Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said that the company is expanding its “Full Self-Driving” (FSD) beta by doubling its size with a new software update. Another update following this one could see the size of the test fleet increase by a factor of 10.
“Still be careful, but it’s getting mature,” Musk tweeted Friday. He said Saturday that Tesla would add a “download beta” button to Tesla displays in the coming days “due to high levels of demand.”
Back in October 2020, Tesla first introduced the FSD beta to vehicle owners in its Early Access Program, a group of Tesla owners who test early versions of the Electric Vehicle’s new features before a wider release to the fleet. The software update was perceived as a big step towards Tesla’s longtime promise of making its vehicles “full self-driving” through over-the-air software updates.
At the time, Musk said the company was handling the software update “very cautiously.” Tesla drivers are still expected to stay attentive and keep their hands on the steering wheel ready to assume control at any time. Tesla uses the data from the FSD beta to improve performance, and last month, according to Electrek, Musk said there were about 1,000 vehicles in the beta testing phase.
Musk noted that in Tesla’s case, the term “beta is used to reduce complacency in usage and set expectations appropriately. All software is first tested by Tesla simulation and QA drive teams.”
He added that the availability of the FSD beta will be different for different regions, due to what he called regulatory approval delays and Tesla’s own internal development and testing. Tesla’s director of AI, Andrej Karpathy, tweeted Saturday that Tesla owners interested in participating in the beta should email [email protected], which according to him, the company is using to coordinate the program.