Kimbal Musk Predicts when Driving will be Fully Autonomous
Kimbal Musk, stepping out from the shadow of his famous brother, Elon Musk, Tesla's CEO, is the focus of a series of interviews on the YouTube channel Graham Bensinger. The video showcases Full Self Driving technology in action, with Musk engaging FSD on his Model S to navigate autonomously to their location. This demonstration, particularly striking to Bensinger, who appears unaware of Tesla's advancements, really illustrates the potential of FSD and how many people don’t understand it.
The Road to Full Autonomy: Challenges and Breakthroughs
However, Musk is candid about the challenges ahead, particularly the regulatory hurdles that Tesla must overcome. He predicts that full autonomy could be achievable within five years, contingent upon navigating the intricate landscape of government regulations and ensuring the technology meets rigorous safety standards.
During the interview, Musk parallels the seismic shift from gas cars to Teslas, like the Blackberry to the iPhone. The host seems unaware of many of Tesla’s features, including asking about the “custom” steering wheel. It is a yoke steering wheel which Musk explains is not merely a design novelty but a strategic step towards the future of autonomous driving. Musk envisions a scenario where traditional steering mechanisms become obsolete, making way for vehicles that drive themselves with minimal human intervention. Drawing an analogy between the shift from Blackberry to iPhone, Musk captures the essence of technological evolution, where radical changes often become the new normal.
The Future of the Automotive Industry: Tesla's Impact
Tesla's journey from the Model S launch to the most recent Cybertruck unveiling encapsulates a decade of unparalleled innovation. Musk highlights the Model S as a hallmark of Tesla's achievements, emphasizing its role not just as an electric vehicle but as a symbol of luxury, performance, and sustainability. His preference for the Model S stems from its spaciousness and pioneering status, which he likens to the revolutionary impact of the Model T Ford.
As interesting as Kimbal Musk's comments were, the short video's most striking element is the lack of awareness the host has about FSD and Tesla. The host is not alone. If you have FSD, you’ve likely seen the same surprised expressions when your car starts navigating independently. It serves as another reminder that Tesla most make the public more aware of the technology and counter the negative attention given to FSD through mainstream media.
Tesla may soon support a monthly FSD subscription and the Premium Connectivity annual plan for Canadian customers. The possible move was discussed on X as Tesla’s Vice President of Public Policy and Business Development, Rohan Patel, responded to inquiries.
FSD Beta Subscription in Canada
The potential introduction of the FSD beta subscription in Canada represents a notable evolution in Tesla’s FSD pricing. The monthly subscription is available in the U.S. for $200 USD per month, this service allows Tesla owners to access the company’s suite of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). Considering currency exchange rates, this could translate to around $270 CAD monthly for Canadian consumers. This pricing strategy aims to make Tesla’s ADAS features more accessible, offering flexibility to subscribe or unsubscribe based on individual needs and circumstances, such as seasonal driving preferences. Currently, Canadian customers only have the option to buy FSD in full at $16,000 CAD.
While a subscription service for FSD Beta may allow more drivers to try out the technology, it will also assist Tesla in gathering more information and improving the system faster. The more miles clocked by FSD, the more the system learns.
Miles driven on FSD
Premium Connectivity Annual Plan
Alongside the FSD beta, Tesla is exploring the possibility of offering an annual subscription model for its Premium Connectivity service in Canada. Tesla started offering an annual subscription for Premium Connectivity in the US back in 2022 at $99.99, representing a 20% savings. Premium connectivity offers drivers additional features such as Live Traffic Visualization, Satellite-View Maps, and streaming services such as Netflix, Spotify and YouTube. The anticipated price for Canadian subscribers is set to be around $139.99 annually, offering a savings opportunity compared to the current monthly subscription rate of $13.99 CAD.
Patel's engagement on X highlights Tesla's proactive approach to addressing potential legal and regulatory barriers that might impede the introduction of these services in Canada. He committed to investigating these issues, underscoring Tesla's dedication to its Canadian customer base.
