Tesla is rolling out 2020.40.8.10 to a small group of private beta users in America. While most Tesla owners are receiving the 2020.40.8 update (myself included), the additional .10 on the end is a unique version of the software.
Software version 2020.40.8.10 contains Tesla’s highly anticipated rewrite of their Full Self Driving technology. This rewrite means that many more of the actions the car takes, are performed as a result of AI training.
While the FSD rewrite is expected to be rolled out before the end of 2020, those with early access to the private beta program were thought to be under NDA and prevented from sharing, however it seems some have an exception to that rule.
Below is the first video from the FSD rewrite that shows the new software running, showing a very different visualisation of what the car sees, and understands about the environment around it.
The short clip shows the car stopped at a 4-way intersection, facing a stop sign. The gutters of each road are now mapped with red indicators and important road markings are also featured.
The new software will allow Tesla’s to navigate city streets, that means turning corners for the first time, something we first seen demo’d in a video at Autonomy Day last April.
Further to this, the Tesla Owners Silicon Valley account also posted on Twitter that they have been granted special permissions to share experiences from the private beta online.
We look forward to many more updates.
Here are the official release notes.
If you’re looking at the video and images above and thinking, that doesn’t have the normal Tesla polish to the UI, fear not, Whole Mars clarifies this is just for the early preview.
Another post from Tesla Owners Silicon Valley. This definitely looks 1 step removed from an internal development view with boxes representing objects in the environment.
Here’s another video from Brandonee916 which shows more bounding boxes around vehicles and for the first time, the car taking corners on its own.
In this follow up video from Brandon, it shows the car recognising the roadside islands between roads. It also appears the car accelerates away from the traffic light (once green) faster than it does currently on public builds of the software.
Naturally if the car is going to now take corners, that also means the car needs to indicate ahead of a turn. While Tesla has shown their ability to that for changing lanes on the freeway with Navigate on Autopilot, this is the first time we’ve seen indicators be automatically enabled for turning corners.
What’s also very apparent from @Tesla_Raj’s reaction in the following video, is that the car is able to navigate, despite not having lane lines. Before now, it was only possible to enable Autopilot when the car had a good track on the painted lane lines, it seems the car is now addressing drivable space, rather than lane lines.
This is a massive step change in capability. While we’d like to think of all our roads being well marked, the reality is new roads take some time to receive lane markings, roads in rural areas will never get marked. There’s also the issue of road works where lane markings can be hit and miss, so moving to this model and preferencing the left or right side of the road is definitely a big step forward as FSD will now be available to use in many, more locations.
Ok we now have a much better video of the car turning corners. This really does make it feel we are witnessing a significant change in vehicles and what we expect them to do for us.
While there are other semi-autonomous cars that can turn corners, there’s a massive difference here, with Tesla’s implementation just using cameras, sensors and radar, not Lidar and HD maps.
This difference means that Tesla has the capability to scale this rapidly to enable this potentially world-wide, leaving those other competitors restricted to small, mapped areas of specific cities.
And now for a video showing how the Tesla reacts when encountering a roundabout. While not perfect (this is still beta), I’m very impressed to see how well the car did. Personally I can encounter as many as 16 roundabouts per day and right now, I that means disengaging Autopilot, turning left, then right through the roundabout and re-engaging Autopilot.
Having the car able to navigate roundabouts on it own will be a massive leap forward, adding significant value to the vehicle (and FSD purchase) for me.
The visualisation is really impressive in this video, providing a real sense of the car’s ability to see and understand the environment, even at night.
Next we have another video, this time of the a Model X performing a right turn, complete with external shots. The turn looks smooth through the corner and maintains a pretty good speed of 13-14mph (around 20km/h).
One final reflection on what we’ve seen today. The FSD rewrite looks to be amazingly capable and I think many will now opt in for FSD with the expectation of an impending global rollout before the end of 2020.
Tesla in the Gong asked Elon about an international rollout and got this response.
This suggests there could still be a long road before we see this enabled for Australia, particularly given the reference to complexities of accommodating for driving on left side of the road.
With enough training data, it should be technically possible to offer exactly what Tesla does in the US and to a large degree I thought we may already be there (with all LHD markets combined). This post from Elon places a fair bit of doubt around the timeline for this release into Australia.
I’ve questioned for a long time, what threshold Tesla would set for reliability before releasing FSD feature complete. I think in this post, we get the answer, high 9’s reliability, way beyond humans.
Given that benchmark is so high, it could take additional time, potentially into 2021, but I’d hope that means regulators could easily be satisfied the cars are safer than humans. If a legislator was to learn that an autonomous car was safer than a human, but then declined that functionality to be used in Australia, they would in effect be costing human lives.
This places a massive motivation on legislators to do the right thing and set the thresholds for autonomous safety, but then allow automakers like Tesla to release it as soon as possible.
Musk has just announced on Twitter that the price of FSD will increase again, by around $2,000 on Monday. There’s no context on this, if the price rise would include all regions, or just the US. Either way, it may be a good time to consider biting the bullet on FSD, now you know what’s coming.