Elon Musk announced in a recent Tweet that Tesla will expand its heavily scrutinised Full Self-Driving (FSD) Beta program to include 60,000 more owners in the US and Canada.
The FSD Beta program is billed as a more advanced autonomous drive system than the existing ‘Full Self-Driving Capability’ option.
Once this expansion occurs there will be a total of 160,000 FSD Beta testers across both countries. Musk also said in his Tweet the latest 10.69.2.2 version of the FSD Beta “looks good”.
To date Tesla owners in North America with a so-called ‘Safety Score’ of 90 or above have been granted access to the Beta program, but Musk tweeted last week that the company would expand this to anyone with a score above 80.
It’s unclear if this has gone into effect just yet.
As previously detailed, Tesla introduced a series of tests that assess driving behaviour over seven days before granting access to the Beta feature.
Testers receive a score out of 100 depending on their driving behaviour and the score is made up of different criteria including forward collision warnings, hard braking, aggressive turning, unsafe following and forced Autopilot disengagements.
Before all this, Tesla customers are required to purchase the FSD Capability option which now costs $US15,000 ($A22,337) in the US.
The EV startup first launched its FSD Beta program in October 2020 and has slowly been expanding the amount of people who have access.
This “Full Self-Driving” feature promises an entirely hands-free driving experience, but previously-shared footage from early FSD Beta testers has shown that owners still need to remain vigilant and be prepared to take control if necessary.
Australian customers still don’t have access to the FSD Beta yet, but can. purchase the FSD Capability option.
This Full Self-Driving Capability option brings semi-autonomous highway driving with lane changing, automatic parking with a summoning feature, as well as traffic light and stop sign recognition.
Tesla also recently introduced a new Enhanced Autopilot option which brings all the above features except for traffic light and stop sign recognition at a reduced cost.
Even if you don’t opt for any of these option packages you still get adaptive cruise control with Autopilot lane-keeping assist.
All Tesla models are fitted with the company’s so-called ‘Full Self-Driving computer’ designed to eventually offer hands-free driving when the owner pays for the option.
Despite this, CNBC recently reported Tesla has removed one of the two electronic control units used in the steering racks of Chinese-made Model 3 and Model Y vehicles, which will prevent more sophisticated autonomous driving technology being deployed over the air.
The second control unit for the electric power-assisted steering is used mainly as a backup, and sources told CNBC there were no safety issues.
The removal also reportedly won’t affect the operation of Autopilot or Full Self-Driving (FSD).
However, the control unit’s presence in Tesla models is to support the eventual rollout of Level 3 autonomous driving technology.
With the control unit gone, Tesla owners would reportedly have to have it retrofitted at a service centre to receive this technology update. This might also be required if there’s a more sophisticated update to FSD.
As reported last week, an owner is suing Tesla over false advertising about its Autopilot, Enhanced Autopilot, and Full Self-Driving systems.