Strategic Investments and Enthusiastic Community
Tesla's plans for Canada go beyond just offering new subscription services. The company has made significant investments in manufacturing, engineering, and supply chain operations in the country.
Tesla's FSD Beta version 12.2.1, update 2023.44.30.20, recently started going out to some owners, which resulted in more videos posted on X. There are several examples of amazing technology at work, but also evidence that more work is needed.
Ashok Elluswamy, Tesla's Director of Autopilot Software, recently highlighted the sophistication of FSD Beta v12 on X, emphasizing how the system's end-to-end approach is tackling complex driving scenarios with remarkable ease. His response came to a video of FSD maneuvering around a large puddle.
This is the sort of driving that's really hard to code explicitly, but our end-to-end approach brings in almost effortlessly. https://t.co/gw4vipu9iY
One of the standout features of FSD Beta v12 is its ability to execute U-turns seamlessly when required by the route. This is where real-world examples show the good and the bad of this highly advanced maneuver come into play. X user AI DRIVR, an account posting several high-quality videos of V12.2.1 in action, demonstrates a flawless U-turn.
Unfortunately, not all U-turns posted on X are as pretty; Randolph Kim has been experimenting with several scenarios. While later videos showed better behavior with u-turns and roundabouts, the earlier attempts had to be disengaged.
FSD Beta v12.2.1 attempts U-turns at signalized intersections. So, I wanted to see how far I could push it. Looking for U-turns in LA, maps showed a U-turn at a left turn pocket on a smaller 4-lane mixed-use road. Car overshot the U-turn and had to disengage due to oncoming car. pic.twitter.com/hCfQYFh4ue
During our first glimpse of FSD v12 during Musk’s livestream, we noticed a new behavior when the vehicle reached its destination. Instead of just stopping, the vehicle now pulled over to the side of the road. However, it looks like the newest release goes one step further.
In a video by ArthurFromX, the vehicle is navigating to a parking lot. Not only does the vehicle successfully navigate to the parking lot, but it hunts around for a spot and then successfully parks without any additional instructions.
Tesla appears to have reintroduced the Snapshot button in this update, at least to some owners. The snapshot button allows drivers to send additional information to Tesla regarding Autopilot's performance. This feature and the existing voice command feedback option provide Tesla with invaluable data to improve the FSD system further.
Automatic Speed Offset
Another noteworthy addition is the Automatic Set Speed Offset feature, which grants the vehicle autonomy to adjust its speed based on factors such as road type, traffic flow, and environmental conditions. The video below shows this feature in action. The feature is turned off by default and it currently only applies to street-level roads, but it’s a shift toward more human-like behavior for FSD Beta.
Recently, Tesla revised the Autopilot activation method to avoid confusion and offered drivers two choices — a single pull of the stalk to enable FSD Beta or the traditional two taps. However, with FSD Beta v12, drivers are now required to use the single pull method to activate Autopilot.
Traffic-Aware Cruise Control (TACC) has traditionally been one pull of the stalk and Autopilot two pulls, but with the new single-pull method to activate Autopilot, TACC becomes unavailable. This hasn’t been a big deal until the release of FSD v12. With v12 Tesla is now requiring FSD Beta to use the single tap activation method.
This means that if a driver chooses to use FSD Beta, then TACC is no longer accessible. The only way to enable it is to go into Controls > Autopilot and turn off FSD Beta and instead choose Autosteer (or TACC). However, if you wish to enable FSD Beta again later, then it requires the vehicle to be in Park. Switching between Autosteer and FSD Beta isn’t practical for drivers. For those who rely on TACC, this issue could be a significant disadvantage in this release.
Several drivers have praised FSD Beta v12’s ability to navigate complex situations, better decision-making, and smoother behavior. However, as with any cutting-edge technology, there have been instances where the system's responses have room for improvement, highlighting the importance of its continued development.
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