Tesla expands access to FSD to 'anyone in North America who asks for it'

Tesla is expanding its beta “full self-driving” (FSD) software “to anyone in North America who requests it from the car’s screen,” according to CEO Elon Musk, who tweeted hit the late night news on Wednesday. The continent-wide rollout of FSD comes as Tesla potentially faces a criminal investigation by the US Department of Justice for 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 which costing North American drivers $15,000is an extension of Autopilot that includes features such as assisted driving on highways and city streets, intelligent vehicle summoning, automatic parking, and recognition and response to traffic lights and stop signs.

Autopilot, and by extension FSD, have come under regulatory scrutiny in recent years after a a series of Tesla crashes, many of which were fatal. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched special investigations into 36 Tesla crashes involving Autopilot 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 is falsely advertised the autopilot and FSD self-driving capabilities.

Some Tesla owners and enthusiasts provided for the company may allow FSD in all cars after Tesla appears to have removed the requirement for 100 miles on Autopilot and a safety score of at least 80 to receive the FSD update. This is a worrying lack of control, given concerns that drivers using ADAS are less likely to monitor the road and be alert in the event of a system malfunction. Tesla’s website encourages drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

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 formerly extended access to FSD to 160,000 owners in the US and Canada in September, and today’s widespread rollout fulfills Musk’s previous promises to get FSD in every Tesla by the end of 2022.

Musk claims Tesla can achieve full self-driving until the end of the year, but during the company’s third quarter earnings admitted that the FSD won’t get regulatory approval to drive without someone behind the wheel in 2022. The move to expand the number of users and possibly give the Tesla Dojo supercomputer more data to work with may be one of the reasons Tesla chose now to expanded.

This could also be a relief move investor concerns and accumulate a little more income. Tesla shares are at a two-year low and its market capitalization has shrunk from $1.2 trillion last November to $574 billion today after Musk bought Twitter and dramas followed from a major overhaul of the company.

FSD scaling also follows news from Tesla engineers Romi Phadte and Gabe Gheorghian, who spoke at BazelCon 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.

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