Musk Shares Details on FSD Beta v11: Neural Nets to Be Used for Vehicle Control

By Nuno Cristovao
Elon Musk says we may get FSD Beta v11.3 as early as this week
Elon Musk says we may get FSD Beta v11.3 as early as this week
Not a Tesla App

Elon Musk has provided further guidance on Tesla's next major release of FSD Beta, v11.3. Last week Musk said that v11.3 would be ready in about 'two weeks' and would contain many major improvements.

We've heard these two-week estimates before, but it's reassuring that Musk is being specific with details on this upcoming release.

Now just seven days after his last tweet, Elon Musk is giving us more details on this significant upgrade.

Timeline

Musk said he expects FSD Beta v11.3 to start rolling out to some customers later this week, or next week at the latest. This matches up with his initial two weeks estimate a week ago.

Elon Musk's estimates are known to be overly optimistic, but given the number of details he's releasing, it sounds like Tesla may be close to releasing this next build.

FSD Beta v11.3 will likely roll out to Tesla employees first and then go out to select FSD Beta testers, possibly the original OG group. Since this is a major milestone and includes major improvements, expect a slow and gradual rollout. Although we may get our first glimpse into FSD Beta v11 this week, it may be several weeks or more before the majority of customers have access to this beta.

Neural Nets for Vehicle Behavior

A week ago Musk said this upgrade will include 'many major improvements.' Last night Musk revealed some additional details. He said there will be "many small things," one of which will be that Tesla will begin to use neural nets for vehicle navigation and control, instead of just vision.

Today Tesla uses neural networks to determine the vehicle's surroundings, where objects are, what they are, and their distances from the vehicle to create a 3D environment known as 'vector space.' With this information, the vehicle can then plan a path and navigate around these objects toward its destination.

However, based on Musk's comment, it sounds like Tesla is currently only using neural nets to determine its environment and not for controlling the vehicle. This means that how the vehicle behaves, how it finds a path, and how it moves is still a process that is coded traditionally.

In the same way that Tesla uses millions of images to determine what a stop sign or traffic cone is, it sounds like Tesla will now use a large number of examples to determine how to best control the vehicle in various situations.

That could mean that Tesla will take millions of quality examples of how to gradually accelerate or slow down, based on real driving behavior to determine how the vehicle should accelerate in different situations.

This could be applied to every driving characteristic such as turning, slow downing, driving around a parked vehicle, etc.

If Tesla starts leveraging neural nets to aid vehicle control we may soon see drastic improvements to vehicle behavior, making it much smoother and human-like.

New Features

Although Elon Musk didn't specifically mention new features coming to FSD Beta v11.3, there are several that have been talked about in the past that could show up in this major full self-driving update.

Reverse Creep

Reverse Creep has been a feature that has been talked about as far back as FSD Beta 10.13. This feature would allow the vehicle to go into reverse to move out of the way of danger or adjust its trajectory. Right now FSD Beta will only ever move forward, so this improvement would be a giant step toward achieving human-like behavior.

A good use case for this is when the vehicle moves forward for better visibility. There may be times when the vehicle sees a car coming after moving creeping forward. In these cases, it'd be smart to let the vehicle reverse back to its previous position if it is now in the path of traffic.

Navigating Without Map Data & GPS

In the past Musk also alluded to the fact that Tesla is working on the neural networks' ability to complete 'dead reckoning' navigation, which is navigating based only on inertial measurements such as speed, direction and wheel movement.

He gave underground parking garages as an example of where FSD would need the ability to navigate without GPS or map data.

The car will be able to do this by using its last known GPS location and then determine its future location using only a compass, wheel movement and speed.

FSD Beta v11

FSD Beta v11 has always been expected to be a big leap forward, and as we get closer, that hasn't changed. This update is expected to be a huge improvement to what is currently available to customers. Although Musk's timelines have usually shifted and features have typically taken longer than initially planned, it looks like we may be getting close to the next major release for FSD Beta.

