Tesla Releases FSD v12.4: New Vision Attention Monitoring, Improved Strike System With Update 2024.9.5

By Not a Tesla App Staff
Tesla reduces the need for the steering wheel nag with FSD v12.4
Tesla reduces the need for the steering wheel nag with FSD v12.4
Not a Tesla App

Tesla has just rolled out its latest FSD software, v12.4 to employees. Elon Musk announced that this update would be available to employees this past weekend, with plans to release it to the public in small numbers later this week.

Surprisingly, the new update is version 2024.9.5, which is likely based on the earlier 2024.8 branch and not Tesla's latest 2024.14. The spring update (2024.14) brings various new features such as a new media player, a new parked visualization, Audible support, and a Preview of Sentry Mode events, among others.

However, FSD v12.4 brings its own excitement with two new major changes.

Vision-Based Attention Monitoring

The release notes show a new Vision-Based Attention Monitoring feature that replaces the steering wheel nag as Musk previously mentioned.

However, as we predicted, Tesla will still leverage the steering wheel to detect attentiveness when the cabin camera is inconclusive.

The car can only rely on the vehicle's cabin camera, and therefore remove the steering wheel nag under certain conditions:

  • the camera is not occluded

  • there is sufficient lighting

  • the driver is looking forward

  • the driver is not wearing sunglasses

  • the driver is not wearing a low-brim hat or another object that covers their eyes

If any of these situations occur, or if the vehicle doesn't have a cabin camera, then the vehicle will continue to use the steering wheel to determine driver attention.

Tesla is careful to state that images and video from the cabin camera are not saved or transmitted unless you enable data sharing.

Updated Strike System

With FSD v12.4, Tesla has also updated its Autopilot Suspension feature which is designed to enforce the responsible use of FSD.

The current system lets the driver receive up to five strikes (three strikes for vehicles without a cabin camera) before Autopilot and FSD become unavailable. If that happens, then FSD is unavailable for one week. Strikes are only removed once the driver has accrued five strikes, or when Tesla wipes out strikes for everyone, which happens about twice a year.

The new system is more gracious about removing strikes. The vehicle will continue to issue strikes whenever the driver isn't paying attention, however, now the vehicle will gradually remove strikes for the driver after a certain period of time.

Tesla states that one strike will be removed for each 7-day period the driver goes without receiving a strike. So if FSD gets disabled due to strikes, the driver will still go one week without FSD, although now strikes are removed on an ongoing basis. This new strike system is expected to apply to vehicles with and without a cabin camera.

Other New Features

Other new features are expected in FSD 12.4 as well, which we outlined in our look at Tesla's FSD v12.4 article.

They include a focus on improved driver comfort by reducing the amount of hard braking, automatically seeking a parking spot when arriving at a destination and more. Driver interventions are also expected to be drastically reduced with Musk stating that Tesla expects to see a 5-10x improvement in interventions.

Eligibility

Unfortunately, due to FSD v12.4 being on branch 2024.9, it's expected to only be available to owners on update 2024.8 and below, which includes everyone currently on update 2024.3.25.

If no major issues are found with FSD v12.4, we could see it start to roll out to the public later this week.

Optimus - What We Learned About Tesla's Robotic Future

By Karan Singh
Optimus Gen 2
Optimus Gen 2
Tesla

Optimus was a major point of coverage at the 2024 Tesla Shareholder meeting, and we’ll help break down some of the key points for those interested in Tesla’s future humanoid robots.

What Is It?

Optimus is Tesla’s humanoid robot, built entirely in-house, from the batteries to the motors and actuators in the arms, legs, and hands. Tesla has taken a unique design approach to Optimus and intends to have it replace humans in mundane or risky tasks.

It is a bipedal robot, built around the same aspect as the human body. Optimus was originally unveiled in August 2021 and has since seen several major design iterations. And those aren’t the only ones, Optimus is scheduled to undergo at least one more major design revision this year, as well as one more major design revision for its hands – which will feature 22 degrees of freedom.

In comparison, the human hand has 27 degrees of freedom – Tesla is quite close to replicating the complexity of a hand in its custom-designed hands. Musk mentioned that with the 22 degrees of freedom, Optimus is capable of learning and playing music on a piano – an intricate task that many humans find difficult today.

Best of all, they’ve placed the immense learning prowess of FSD behind its brains – each Optimus unit runs similar hardware and software as Tesla cars . It can also navigate autonomously, using the same object recognition and learning that Tesla’s cars use every day. Optimus learns from watching humans do things or can be taught how to do something by a remote operator. Elon Musk also mentioned that it will eventually be able to watch a video and learn how to do a task.

