Elon Musk says Tesla is adding its self-driving technology to other brands of cars in North America.
Tesla is making its full self-driving beta software available to anyone who requests it in North America. The announcement was made by Elon Musk who said it can be requested from the car screen, which is a purchase option when buying an electric vehicle. “Congrats to the Tesla Autopilot/AI team on achieving a major milestone!” the CEO tweeted.
The rollout of Tesla’s Full Self-Driving vehicles comes as the company faces a criminal investigation from the U.S. Department of Justice over false claims relating to its advanced driver assistance system, TechCrunch reports. Known as Autopilot, the standard issue software performs automated driving functions like steering, accelerating, and automatic braking.
Tesla’s Full Self-Driving system is an extension of Autopilot and includes features like assisted steering on highways and city streets, smart vehicle summoning, automatic parking, and recognizing and reacting to traffic lights and stop signs. Both programs have come under scrutiny by regulators following a series of accidents, many of which were fatal. As such, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened investigations into 36 crashes involving Autopilot since 2016.
Tesla has also faced backlash from California’s Department of Motor Vehicles and drivers who claim the company falsely advertised the self-driving capabilities of Autopilot and Full Self-Driving. Meanwhile, some Tesla fans predicted the company might allow all cars to access FSD software after the company seemingly dropped the requirement for 100 Autopilot miles and a safety score of at least 80 to receive the FSD update.
The move is a little concerning since drivers using ADAS are less likely to watch the road and be alert in case Tesla’s Full Self-Driving system malfunctions. However, the carmaker’s website does encourage people to keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road. Still, anyone who has already paid will be able to access the software in North America.
Tesla had previously extended Full Self-Driving access to 160,000 owners in the United States and Canada in September. The new widespread rollout makes good on previous promises from Elon Musk to get the FSD system in every Tesla by the end of the year. But during the company’s third-quarter earnings report, the billionaire said the system wouldn’t get regulatory approval until 2023.
The decision to expand the number of Tesla Full Self-Driving users could be the company’s way of giving supercomputer Dojo more data to work with. It’s also the perfect way to ease investor fears and accrue more revenue since the carmaker’s stock is at a two-year low. Its market cap was also slashed from $1.2 trillion last November to $574 billion following Elon Musk’s buyout of Twitter and the ensuing company overhaul.
Meanwhile, Tesla’s Full Self-Driving scaling follows news from company engineers Romi Phadte and Gabe Gheorghian who told BazelCon that the electric vehicle manufacturer has increased the number of FSD simulations per week from approximately 250,000 in 2020 to almost two million in 2022. The carmaker is also working to integrate Dolby Atmos in its cars, to deliver better surround sound, MSN reports.