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.
Cybertruck deliveries will start next year, but if you can't wait that long, you may want to head for Night City. Cyberpunk 2077 has teased that the highly anticipated vehicle in the real world may appear in the popular video game. But, if that's not enough, Elon Musk announced another exciting and unique feature for the futuristic-looking truck - it will be waterproof.
Let's start with the floating Cybertruck, which should not be a shock to anyone following the Tesla CEO. He bought the Lotus Esprit that James Bond used to jump off a pier and transform into a submarine in The Spy Who Loved Me. He purchased the movie prop for just under $1 million in 2013 and told USA Today, "I was disappointed to learn that it can't actually transform. What I'm going to do is upgrade it with a Tesla electric powertrain and try to make it transform for real."
In 2016 he tweeted that the Model S "floats well enough to be a boat," but he did not recommend trying it. Now he has claimed the Cybertruck could be used as a boat — briefly. Musk tweeted: Cybertruck will be waterproof enough to serve briefly as a boat, so it can cross rivers, lakes & even seas that aren't too choppy.
Cybertruck may appear in Cyberpunk 2077 game
In a later tweet, he gave some idea of the distance he has in mind: Needs be able to get from Starbase to South Padre Island, which requires crossing the channel.
Twitter user @Erdayastronaut shed some light on why Musk would be singling out that area and distance. The tweet reads: "One of SpaceX's biggest problems is attracting talent to work at Starbase, which is extremely remote. South Padre is an awesome place to live, but it's almost an hour drive to Starbase despite being only 5 miles from Starbase because of the shipping channel." A quick check of Google Maps demonstrates what the user is describing.
South Padre is only five minutes from Starbase if you cross the channel
Musk's tweet also caught the attention of the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. Officials there seem to be a little concerned about the wording. The official account tweeted: Our derelict vessel crews are begging you to understand that anything that "serves briefly as a boat" should not be used as a boat.
CD Projekt RED also noticed Musk's tweet, and the makers of Cyberpunk used the opportunity to show two concepts of the Cybertruck as it would appear in Night City. Musk and Cyberpunk have had an ongoing relationship for a few years. Most recently, he demonstrated the power of the onboard computer's gaming system by playing Cyberpunk in a Tesla. However, CD Projekt RED did not mention if the Cybertruck in Cyberpunk would float.
Cyberpunk 2077 will be playable in the new Model S
Tesla now mentions 'Park Seek' or what we know as reverse summon on its website
Tesla's team of Autopilot engineers is validating significant advancements to Full Self Driving Beta, including parking lot improvements. While Smart Summon and Reverse Summon were not specifically mentioned during the 3.5-hour AI Day 2022 event, parking lots were discussed, and Elon Musk gave a timeline of when enhancements are expected.
Reverse Summon or 'Park Seek' as Tesla appears to be calling it, is the opposite of Smart Summon. Whereas Smart Summon drives to you from a parking spot, users who activate Reverse Summon would have their Tesla drop them off at a location, perhaps closest to the entrance of a mall, and then find a parking spot. This feature was described by Musk on July 1, 2020, when he gave it a two to a four-month timeline.
Ashok Elluswamy, Tesla’s director of the Autopilot program, started the FSD portion of AI Day, saying, “FSD beta software is quite capable of driving the car. It should be able to navigate from parking lot to parking lot, city street driving, stopping for traffic lights and stops signs, negotiating with objects at intersections, making turns and so on.”
Several team members described how FSD has advanced and soon will be an integrated stack, meaning one code base that includes everything the program needs to navigate the car in a parking lot or on a busy highway. Musk is currently using this new stack, “it works quite well for me, but we need to validate it in all kinds of weather, like heavy rain, snow, dust and make sure it is working better than the production stack across a wide range of environments.”
Paril Jain, the Manager of Autopilot Motion Planning, expanded on what else will be included in the integrated stack, “we do expect to also include the parking lot stack as a part of the FSD stack before the end of this year. So, that will basically bring us to you sitting in the car in the parking lot and drive till the end of the parking lot, at a parking spot, before the end of this year.”
It has been previously reported that Reverse Summon would have three different modes to find parking spots that the owner prefers. The methods would include closest to the entrance, nearby a cart return, and the end of the parking lot for those who like to avoid tight spots that cause door dings. Musk said that the integrated stack is on track for release before the end of the year and maybe as early as November.
Tesla has also updated it's website to reflect this news, although no timeframe is given. The Autopilot section of Tesla's site now has a section titled "To your Destination." The description reads "When you arrive at your destination, simply step out at the entrance and your car will enter park seek mode, automatically search for a spot and park itself. A tap on your phone summons it back to you."
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