What Tesla calls “Full Self Driving,” which had seen a limited release to “careful” Tesla owners back on October, could see a wider release in two weeks. Tesla CEO Elon Musk indicated as much on Twitter in response to a question about its availability in the state of Minnesota.
“Probably going to a wider beta in ~2 weeks,” Musk tweeted on Nov. 27.
The software, which Tesla has controversially called “Full Self Driving,” was activated in cars equipped with the required suite of radar and camera sensors just weeks prior, an $8,000 option before it went up to $10,000, inviting enthusiasm from some segment of Tesla owners and the tech community while also generating plenty of caution and skepticism in the automotive industry. The software itself had been promised by the Tesla CEO for years, and by its name alone certainly seemed to suggest something above Level 4 autonomy, but still requires drivers to stay alert, pay attention to the road and be ready to counteract potentially problematic actions taken by the software.
The so-called beta version of the software was released to users with a warning that it may do “the worst thing at the worst time,” which, among other things, did not sound to skeptics as something that should be called “Full Self Driving,” especially since the driver still needs to monitor the road and be ready to take over at a moment’s notice. The sensor suite has also been described as more limited than used by other advanced autonomous prototypes, which usually include Lidar laser scanners.
The limited release of the software soon prompted a note from the NHTSA, which pointed out that there are no cars for sale today that are capable of driving themselves, with the agency also indicating that it would monitor the roll-out of Tesla’s system. But NHTSA did not speculate just what types of events could prompt it to take some kind of regulatory action.
By definition, FSD is considered to be a Level 2 system, because it still requires the driver to monitor the road. Therefore, it does not offer eyes-off capability (seemingly at odds with the goals of something advertised as “self driving”), which could otherwise allow for it to be classified as Level 3. A Level 3 system, on the other hand, is due to be offered in Japan in the Honda Legend sedan, which will allow drivers to take their eyes off the road until the system signals the driver to take over. While some debate still exists about the classification of FSD, it is generally agreed that it is not Level 4 by any stretch, and should not be treated by drivers as such.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk did not elaborate just how much wider the activation of the system will be in two weeks, but it’s worth noting that Tesla only extended the system to the more careful Tesla drivers, presumably as judged by the automaker remotely through an examination of driving behaviors.
Source: Read Full Article