In a Tweet, Elon Musk admitted that Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) Beta 9.2 “isn’t that great” and said Tesla’s developers are working hard on a fix for issues with FSD’s current beta version. He hinted that part of the issue may be with components of FSD’s AI, which needs to be reworked to treat highways and city streets as a single stack.
Tesla urges users of its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving driver assist programs to stay alert at all times, especially if they are using the beta to help Tesla test new features and train its AI. FSD and Autopilot have both made mistakes, including sparking an NHTSA investigation by failing to recognize emergency vehicles, which caused a few crashes. Tesla claims to have plugged that hole by making Tesla vehicles’ onboard camera systems capable of recognizing emergency vehicles with lights activated since the crashes occurred.
Tesla recently spun up another supercomputer that is designed for machine learning and AI programs like the ones used for its driver assist software and still plans to have the even more capable “Dojo” supercomputer up and running by the end of the year. These supercomputers will help train the AI to recognize hazards on the road.
At Tesla’s recent AI Day, Elon Musk also said that elements from the Tesla AI could also be used for its newly revealed robot, the Tesla Bot. He does say to not worry about a Tesla Bot possibly going haywire, though. He says that it will only be able to move at five miles per hour and can be easily overpowered if needed.
Overall, though, Tesla’s development of fully autonomous self-driving vehicles does not seem to be going as smoothly as Elon Musk may have liked. In 2016, Musk anticipated that Tesla could have it by 2018. Then he envisioned a fleet of self-driving “RoboTaxis” by 2020. Now Tesla is likely to miss Musk’s goal of having fully autonomous vehicles by the end of the year.
“Tesla is at Level 2 currently. … Tesla couldn’t say if the rate of improvement would make it to L5 by end of calendar year,” said an internal memo that the media was able to obtain from the California State DMV, referring to a five-level scale of driver assist programs that is based on levels of autonomy. Level 5 would require the capacity to manage most driving tasks and require user input only once every million miles at most. The DMV had communicated with Tesla engineers as part of an apparent investigation into whether Tesla and Musk overstate the capabilities of its driver assist programs.
Musk did mention that he tried FSD Beta 9.3 during a recent drive from Pasadena to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and it seemed to be “much improved,” even for a complicated driving situation like the area around a major airport.
Although Musk anticipates that FSD Beta 9.3 will be able to plug some of the holes in Beta 9.2, he says Version 10 will include significant changes to the software’s architecture. Some users did complain about having to buy new hardware in order to access the upgraded FSD.