Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, announced the news in a late-evening tweet that Tesla is now offering its “full self-driving” (FSD) beta software “to anyone in North America who wants it from the car screen.”
Amid the U.S. Department of Justice’s perspective criminal investigation against Tesla for making misleading promises about its cutting-edge driver assistance system Autopilot, FSD is being implemented across the continent.
On Tesla automobiles, Autopilot is a standard feature that handles autonomous driving tasks like steering, accelerating, and automatic braking. FSD is an upgrade to Autopilot that costs $15,000 for drivers in North America and offers capabilities, including assisted steering on freeways and city streets, smart vehicle summoning, automatic parking, and the ability to see and respond to traffic lights and stop signs.
Following a string of Tesla crashes, several of which were tragic, regulators have recently begun to question Autopilot and, consequently, FSD. Since 2016, 36 Tesla crashes employing Autopilot have been the subject of special investigations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), five of which occurred this year. In addition, the California Department of Motor Vehicles and drivers have criticized Tesla for allegedly deceptively advertising the Autopilot and FSD self-driving features.
After Tesla appears to have reduced the criteria for 100 Autopilot miles and a safety score of at least 80 to receive the FSD upgrade, some Tesla owners and enthusiasts believed the company might enable FSD into all cars. Given worries that ADAS users are less likely to pay attention to the road and be vigilant in case the technology malfunctions, this lack of inspection is alarming. On the website for Tesla, it is advised that drivers keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road.
The software will be accessible in North America to any driver who has previously paid the high cost for Tesla’s FSD, despite objections. In September, Tesla gave access to FSD to 160,000 owners in the United States and Canada, and today’s widespread rollout fulfills Musk’s earlier commitments to install FSD in every Tesla by the end of 2022.
Musk has said that Tesla will have fully autonomous driving by the end of the year. Still, he acknowledged during the company’s third quarter earnings that fully autonomous driving (FSD) won’t be legal to operate without a human driver. One of the reasons Tesla has chosen to grow at this time is to increase the number of users and provide Dojo, Tesla’s supercomputer, with more data to work with.
The Tesla engineers Romi Phadte and Gabe Gheorghian reported at BazelCon this week that Tesla has boosted the amount of FSD simulations each week from roughly 250,000 in 2020 to 2 million. This revelation about the FSD scaling coincides with their report.