Elon Musk has announced the FSD Beta is coming to Canada next month, with the timeline appearing to align to the much anticipated V11 release. This is a big deal, as it will be the first time the program has been available to the public outside of the United States.
International expansion of the software obviously comes with many challenges, including different road markings, street signs, road rules and more. If Tesla is prepared to roll the FSD Beta to another region, its a good sign they are confident in the system’s ability.
As those paying attention would know, to drive FSD Beta, you first need to buy a Tesla, at which point, you will make a choice about buying FSD or not, on the website, as you’re configuring the vehicle. The Beta is really a proxy for the final bullet point of functionality – Autosteer on city streets.
Secondly, you then need to get the software update, which in the US, now requires you to complete the Safety Score, demonstrating that over at least 7 days, you are a safe driver. This Safety Score is made up of a number of driving factors, watching for behaviours like follow distance, harsh braking and steering inputs etc. To date, those with a Safety Score in the high 90s have been admitted into the Beta program, with the same safety score data also helping to build out Tesla’s Insurance product. It is not yet clear if Tesla owners in Canada will need to complete the safety score before receiving the beta.
Finally, once you have the software, you need to enable the FSD Beta option in the software, where you are warned again that this does not make your car autonomous and still requires you to pay attention and take over if the software makes a mistake.
Having a car turn corners and navigate roundabouts is impressive, but the full job challenge includes navigating the complex environment of cars parking, pedestrians, cyclists, speed bumps and much, much more.
Tesla’s Full Self Driving beta software has gone through many iterations since we first saw it back in October 2020. Close to a year later, Tesla opened the program from a small group of people who were allowed to share their experiences publicly, to somewhere in the range of 20,000 customers.
Expansion into Canada will add to this pool of FSD Beta drivers that are helping to improve the software. Typically we have seen a correlation in functionality (yes the Beta’s city streets counts), with price rises to the FSD Capability, so if you’re in Canada, don’t be surprised if this increases any time over the next month.
In the US, customers who aren’t yet convinced the outright price tag is worth it can opt for subscription payment for FSD. It is possible that Tesla will also roll out FSD Subscriptions to Canada at the same time the Beta is released, but again, nothing is confirmed for now.
With a cautious timeline of 2 to 4 weeks, this places a likely timeline on the FSD Beta expansion, that would dovetail nicely into the timeline we’re expecting for V11 of the FSD Beta software. This software is going to contain some dramatic changes to the amount of hand-written code, moving more of the stack to AI models, driven by Tesla’s Computer Vision approach. Highway and City Streets will move to a single-stack, meaning that the same path prediction, drivable space calculations are being made by the same model, not switching between the two, depending on the road category you find yourself on.
This Canada expansion also comes at an interesting time of the year, one of the most challenging, with it being peak snow season right now, something we’ve seen varying results with in the US.
The FSD Beta rollout to another country is something we should watch closely as it will likely give us an appreciation of how complex it is for Tesla to roll out to new environments. While Canada still won’t tackle the RHD issue of somewhere like Australia, it will tell us a lot about how long it takes to learn region differences and should enable us to project forward, when we are likely to see the software down under.
Today’s tweet from Musk was a little surprising, given its change in direction from his post in November 2021 that said FSD would need to be out of beta before expanding. Thankfully there looks to have been a re-think on that one.