Elon Musk said Tesla plans to update FSD in 2023 to demonstrate that the technology is safer than the average human driver.
Tesla Inc’s (TSLA.O) advanced driver assistant software won’t receive regulatory approval until 2022, Chief Executive Elon Musk said on Oct 20. That means that Tesla’s vehicles cannot yet be driven without a driver.
Silicon Valley’s automobile manufacturer offers a fifteen thousand dollar add-on package named “Full Self-Driving” (FSD) that enables its vehicles to change lanes and park autonomously. In combination with its standard “Autopilot” feature, which enables cars to steer, accelerate and brake within their lanes without driver intervention, this package enables cars to drive.
Tesla says the cars still need to be driven with human oversight. For example, a highly autonomous vehicle would require regulatory approval in California.
Elon Musk said on a Wednesday phone call to discuss quarterly results that he plans to roll out an upgraded FSD software in the middle of next year, and that while his cars are not yet ready to operate without a driver, drivers will rarely have to touch the controls.
“Your vehicle will be able to get you from your home to your work without you having to touch the steering wheel, says the engineer”.
He said that whether the company’s decision to develop the drug will be approved by regulators is a separate matter. However, regulators will not approve the drug at that time.
Elon Musk said Tesla plans to provide an update to FSD in 2023 to demonstrate to regulators that the technology is far safer than the average human driver.
THE SCRUTINY OF REGULATIONS
Craig Irwin, an analyst at Roth Capital, said Musk is opening the possibility that Tesla will have a more difficult path to approval for FSD, given heightened NHTSA and other scrutiny.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles on Thursday said it was investigating Tesla vehicles’ planned design and technological capabilities without providing further details.
After viewing “videos showing a dangerous use of that technology,” the regulator said it is looking into whether Tesla’s self-driving tests require regulatory approval, according to an earlier statement. Federal investigations into Tesla vehicle crashes are also underway.
Tesla’s “full self-driving” beta requires human intervention and is therefore not subject to its autonomous vehicle regulations, the company said.
Tesla avoided state regulatory oversight by telling the DMV its FSD features do not make the cars autonomous, critics say.
Gene Munster, a managing partner at venture capital firm Loup Ventures, which owns Tesla shares, said that tensions between NHTSA and Tesla will increase at the end of the year and Tesla will move forward.
The most important source of profit for Tesla
Tesla’s biggest problem, according to some analysts, is not regulators but the software itself, due to its complexity.
Bryant Walker Smith, a law professor at the University of South Carolina, said the problem is not with the technology itself but with the process for getting it approved.
Tesla has repeatedly failed to meet its own targets for vehicles to achieve full self-driving capability, a function that Musk has said would eventually be “the most important source of profit for Tesla.”
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