Tesla is extending its “full self-driving” (FSD) beta software “to anyone in North America who requests it from the car screen”, according to CEO Elon Musk who tweeted the news late Wednesday night. The rollout of FSD across the continent comes as Tesla potentially faces a criminal investigation from the US Department of Justice regarding false claims regarding the company’s advanced driver assistance system, Autopilot.
Autopilot comes standard on Tesla vehicles and performs automated driving functions such as steering, acceleration, and automatic braking. FSD, which costs $15,000 for North American driversis an extension of Autopilot that includes features such as assisted steering on highways and city streets, intelligent vehicle calling, automatic parking, and recognition and reaction to traffic lights and traffic signs. stop.
The autopilot, and by extension the FSD, has come under intense scrutiny from regulators in recent years following a series of Tesla crashes, many of which were fatal. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened special investigations into 36 Tesla crashes involving Autopilot since 2016, five of which occurred this year. Tesla has also been criticized by the California Department of Motor Vehicles and drivers who claim the company misrepresented the self-driving capabilities of the autopilot and FSD.
Some Tesla Owners and Enthusiasts predicted the company may allow FSD in all cars after Tesla appears to have dropped the requirement of 100 miles of Autopilot and a safety score of at least 80 to receive the FSD update. This is a worrying lack of control given fears that drivers using ADAS are less likely to watch the road and be alert for system malfunctions. Tesla’s website encourages drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road.
Despite concerns, any driver who has already paid full price for Tesla’s FSD will be able to access the software in North America. Tesla had previously extended FSD access to 160,000 owners in the U.S. and Canada as of September, and today’s widespread rollout delivers on Musk’s previous promises to get FSD in every Tesla by the end of 2022.
Musk claimed that Tesla could achieve fully autonomous driving by the end of the year, but during the company’s third quarter results admitted that FSD won’t get regulatory approval to be driven without someone behind the wheel in 2022. The decision to increase the number of users and possibly give Tesla’s Dojo supercomputer more data to work with could be l one of the reasons why Tesla has now chosen to extend .
It could also be a way to relax investor concerns and generate additional revenue. Tesla’s stock is at a two-year low and its market capitalization has fallen from $1.2 trillion last November to $574 billion today following Musk’s takeover of Twitter and the the dramas that followed the company’s overhaul.
The FSD scaling also follows news from Tesla engineers Romi Phadte and Gabe Gheorghian that spoke at BazelCon this week and shared that Tesla has increased the number of FSD simulations per week from around 250,000 in 2020 to 2 million today.