Tesla extends FSD access to “anyone in North America who requests it”

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Tesla is expanding its “fully self-driving” (FSD) beta software “to anyone in North America who asks for it from the car screen,” said CEO Elon Musk, who tweeted in the news late Wednesday night. The rollout of FSD across the continent comes as Tesla may face a criminal investigation from the US Department of Justice over false claims related to the company’s Autopilot advanced driver assistance system.

Autopilot is standard on Tesla vehicles and performs automated driving functions such as steering, acceleration and automatic braking. FSD costs North American drivers $15,000 and has features such as assisted driving on highways and city streets, smart vehicle calling, automatic parking, and recognizing and responding to traffic lights and stop signs.

Autopilot, and by extension FSD, have come under regulatory scrutiny in recent years following a series of Tesla crashes, many of them fatal. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened a special investigation into 36 Tesla Autopilot accidents since 2016, five of which occurred this year. Tesla has also come under fire from the California Department of Motor Vehicles and drivers who claim the company falsely advertised Autopilot and FSD self-driving capabilities.

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Some Tesla owners and enthusiasts predicted the company could allow FSD in all cars after Tesla appears to have removed the requirement of 100 Autopilot miles and a safety score of at least 80 to receive the FSD update. This is a worrying lack of control given fears that drivers using ADAS are less likely to pay attention to the road and more likely to be involved in accidents. Tesla’s website encourages drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

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Despite concerns, any driver who has already paid the high price for Tesla’s FSD will be able to access the software in North America. Tesla had expanded FSD access to 160,000 owners in the US and Canada earlier in September, and today’s widespread rollout fulfills Musk’s earlier promises to have FSD in every Tesla by the end of 2022.

Musk has claimed that Tesla could be fully self-driving by the end of the year, but during the company’s third-quarter earnings call, FSD would not receive regulatory approval to drive without someone behind the wheel in 2022. number of users and potentially giving Tesla’s supercomputer Dojo more data to work with could be one of the reasons why Tesla has now chosen to expand.

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It could also be a move to ease investor concerns and generate some more income. Tesla stock is at a two-year low and its market cap is down from $1.2 trillion last November to $574 billion today, following Musk’s takeover of Twitter and the subsequent dramas of the company’s overhaul.

The scaling of FSD also follows news from Tesla engineers Romi Phadte and Gabe Gheorghian who spoke at BaselCon this week and shared that Tesla has increased the number of FSD simulations per week from about 250,000 in 2020 to 2 million today.