musk Gets All the Credit For
[Image via Space.com]
The Starship launch will be able to deliver 220,000 pounds of force as it enters into Low Earth Orbit. The cool part is that once in orbit, Starship tankers can refuel the spacecraft to transport into higher orbits or other destinations beyond LOE. This spacecraft will also be able to enter the atmosphere of most planets. It can then use its engines to land properly or it can be left in space. They’ve been working on it since 2005, so it is very likely Tom Mueller had been behind a lot of it. He was especially part of the Raptor Engines development. Several engineers are also involved in making it work along with NASA and the FAA. Yet there are still questions surrounding the Starship, particularly for exploration. Elon Musk might have been planning to do this, but he never was involved in the development process itself.

Here’s Who Really Invents the Amazing Things Elon Musk Gets All the Credit For
[Image via Abu hasim.A/Shutterstock.com]

Tesla Model S

Perhaps the biggest public battle Elon Musk has ever had when it comes to the development of one of his company’s most infamous products has to do with the Tesla Model S. The main man behind this car’s development is Peter Rawlinson. Of course, Rawlinson was Chief Engineer on the Model S and said as much when speaking to the press. He worked with Tesla as the Vice President and Chief Engineer of the Model S from 2009 to 2012, a full three years. Yet Musk claimed this was not true, and it is likely due to what happened with Rawlinson’s exit and the work he has done ever since. Such as Lucid making its own impressive car.

Here’s Who Really Invents the Amazing Things Elon Musk Gets All the Credit For
[Image via CanadianPhotographer56/Shutterstock.com]
When asked by the press about why he left Tesla in 2012, he claimed that his aging mother needed him and that “I had a boss that wasn’t treating me too well.” He did not choose to elaborate on this. Yet Rawlinson would go on to Lucid Motors where he became the Chief Technology Officer and now operates as both CEO and CTO at the company. Musk claims Rawlinson was never the Chief Engineer of the Model S but this is very false. Not only did the announcement of his hire mention his position but he is in Tesla videos discussing the car with his position(s) being referenced in them! Franz von Holzhausen was also crucial to this car’s development.

Where Do We Find this Stuff? Here Are Our Sources:

National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA)

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

United States Patent & Trademark Office

Justia Patents

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

Tesla, Inc.

SpaceX

Virgin Group

OpenAI

Navteq

Airbus

Harbour Air

Reuters

The Hill

Smithsonian Magazine

Futurism

Forbes

LinkedIn

Electrek

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