– Mar. 12th 2021 8:11 pm ET
Elon Musk says that has Tesla removed from the Full Self-Driving Beta drivers who they determined weren’t paying enough attention.
The automaker also expanded the beta to now a total of roughly 2000 Tesla owners.
Last week, Musk announced that Tesla is doubling the size of its Full Self-Driving beta program.
Back in October 2020, Tesla started to push a Full Self-Driving Beta release to owners in the “Early Access” program, a group of Tesla owners who test early versions of Tesla’s new features before a wider release to the fleet.
The software update was seen as a major step toward Tesla delivering on its longtime promise of making its vehicles “full self-driving” through over-the-air software updates.
While the update doesn’t result in a truly self-driving vehicle since the responsibility still lies with the driver, which Tesla still requires to stay attentive and be ready to take control at all times, it does close the gap with Tesla’s Autopilot highway driving features and enable Tesla’s driver-assist system to control the vehicle on city streets and through intersections.
Tesla owners using the FSD beta are able to give the car a destination and the vehicle will attempt to drive them there autonomously with the driver keeping their hands on the steering wheel and ready to take over.
The company reported about 1,000 people, some Tesla employees and others outside the company, in the beta program.
Now Musk confirmed today that the program has been expanded to about 2,000 owners and he also said that some who were previously in the program saw their access revoked:
“FSD Beta has now been expanded to ~2000 owners & we’ve also revoked beta where drivers did not pay sufficient attention to the road. No accidents to date.”
The CEO confirmed that Tesla used its driver-facing camera to monitor driver attention in the beta program.
Musk also announced that Tesla is getting closer to its goal for its self-driving system to be purely based on computer vision:
“Next significant release will be in April. Going with pure vision — not even using radar. This is the way to real-world AI.”
Instead of going with a usual wider release of the system, Tesla is going to give more people access to the beta program through a new “download beta” button in the vehicle user interface for people who purchased the Full Self-Driving package.
The button is expected to be added later this month.
I am on board with trying to enforce driver attention, but I think you are entering a tricky situation when removing functionality that owners have paid for.
I understand that this is the beta version, but Tesla has its own definition of “beta”. The automaker says that it uses the word to try to avoid complacency from drivers.
The problem is that Tesla has had Autopilot features in “beta” for years.
Therefore, it brings the question: when are they going to give those owners back their features? When FSD gets out of “beta”?
My understanding is that it will not get out of beta until it truly becomes full self-driving and Tesla takes responsibility.
Obviously, Tesla is at the cutting edge here and figuring it out as it goes, but I think they are opening themselves to some issues here.
To be fair, it’s not like I have a solution. I believe this approach is likely better since you remove some risks, but it’s tricky.
What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.
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