If you own a Tesla and have been watching the FSD beta videos from early access drivers, chances are you’re excited about getting it in your own car. The ability for the car to turn corners is something we haven’t had the opportunity to have in our cars before, so understandably this innovation is exciting.
With the software making big improvements over the past year, and FSD Beta releases now every 2-3 weeks, owners across the globe are keen to know when they’ll get the ability for FSD to navigate city streets.
Currently FSD Beta users have v10 in their cars and that was a marked improvement over v9.2. The capability to navigate city streets is impressive and it seems daily commutes are fairly well in hand. Naturally with new technology, the testers are pushing the limits of what’s capable right now and we have seen the limitation of the current build and it does make mistakes.
This raises the question of how Tesla is going to roll out this software thoughtfully as to expand and learn more about FSD in different locations and edge cases. Clearly Tesla are going with a US-first approach, but recently expanded the FSD Beta to Canada.
When asked about an expansion, Musk said he believes the technology will probably be ready in a few months. Given the delays in previous Musk timelines, its safe to assume we’re really talking about 2022 before a serious international rollout. The last part of his reply is also interesting and may be the biggest challenge, with regulatory approval likely to be a slow-moving minefield, done jurisdiction, by jurisdiction around the world. Progressive states and countries would be setting up their benchmarks for autonomous vehicle safety tests and be ready for when the technology arrives.
When it comes to the Beta, Musk says Beta 10 users will receive version 10.01.1 today which will be the first time we’ve seen a sub-point release. This suggests it could be a critical bug fix and definitely unlikely to offer any new features. What will deliver improvements is the next point release, with 10.1 scheduled for next Friday.
This v10.1 release will also coincide with the much anticipated “Button” to request the beta. This Beta request button has to be shipped in a production build, so expect all Tesla’s to receive a new build. This button will be available from the Service section of the car’s touchscreen.
Hopefully Tesla shares some data around how many people request the Beta once it’s available. If 25% of Tesla owners purchased FSD and 25% of those push the button and 80% get the Beta, we could be looking at 10-20,000 users, a significant leap over the 2-3,000 Beta testers we have today.
So who can request the Beta? Until now it has largely been unknown how the Beta expansion would be done, now we have some additional detail.
Musk says the Beta button will request permission to asses your driving behaviour using the Tesla insurance calculator. Presumably this means your driving data, from your history (or over the subsequent 7 days) that would be assessed by Tesla if you were buying insurance through them. As far as we know this does not mean you need to have your insurance with Tesla to request the beta, but you do need to behave.
Tristan (@rice_fry) has done a great job at detailing the data points from Tesla’s Insurance Policy which should give you a good idea of what they’re expecting to qualify as ‘good behaviour’.
When you participate in the FSD Beta, you are still responsible for the car and need to pay attention diligently. The internal cabin camera will be used to monitor the driver to ensure they are not on their phones and are monitoring the environment ahead of them. If you trip over a threshold set by Tesla, you can and will be kicked form the FSD Beta.
This is a nervous time for the development of autonomous systems with an expansion of the FSD Beta program, you do increase the risk accidents could happen (usually from driver’s not catching errors). Given the conditions of the Beta access is that only the owner uses it, there is a pretty motivating factor to use it wisely, in that it’s your own car and if it crashes because you didn’t intervene, you will be liable.
Each of the participants that ultimately get the Beta will not only have bought their Tesla, but also purchased FSD.
To Andrej and the team, it’s showtime. Best of luck.