What Can It Do?

Elon Musk has mentioned that Optimus’ primary goal is to replace humans in certain tasks, especially those that could put a human at risk. This could be anything from being a humanoid companion or caretaker, a construction worker, or even working in factories. Of course, it has a focus on high-precision tasks, owing to its intricately designed hands, and is intended to replace human workers doing everyday precision work that robots today cannot do.

The primary goal is to have Optimus robots begin working in factories, and to this end, two have been deployed to one of Tesla’s factories, and are working on the battery cell assembly lines in a prototype and testing deployment. Today, these two units are moving battery cells off the production line and into shipping containers.

2:1 Robot to Human Ratio

There are some ambitious plans for Optimus – Elon Musk envisions that there will be 2 humanoid robots for every human on the planet in the future. This is alongside an eye-watering build rate of 1 billion humanoid robots a year – of which Tesla intends to build at least 100 million per year or more.

With these numbers, Tesla sees the market cap for Optimus as double that of FSD – approximately $20 trillion, with an expected profit of $1 trillion per year at scale. That’s an expected profit of $10,000 per unit, which will be quite the achievement.

When’s It Coming?

Given the fact that Tesla still has design revisions planned, scale production isn’t starting anytime soon. However, Elon Musk did mention that Tesla currently plans to have approximately 1000 to 2000 Optimus units deployed for internal use in Tesla factories by the end of next year. This limited production run will be the start of Tesla’s larger Optimus deployments and will serve to help them refine the FSD stack that runs Optimus, helping teach it the many tasks it could do in a factory.

Costs

The next big question is what it will cost. Musk has mentioned that it will cost less than a car – with an expected cost of $20,000 USD, once large-scale production kicks off. Just like the Cybertruck, that means initial adopters will be faced with fairly high adoption costs for the initial production runs. Economies of scale will eventually lower the cost as more units are produced.

One of Tesla’s significant challenges will be scaling to reduce these costs. Currently, each unit is hand-built in Tesla’s Optimus labs. Eventually, this will have to scaled up to a proper production line, which will require a factory. Optimus also uses 4680 cells, which means some production of the newer 4680 batteries will be required to produce Optimus.

So perhaps, someday soon, there will be an Optimus knocking on your door, delivering itself to help you take care of your home. Definitely a bright future to look forward to.

A Better Routeplanner 5.0 Launches; Adds EV Charger Ratings Using Rivian Data

By Karan Singh
Not a Tesla App

A Better Routeplanner 5.0 launched yesterday, and there are some pretty awesome features coming to all EV owners courtesy of Rivian. Rivian purchased ABRP last year and has made good on its promises to continue its improvement and ensure it remains open to all EV owners.

Charger Scoring

Rivian recently added a feature that would rate any chargers compatible with Rivian vehicles. The list of chargers includes Rivian Adventure Network (RAN) chargers, Tesla Superchargers and any other compatible third-party chargers. The charger score is automatically calculated based on the station's average top speed and reliability.

With the launch of ABRP 5.0, Rivian is integrating its charger scores directly into the free tier of ABRP so that all EV owners can benefit. ABRP users will now be able to see charger scores, and ABRP will automatically route users to chargers with higher scores if they are available on your route.

Google Automotive

Another cool feature for ABRP is that it will now be available as an app to install and use directly in vehicles that support Google Automotive. Any EV that uses Google Automotive, including Volvo,  Polestar, Ford, and GM will support the in-system experience, which will also provide data for charger scoring and routing.

This will be an excellent way to hold third-party networks accountable, which have commonly suffered from uptime or speed issues.

Tesla’s Implementation

Tesla previously implemented a “Qualified Third-Party Charger” program, that would allow highly-rated third-party chargers that meet a strict set of requirements to be displayed directly in the vehicle. However, this is currently limited to Europe and parts of the Middle East. Within North America, Tesla only displays third-party Tesla destination chargers in addition to Superchargers.

While Tesla doesn’t directly show charger scores, they clearly are tracking charge data, and are providing the cream of the crop of third-party chargers for navigation where the program is available. We’d hope that this implementation of qualified third-party chargers also comes to North America, as NACS is becoming the de facto standard for charging.

If Tesla does expand the display of third-party chargers to other regions, it’ll likely be similar to what we see in Europe today, and won’t be as open as Rivian’s implementation in ABRP.

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