Earlier today, Tesla launched the long-awaited subscription service for the company’s full self-driving (FSD) software. The subscription has two options - $99 & $199 per month - and allows owners to get access to Tesla’s FSD software without having to shell out the $10,000 purchase price.
This is exciting especially for Tesla owners who want to try out FSD but can’t afford to pay the extra $10,000 outright and/or are unable to take out a loan for whatever reason.
However, what’s even more exciting about the subscription service launch is that Elon Musk in the past has linked it with FSD wide release which in turn was expected to come with a “download button”.
The download button will allow anyone who wants to try out Tesla’s latest FSD build - which has surface street capability and the ability to listen to sirens and recognize hand gestures and police/ambulance lights - to be able to download the software at will.
According to Musk, the download button and FSD subscription were two weeks away from launching...that was back in May.
Although a bit later than expected, Tesla fans are still excited about the subscription service launch. Tesla Twitter was also excited thinking FSD subscription launch means the download button was just around the corner.
However, Elon Musk has poured cold water on those expectations saying FSD wide release is still ways out.
Currently, the FSD Beta version with surface street capability has been rolled out to Tesla’s 2000 or so Early Access Program (EAP) participants.
Just last week EAP testers got a big update - FSD Beta version 9 (V9). This update is a major architectural change. Before FSD v9, Tesla vehicles used hybrid data from autopilot cameras and radar to understand the world.
However, with FSD Beta v9, Tesla has moved the autopilot software to a pure vision (camera) system. The reason behind this significant departure is Elon Musk’s vision for Tesla’s next-generation autonomous system.
Musk believes in order to solve real-world AI, Tesla must first solve driving using only vision (cameras). This is because the road system is designed for human beings to drive using their eyes. And once Tesla achieves this feat, Musk believes using other sensors such as radar and LiDAR will be redundant.
Tesla has successfully implemented the move to a pure vision system using FSD Beta v9. Owners lucky enough to test Tesla’s latest FSD build have reported the vehicle feels more poised when tackling challenging situations. Although work remains to improve the system in specific edge cases.
However, according to Elon, currently, FSD beta v9 is only using the pure vision production code for highway driving. Musk says “Beta 10 hopefully (Beta 11 definitely) will use one stack to rule them all – city streets, highway & complex parking lots.”
As a result, Elon says FSD Beta will be released to the general public “maybe with FSD rev 10, definitely with rev 11”.
Wide beta maybe with FSD rev 10, definitely with rev 11— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 17, 2021
This means Tesla has decided FSD Beta wide release/the download button will not come until Tesla has transitioned the FSD Beta software to a pure vision system for all driving scenarios.
When asked how long owners should wait till FSD wide release, Musk said it will take roughly a month for each - v10 and v11 software to be released to the EAP members. Meaning we can expect FSD wide release in roughly 3 months or so.
Roughly— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 17, 2021
3 months is a clear delay for the FSD wide release. And that timeline doesn’t even take into account “Elon Time”. However, Tesla is trying to do potentially revolutionary work here.
Tesla’s FSD work is at the bleeding edge of real-world AI research; most of the features being added to Tesla’s FSD software get released with a research paper. As a result, we can’t fault Tesla too much for delays especially given all the progress they have demonstrated with the EAP FSD Beta v9 software.
We will be sure to keep you up to date as Tesla releases new updates to the FSD beta software. Make sure to visit our site torquenews.com/electric-vehicles regularly for the latest updates.
So what do you think? Are you bummed Tesla is delaying the download button? Also, factoring in “Elon Time” when do you think FSD wide release will come? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.
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Tinsae Aregay has been following Tesla and The evolution of the EV space on a daily basis for several years. He covers everything about Tesla from the cars to Elon Musk, the energy business, and autonomy. Follow Tinsae on Twitter at @TinsaeAregay for daily Tesla news.