Elon Musk announces full autonomous driving

The new feature has been awaited for years: here’s what Full Self Driving means and how it works

Joseph Cross

With a short, but very clear, tweet Elon Musk announced a novelty for Tesla cars that has been awaited for years: Full Self Driving (FSD), i.e. complete autonomous driving, is finally available to all those who have paid for it. The new feature is available only in the United States, via a very normal “Over The Air” (OTA) update.

As if they were updating a smartphone, therefore, American testers can now update the car’s software with just a few taps on the touch screen. The download time, the installation time and a few reboots and that’s it: the car now drives itself. Almost…

TESLA FSD

Tesla’s Full Self Driving is the most advanced version of Autopilot, the American brand’s assisted driving system. In Italy, Tesla calls it “autonomous driving at maximum potential” and this definition, to tell the truth, is at the limit (or perhaps already beyond) of what is permitted by law when we talk about assisted driving. To download and install the FSD software, a Tesla electric car must have the Autopilot 2.0 computer or higher and its owner must have paid for the $15,000 option.

If there’s the right hardware, the right computer, then it’s just a matter of money and everyone can “subscribe” to autonomous driving. In fact, Full Self Driving is a function available on subscription: Tesla charges it up to $199 a month, with the possibility of withdrawing from the subscription by losing the additional functions brought by the new software.

WHAT CHANGES WITH FSD

With the official release of the FSD, American Teslas can now have three degrees of automation: Autopilot, Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self Driving. The first is essentially a Level 2 ADAS system, the second includes specific functions for driving on fast roads and the third offers reading of road signs and city traffic.

  • Traffic-Aware Cruise Control
  • Auto steering (no lane skipping)

Enhanced Autopilot adds:

  • Navigate on Autopilot to enter and exit highways, via ramps
  • Automatic lane change
  • Automatic parking
  • Summon (car enters and exits confined spaces by itself)
  • Smart Summon (the car maneuvers and circulates alone inside the parking lots)

Full Self Driving adds:

  • Traffic control and stop signs
  • Autonomous circulation in urban centres

WHEN IT ARRIVES IN EUROPE

The arrival of the FSD was announced by Elon Musk, but only for the United States. No news at the moment on when autonomous driving “to its fullest potential” can also arrive in other markets. What is certain, however, is that it will be a long time before European Tesla owners can download and use the new feature.

In fact, EU legislation on road safety always and in any case depends on the type-approval of integrated systems on cars. It is unlikely that the European Commission will accept that cars become “autonomous” with a simple touch on a screen.



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Elon Musk announces full autonomous driving


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