According to CEO Elon Musk, Tesla is expanding the beta version of its “full self-driving” (FSD) software “to anyone in North America who requests it from a car screen.” tweeted news late Wednesday night. FSD’s rollout across the continent comes as Tesla potentially faces crime investigation from the US Department of Justice in connection with false claims regarding the Autopilot Advanced Driver Assistance System.
Autopilot is standard on Tesla vehicles and performs automated driving functions such as steering, acceleration, and automatic braking. FSD, which costs North American drivers $15,000.is an extension of Autopilot that includes features such as assisted steering on highways and city streets, intelligent vehicle calling, automatic parking, and recognition and response to traffic signals and stop signs.
Autopilot, and by extension FSD, has come under scrutiny from regulators in recent years after a series of Tesla crashes, many of which ended in death. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched a special investigation into 36 Tesla autopilot crashes 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 is being falsely advertised Autopilot and FSD self-driving capabilities.
Some Tesla owners and enthusiasts predicted the company may allow FSD in all vehicles after Tesla looks set to drop the requirement of 100 autopilot miles and a safety score of at least 80 to receive an FSD upgrade. This is worrisome given concerns that drivers using ADAS are less likely to keep their eyes on the road and be alert if the system malfunctions. Tesla’s website encourages drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and keep their eyes on the road.
Despite the concerns, any driver who has already paid a high 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 US and Canada in September, and today’s wide rollout lives up to Musk’s previous promises to install FSD in every Tesla by the end of 2022.
Musk said Tesla could achieve full self-driving by the end of the year, but during the third quarter, the company’s profit admitted that in 2022 FSD will not receive regulatory approval to drive without someone behind the wheel. The desire to increase the number of users, and perhaps give Tesla’s Dojo supercomputer more data to work with, may be one of the reasons Tesla has decided to expand now. .
It can also be a step towards relief investor worries and earn extra income. Tesla shares are at a two-year low and its market capitalization has shrunk from $1.2 trillion last November to $574 billion today after Musk bought out Twitter and Subsequent company overhaul dramas.
The FSD scaling also follows news from Tesla engineers Romy Fadte and Gabe Georgian who performed at BaselCon this week and shared that Tesla has increased the number of FSD simulations per week from about 250,000 in 2020 to 2 million today.