It’s not a secret that Tesla has been working on a “full self-driving” (FSD) car for some time now. In Tesla Q3 2019 earning call, Elon Musk said that “it still does appear that we will still be in Early Access release of Full Self Driving by the end of this year.”
The “feature complete” version of the full self-driving car will be released as a part of beta testing, and only a few customers will get access to it. So we are not going to see cars being driven by themselves anytime soon.
In the earning call, Elon Musk also explained what the term “feature complete” actually denotes. The term means that the car will be able to drive from someone’s home to work without any interventions. However, interventions can be made by the driver when necessary.
A lot has been said for the Tesla Autopilot’s high-speed handling abilities. Last September, the autonomous feature by Tesla, Smart Summon, was released. The feature introduced to the Tesla owners as a version 10 software update on September 26th, but only those owners who purchased the full-self driving option on their car received the update. The feature allowed the owners to summon their cars from a maximum distance of 200 feet via their smartphones, and the car should be in the line of sight for the feature to work.
As brilliant as the feature was, the owners were not so impressed due to many near-crashes that happened. As soon as the feature was released, videos of Tesla owners testing the new feature started appearing on the internet, and it’s safe to say that the results were not as impressive,
and one video even showcasing a damaged bumper and another of a near collision with a speeding SUV.
“Our neural network learning approach enables us to continue to iterate and improve functionality over time,” Tesla stated in regards to the issue.
Although Musk said in an interview that the Tesla Autopilot could handle high-speed driving, the company has not allowed hands-off control of the vehicle at medium speed.
Musk stated in one of his earlier statements this year that Tesla’s vehicle would be able to drive anywhere without any interference from the driver, but seeing the restriction on hands-off control, it seems like Tesla still has a long way to go. With around 425,000 Tesla cars on the roads, Tesla can gather data to improve the neural network needed for self-driving cars.
Tesla also announced that the FSD feature would be officially introduced by mid-2020 with improvements that will allow the drivers to shift their focus from the road. The company also plans to invest their autonomous cars in taxi services similar to ola and uber, where Tesla owners will also be able to add their cars.
The feature is as brilliant as it is bound to have a brilliant cost too. Tesla owners can choose either of the two options, either purchase the company’s FSD option for $6,000, or $800 after delivery. The price would also be raised every few months.