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Elon Musk has finally set a date for the release of the first Full Self-Driving car. Although the release date has changed several times over the last months, it seems it’s finally here. On Saturday, July 10th, the world (or a few select beta testers, anyway), will see Tesla’s first Full Self-Driving car. The new software will be installed in Model S, Model X and Model 3 cars.

A red 2021 Tesla Model 3 speeds down a highway.
2021 Tesla Model 3 | Tesla

What is Tesla’s Full Self-Driving?

Tesla has been preparing the world for Full Self-Driving (FSD) for some time now. Currently, Teslas are equipped with Autopilot which, despite its name, is not actually autonomous. It is, however, a semi-autonomous driving system that can help a driver navigate their car. Full Self-Driving is supposed to come along and be the closer-to-fully autonomous driving system people have been waiting for (but it still isn’t autonomous). 

Recently, Tesla ditched radar sensors in the Model 3 and Model Y cars. Instead, these Teslas and their safety systems, as well as Autopilot, are operating via a camera-based system. This camera based-system relies on a neural network to share information about its effectiveness. The IIHS recently tested the Model 3 with the camera-based safety features and found it worthy of its Top Safety Pick+ award. 

Electrek says that Tesla’s new Full Self-Driving will be able to do everything that Tesla’s Autopilot can, plus more. Tesla FSD will have a city driving feature, which can drive through cities, including intersections. 

Tesla will be beta testing FSD

As Tesla does with new features, they’ll be beta-testing these features with actual customers. How’s that for taking customer feedback seriously? The first round of beta testers will likely include a small group of 2,000. This number includes a good deal of Tesla employees. 

Perhaps the biggest question that Tesla drivers have is about the new v9 software that Tesla is using. This new version of Tesla’s software incorporates the camera-based system mentioned above, instead of radar. It’s likely that a wider release than the initial smaller group will take another month.

Elon Musk has tweeted about the new software and its release. He said, “FSD Beta V9.0 will blow your mind.” At the same time, Musk said that FSD would be released in two weeks – back in April of 2021. Of course, these things take time and there are always tweaks that have to be made. Considering the fact that Tesla customers will be beta testing the new software, and it isn’t hard to imagine why Tesla wants to make sure to get it right.

Don’t be confused – you still can’t just let your Tesla drive itself

Lots of people have either intentionally or unintentionally misinterpreted the Tesla Autopilot function’s level of autonomy. Misusing Autopilot has caused people to be in accidents, or even killed. Currently Tesla is being investigated in California as to the role they play in this misuse.

With that in mind, it’s important to note that FSD isn’t fully autonomous, either. Seriously, don’t go getting in the back seat of your Tesla just so you can demonstrate how autonomous your car is. It isn’t, and Tesla insists that drivers must retain control of their vehicle. All of this technology is very new, so even if it works most of the time, you don’t want to be hanging out the driver’s side window that one time it fails.

We’ll just have to wait and see if Tesla really does release FSD on July 10. Whenever they do, it will be exciting to see how it does, and its potential capabilities for increasing safety on the roads. We’d all benefit from Tesla getting FSD right, as the software can be implemented in other car brands.


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