Although we're still years away from true full self-driving, Tesla's mission inches closer with every update. 

Recently there was also a leak revealing some details of Tesla's upcoming cameras in hardware 4.0, which are expected to include a fan and heater for select cameras.

Tesla's Supercharger Team Shakeup: Firings, Rehiring, and Future Prospects

By Karan Singh

Tesla recently fired the entire Supercharger team, including Tesla’s head of charging – Rebecca Tinucci, after she pushed back on the extreme layoffs that took place right before the cut.

The Supercharger team consisted of over 500 employees, at least after the initial layoffs. In the following days and weeks, Tesla began to rehire some of the employees that it had fired.

Some Damage Done

In the immediate aftermath of the firing of the Supercharger team, contractors and site planners were left bewildered, with no contact from the Supercharger team that was responsible for payment, planning, and decision-making.

As this has played out, new Supercharger deployments have been reduced – stations that were already being built are being completed, but no new announcements have been made since t

It was dire news at the time - but it isn’t all bad.

Returning Employees

Now, more and more of the employees that were fired are beginning to return to Tesla, some of whom are announcing that they were asked to return to Tesla in their previous capacities.

George Bahadue, Senior Manager of Site Acquisition and Business Development commented on LinkedIn:

“Two weeks ago, I was asked to return to Tesla in my previous capacity heading up the business development and site acquisition for Tesla charging – I accepted.”

His reasoning to accept the position was a quote from Rebecca Tinucci:

“You work at Tesla because you hope to have at least a small impact on our collective future – aspirationally, to leave the world better for our children and grandchildren and their children and grandchildren – by accelerating the transition to sustainable energy. And that mission is too important to allow any distractions.”

New Stations Could be Coming Soon

With the restaffing of the Supercharger team, especially with the return of George Bahadue, we can expect that new Supercharger sites may be announced in the coming weeks, as the ripple effect from the layoffs begins to settle.

The rehiring of experienced staff suggests that Tesla and Elon Musk are still committed to the vision of maintaining and expanding its Supercharger network – the largest and most reliable charging network in North America, which is crucial for the mission to move the world to renewable energy.

Tesla Cuts Model Y Output in China – Economic Slowdown and Anticipated Project Juniper Launch

By Karan Singh

Tesla recently cut Model Y output in China, according to data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), Tesla’s production of the Model Y in China experienced a decline of approximately 18% in March, and 33% in April, versus the same time last year.

Output Cuts

These output cuts can be attributed to Tesla’s recent decision to reduce production of the Model Y at Giga Shanghai by at least 20% from March to June 2024. This was attributed to an unnamed Spokesperson by Reuters last week.

This decision could be multifaceted – the primary reason being an economic slowdown in China as price wars continue to be waged between EV manufacturers, including Tesla. On the flipside, Tesla has continued its production of the updated 2024 Model 3, colloquially referred to as the Highland, with an increase of 10%.

Project Juniper?

The second reason for this slowdown could be the incoming arrival of the Model Y refresh – also known as Project Juniper. Tesla China has already introduced an updated Model Y with a unique cloth dash with similar ambient lighting as the Model 3.

The Model 3 Highland was also introduced in China before its introduction to other markets, including North America and Europe.

Juniper Upgrade Speculation

Not much has been seen about Project Juniper at this time, but we can expect a similar suite of upgrades that match the updated 2024 Model 3 Highland – including a new front fascia design, updated doors and dynamics, steering updates, improved control arms, ambient lighting, new seats, and improved range.

There is a continued expectation that Tesla is pushing back its Model Y refresh – its best-selling vehicle – to make a bigger splash. This could include newer features – like the Cybertruck’s Steer-by-Wire, front camera, or other upgrades and changes – like the lack of stalks on the rest of the Tesla line-up.

Tesla previously confirmed we’re not seeing the Juniper Y this year, this could be the time needed to retool and upgrade lines to prepare for its introduction sometime next year.

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