After months of delays, Elon Musk has finally announced the launch of Tesla’s long-awaited FSD (Full Self-Driving Beta), an autonomous driving system that on paper should allow the company’s vehicles to drive autonomously on any road, including urban ones.
Currently, the firm will only release a beta among a small group of selected users, which will be “extremely slow and cautious.” If the brand can meet the deadlines promised by Musk, the bulk of the early access fleet will receive the FSD within four to six weeks, while the rest of the users in the United States will have to wait until mid-December.
The development of the FSD was made possible by a fundamental rewrite of the Autopilot code, which has improved its performance and its interpretation of the vehicle environment. Among other improvements, the system is expected to go one step beyond the current ability to stop at traffic lights and stop signs, for example, being able to turn at intersections. On paper, the sum of FSD and Navigate on Autopilot should allow drivers to enter an address into the navigator and go to their destination without any intervention.
Regardless, Tesla’s system will continue to force drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and keep an eye on the road to have a level 2 range in practice. Other competitors such as Cadillac already have “hands-free” systems (level 3) in some of their high-end models, a functionality that is not clear when Tesla will implement.
“The improvements to the FSD will be a huge leap, as it will undergo a fundamental architectural rewriting, not an adjustment. I personally have the alpha version in my car. I hardly have to perform interventions between my home and work. Its limited public release will take place in six to ten weeks,” Musk said last September.
FSD beta rollout happening tonight. Will be extremely slow & cautious, as it should.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 20, 2020