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.

Elon to Switch to the Cybertruck; Volume Production in 2024

By Kevin Armstrong
Cybertruck mass production to start in 2024
Cybertruck mass production to start in 2024
Kim Java

Tesla's fourth quarter and 2022 earnings call with investors was mostly good news unless you were planning to drive a Cybertruck soon. While company executives eagerly jumped on every question asked by investors, there was a noticeable pause when a point-blank question was asked about Cybertruck's mid-year production date.

Elon Musk responded "um, we do expect production to start, I don't know, maybe sometime this summer. But I always like to try to downplay the start of production because the start of production is always very slow. It increases exponentially, but it's always very slow at first. So I wouldn't put too much thought in start of production."

Volume Production Next Year

If the millions of people with Cybertruck reservations were in attendance, you might have felt the air leave the room. The previous belief was mass production would start by the end of 2023. There may be some stainless-steel beauties on the road by then, but only a few. "It's kind of when does volume production actually happen, and that's next year," said Musk.

Perhaps sensing some disappointed buyers, Lars Moravy, Tesla's Vice President of Vehicle Engineering added, "(I'd) like just to emphasize on that, we've started installation of all the production equipment here in Giga Texas, castings, general assembly, body shops. We built all our beta vehicles, some more coming still in the next month, but as you said, the ramp will really come 2024."

The Cybertruck Will be Elon's Next Car

Cybertruck was originally announced in 2019 at the memorable event that included the unbreakable armor glass smashing. Musk was wearing the smashed glass Cybertruck t-shirt while taking questions from investors. While the wait continues, he is adamant that it will be worth it, "So it's an incredible product. I can't wait to drive it personally. It will be the car that I drive every day… it's just one of those products that only comes along once in a while, and it's really special."

The original release deadline was set for 2021. However, the production date has been delayed due to unforeseen circumstances, like a global pandemic. Nevertheless, it is a positive sign that beta vehicles have been produced. Images of what appears to be a Cybertruck were leaked a few months ago.

Recently, chief designer Franz von Holzhausen did confirm that the Cybertruck was ready for production, but it's a work in progress. Every Tesla beta product gets thoroughly examined and meticulously reviewed before the next step. But at least it's a step in the right direction.

A Look at Tesla's 2022 Numbers and Record Quarter

By Gabe Rodriguez Morrison
Tesla set new records in production and deliveries while beating analyst expectations.
Tesla set new records in production and deliveries while beating analyst expectations.
Statista

Tesla published their Q4 2022 and full-year financial results, setting new records in production and deliveries while beating analyst expectations. Tesla’s annual profit rose to $12.6 billion in 2022, from $5.5 billion in 2021. Annual revenue rose to $81.5 billion, from $53.8 billion the year prior. Tesla reported fourth-quarter revenue of $24.32 billion beating analysts' $24.07 billion estimate. The automaker also reported earnings per share of $1.19 beating analysts' $1.12 estimate.

Tesla’s stock rose more than 5% in after-hours trading following the earnings release and surged more than 10% the next day.

Tesla's Q4 2022 revenue set a new record for the company, up 59% from a year earlier. In addition to automotive revenue of $21.3 billion, Tesla recognized $324 million of deferred revenue from the company’s driver assistance systems.

FSD Beta Numbers

Tesla reported that 90 million miles have now been driven with FSD Beta, up from 58 million miles in the previous quarter. The company also confirmed that they have about 400,000 FSD Beta users in North America, a sizeable increase since the last report. With such a steep increase in miles driven and FSD Beta becoming widely available in North America, Tesla is making significant progress with its autonomous driving software.

In late 2022 and into this year, Tesla began cutting prices on its cars globally. Elon spoke about how recent price cuts have fueled a surge in demand for Tesla: “Thus far in January we’ve seen the strongest orders year-to-date than ever in our history. We’re currently seeing orders of almost twice the rate of production.” He added: “These price changes really make a difference for the average consumer.” Tesla acknowledges that average sales prices have to decrease over time because affordability is part of Tesla's mission to grow into a company that sells multiple millions of cars annually.

Price cuts will impact profitability, but margins should remain healthy, Tesla CFO Zach Kirkhorn affirmed. Tesla has wider operating margins than the industry average, which allows them to make such price cuts.

Elon issued an uncertain forecast for 2023, saying Tesla planned on 1.8 million vehicles for the year without specifying whether that was a target for production or deliveries. If the company were to deliver 1.8 million vehicles in 2023, that would result in 37% annual growth.

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