Tesla CEO Elon Musk has laid out a rough plan to expand access to Full Self-Driving (FSD), the company’s advanced driver assistance system (ADAS), in North America and the rest of the world.
“Once FSD is super smooth (not just secure), we will roll out a one-month free trial to all cars in North America,” Musk tweeted Monday. “Then roll it out to the rest of the world after we make sure it works well on local roads and it’s approved by regulators in that country.”
Despite what its name suggests, FSD doesn’t actually allow a car to drive itself entirely. The latest version of the beta software automates some driving tasks on both highways and city streets, but still requires the driver to remain alert and take control of the vehicle at any time.
Musk did not provide a specific timeline for extending access to FSD beyond North America, where the $15,000 add-on has been available to “anyone who asks” since November. The executive also did not explain why Tesla would launch a one-month free trial for all Tesla vehicles on the mainland, but the reason is likely twofold.
FSD, which is powered by deep neural networks, is technically still in the beta stage. That means it requires a lot of data to train and improve. By rolling out FSD to every Tesla in North America, even if it’s just for a month, the automaker is able to collect another huge amount of driving data while also building excitement about the software and its capabilities — the equivalent of from Tesla to give a free sample. of ice cream to get him to buy a scoop.
“We test as much as possible in simulation and with [quality assurance] drivers, but the reality is much more complex,” Musk tweeted over the weekend, along with the news that the latest version of FSD would be shipping to Tesla employees this week.
The executive also teased the capabilities of the next version of FSD, which musk said would have “end-to-end AI”.
Outside of North America, Tesla has been limited in its ability to provide drivers with access to FSD due to stricter regulations. Drivers only have access to Autopilot, Tesla’s standard ADAS, which includes features like auto-steering within a lane, auto-braking and auto-navigation to freeway on-ramps and off-ramps, but it’s a retroactive version. FSD is not yet allowed on public roads.
However, there have been some movements during the last month by the European Commission to speed up the regulation of ADAS. The Commission is aiming for the new regulation to be submitted in full by September 2024, with the option available for both an earlier deadline and pre-deployment testing of the systems.
Meanwhile, in Asian markets like China, where Tesla’s Autopilot is available to drivers, there have been recent changes. reports that the automaker will soon begin full-scale FSD testing.
The potential wide release comes as FSD and Autopilot have gotten the automaker into trouble in recent years. The systems have been the subject of numerous federal lawsuits and investigations, including a criminal investigation by the US Department of Justice. The family of an Apple engineer who was killed in a car accident while allegedly engaging Autopilot is currently in the process, and Musk will likely have to take the stand to defend comments he made about the system’s capabilities.