Over the weekend Tesla started pushing the Full Self-Driving Beta 10.11 update to employees, which includes several key improvements for the semi-autonomous driving system. This new version of the software could potentially roll out to drivers with safety scores of 95 and above if no substantial errors were to be found, Elon Musk suggested via Twitter.
Among the highlights of the new 10.11 release version are more accurate predictions of where vehicles are turning or merging and an improved right-of-way understanding if the map is inaccurate or the car cannot follow the navigation, as well as improved smoothness through turns.
Tesla’s approach to testing their autonomous driving system on real world streets using their own customers instead of trained drivers has drawn a lot of criticism over the last few months, but also a lot of praise from users who have been eager to test these features after purchasing a Full Self-Driving package at a high price.
Lowering the threshold for access to allow drivers with safety scores of 95 will undoubtedly result in a wider range of Tesla users joining the FSD Beta program, some of which have been complaining about the challenges arising from the use of the safety score system, particularly the real life impracticability of obtaining top score ratings.
In the beginning of their more public rollout phase Tesla offered the FSD Beta to drivers who had a score of 100, and over time it lowered this threshold to take in customers with scores as low as 97. According to a previous statement made by Elon Musk, Tesla will continue to decrease the score required to have access to the beta software over time.
This decision to widen the test pool for the FSD Beta seems also very timely given the recent removal by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of the requirement for manual controls in fully autonomous vehicles, in what seems to be a very exciting development in the landscape for the fully autonomous vehicles industry.
The agency has stated that "for vehicles designed to be solely operated by an automated driving system (ADS), manually operated driving controls are logically unnecessary," in response to a request from General Motors.
According to the latest data available, there are around 60,000 customers enrolled in the FSD Beta program in the US alone, while Canadian owners just started to receive access to the driver safety score about a week ago. Tesla is expected to begin the release to Canadian drivers with top scores soon.
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Tesla introduced a wrap-around ambient lighting strip to its new Model 3
If you look up ambient lights for Tesla, you'll see several ads for third-party light kits. Perhaps this is why Tesla added its own Ambient Lights feature to the new Model 3. So, let's get enlightened.
Tesla's ambient lights are thin light strips that are embedded in each of the vehicle's doors near the top edge. It also curves around the dashboard near the windshield, giving passengers a near 360-degree light effect.
Tesla new ambient light feature is available on the new Model 3 (2024+), and will be available on the Cybertruck in a similar manner. With a refresh ongoing for the Model Y, known as Juniper, it will likely also have ambient lights. That just leaves out the most luxurious flagship vehicles, the Model S and X, for now.
The Model S and Model X could be due for a minor refresh that would not only add ambient lighting, but also include a front-bumper camera that the Cybertruck has and the new Model 3 is expected to have in the near future.
Tesla introduced a wrap-around ambient lighting strip to its new Model 3
The ambient light settings allow you to light up the interior in a color that reflects your mood or preference. Under Controls > Lights > Accent Lights, you are handed the freedom to choose virtually any color to adorn the interior of your Tesla.
You have control over whether the ambient lights are on, off, or set to an "Auto" setting, though not fully clarified, seems to promise intelligent lighting adjustments akin to our control over dome lights, offering a reduction in reflections during drives.
While the ability to control the brightness level seems missing, Tesla did include color presets, letting you curate a series of your favorite colors.
It should be noted that the changes are confined to the light strips on the doors and dash, steering clear of the footwell lights and other interior lighting.
With Tesla, we can be assured there will be enhancements to this feature in a future update. In fact, the Tesla community is already busy coming up with useful suggestions. Some owners thought Tesla should take advantage of the lighting to provide driver feedback, such as automatically changing the ambient lighting to a red hue when there's a vehicle in your blind spot. Tesla could also glow the light strip on a door if it's not closed properly, or use the lighting to provide feedback when Sentry Mode is enabled.
Other uses could be more fun, such as cycling the light through various colors when the 'Rainbow Road' easter egg is activated.
Ambient Lighting in Action
While the possibilities are endless and Tesla engineers will surely have fun coming up with creative uses for the feature, the biggest improvement we can hope for in the near future is the ability to adjust the light intensity.
Tesla's new Model 3 received a host of exterior and interior upgrades
Tesla outdid itself with the refreshed Model 3, known as the Highland. Despite all the fantastic upgrades, something is missing - the Performance version or perhaps the Plaid. The letter "T" has shown up on vehicle certificates in Europe, and despite Elon Musk's sense of humor, it is unlikely this is a Mr. T reference.
Deciphering the 'T'
A new document shows the new Model 3 Performance will have a dual motor
eivissacopter / X
Diligent scrutiny of the European Type Certificate, issued by the Dutch vehicle authority RDW and shared on the TFF Forum, revealed a subtle yet pivotal alteration — including the letter 'T' in the eighth digit of the Model 3 Performance's VIN.
This seemingly minor detail, indicative of the vehicle's motor/drive unit type, sparked curiosity and speculation on the forum. Could it be a tri-motor setup to usher in a new Plaid version of the Model 3? This vehicle has already got endless amounts of zip, but three motors? May The Schwartz Be With You!
This could also explain the Model 3+ badging that was spotted during the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) in China inspection of the refresh. However, the regulatory filings highlighted just two distinct variants of the car: a rear-wheel drive (RWD) with a 194 kW motor and an all-wheel drive (AWD) dual-motor setup that combines to deliver a formidable 331 kW of maximum power.
Initial conjectures leaned towards the possibility of a tri-motor setup, drawing parallels with the Plaid variants of the Model S and Model X. However, a deeper dive into the certification document clarified that the Model 3 Performance retained its Dual Motor setup, dispelling the possibility of a tri-motor upgrade.
Strategic Enhancements: A Glimpse into Potential Upgrades
Given the documented specifications, it becomes plausible that Tesla has strategically enhanced one of the dual motors, potentially aligning it with the advanced motor found in the Model S/X Plaid. This modification is poised to augment the top-end speed and acceleration of the Model 3 Performance, addressing its comparative limitations in extended races against traditional gas-powered supercars.
Meanwhile, the Model 3 refresh has become the new Bigfoot of the roads of North America, with rare sightings posted on social media. However, it appears the continent is excluded from the initial launch of the Model 3 Highland. Internal communications within Tesla suggest North American enthusiasts might have to exercise patience until 2024.
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