A beta version of Tesla’s “Full Self Driving” software with Autopilot’s partially automated driver assist system was recently made available for limited customers.
- Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk has told its investors that Full Self Driving (FSD) technology will one day turn his company into a juggernaut with a $500 billion market cap.
- Musk believes that the Self Driving capabilities of Tesla’s entire fleet with just a software update will be a game-changer for Tesla in the EV space.
- Despite Musk’s claims, agencies and experts believe he is inflating the capabilities of Tesla’s Autopilot system which simply put, does not match engineering reality.
- Musk has a record for setting impractical deadlines. But pressure is immense this time with investors and Tesla customers growing weary.
Tesla released a beta or test version of the software which is called “Full Self Driving” software upgrade to an anonymous number of drivers who are considered “experts and careful”. This release of ‘self driving’ software, which is anticipated to allow its cars to drive themselves, is closely watched by the U.S. auto safety regulator, NHTSA. The agency will monitor the new technology meticulously to not delay any action needed to protect the public against unwarranted safety risks.
Tesla on Auto-Pilot, or is it?
Tesla, the all-American EV giant has been testing a full self-driving feature for a while. The current update, now available to limited customers, is under its early access program. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has now said that the next update of the full self-driving Beta software is only about two weeks away.
The new feature is yet not considered autonomous driving, hence it will require complete attention of the driver. You should be ready to take over the vehicle’s control at any time. But at the same time, the system is capable of accomplishing all the other driving tasks, which includes driving through intersections independently.
Based on its customer feedback, the electric automaker will keep improving the system. The CEO has been tweeting lately that Tesla is taking a revolutionary path with its new generation (v9) of its FSD software that will remove reliance on radar readings data. Instead Tesla will now have everything done through computer vision based on cameras.
Musk replied to another user that the feature would also be coming to the Canadian market in a couple of months. He said the delay is due to the differences in driving conditions between Canada and the US.
Only those customers in Tesla’s Early Access Program will receive the software update that will enable drivers to access Autopilot’s partially automated driver-assist system on city streets. The early access program is used as a testing platform to help understand and resolve software bugs.
Watch: Why Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Feature seems far-fetched
Proceed with Caution
Elon Musk said that Tesla was approaching this software update very cautiously because of the complexities that come with the new technology. Tesla has informed its investors that its autopilot team is focused on a fundamental architectural revision of their neural networks and control algorithms. Musk added that the rephrase would allow Tesla’s vehicles to construe their environment in four dimensions instead of two. The end result of this should be a dramatic improvement in performance and faster software updates.
Previously, Musk has described a “feature complete” version of Full Self-Driving as enabling the car to drive from someone’s home to his or her work without intervention. Drivers will still need to be ready to take control if the car runs into a problem. The agencies and the experts have criticized Musk for promoting these features debating that he is muddying the waters by overstating the autonomous capabilities of Tesla cars. PAVE (Partners for Automated Vehicle Education) has criticized Tesla’s approach.
Public road testing is a serious responsibility and using untrained consumers to validate beta-level software on public roads is dangerous and inconsistent with existent guidance and industry norms.PAVE (Partners for Automated Vehicle Education)
FSD Promises to Keep
Musk has been promising this new feature of self-driving for its vehicles since many years. But he has missed several self-imposed deadlines. The reason for missing the deadlines could be that Tesla still doesn’t have a stellar track record of validating the autonomous driving capabilities.
With the deadline looming, the Tesla CEO announced the release of “full self-driving” software in early 2021 but nothing has happened so far.