Tesla ‘Full Self-Driving’ software testing in Australia – report
The most advanced – and most controversial – iteration of Tesla’s semi-autonomous driving software is currently being tested in Australia, according to a report.
Tesla is quietly testing its so-called ‘Full Self-Driving‘ semi-autonomous driving software on Australian roads, a new report has revealed.
According to Teslascope – a service that tracks Tesla software updates and vehicle changes – the US electric-car giant has hired staff for, and is “actively testing” Full Self-Driving (FSD) technology on local roads.
It comes after Teslascope last week found a beta version of FSD – included in a software update known as 2023.12.10 – had been installed on two Tesla vehicles in Australia.
Despite the developments, it is unclear how far away Full Self-Driving is from a full roll-out to Australian customers, who have already paid up to $10,100 for the system with the promise it will one day be enabled through a downloadable software update.
However reports the technology is being tested in Australia suggests a public launch is gathering pace.
Company CEO Elon Musk said last year Full Self-Driving could be introduced on right-hand-drive Tesla cars in certain markets “probably later this year,” however the company has missed this target.
Teslascope reports Full Self-Driving has been in testing in overseas markets for up to 18 months, including the right-hand-drive UK and New Zealand since sometime last year, as well as Germany, Norway, China and other countries.
Full Self-Driving has to date been exclusive to the US and Canada, and only in a ‘beta’ phase since October 2020 – in which time it has been installed on more than 400,000 cars.
It has come under scrutiny from US regulators after a series of high-profile crashes and near misses attributed to the system, triggering a US government recall earlier this year to fix aspects of the system that may break road rules or drive in an unsafe manner.
In the US, the version (2023.12.10) of the software spotted on two Australian vehicles makes the Full Self-Driving Beta available to all Tesla owners who have purchased the software, after the rollout was paused while Tesla introduced updated software to address the recall.
Owners who had purchased and joined the FSD Beta trial prior to the pause could still use the software – but users who had purchased FSD during the pause were unable to begin using the software until the 2023.12.10 software rolled out last week.
As previously reported, Full Self-Driving is Tesla’s most advanced autonomous software, and is claimed to be capable of detecting and stopping for traffic signs and lights in cities, which can enable partial semi-automated driving in urban areas.
It is in addition to the basic Autopilot system, which offers adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assistance similar to ‘Level 2’ assisted driving technology from other car makers.
It also builds on Enhanced Autopilot – a $5100 option in Australia – which can conduct automatic lane changes, navigate freeway on-ramps and off-ramps, and park automatically.
Tesla’s Autopilot and Full Self-Driving software systems have been attributed to a slew of high-profile fatal crashes and near-miss incidents since their introduction in 2014 (Autopilot) and 2020 (FSD).
Since 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the US has opened more than 30 investigations into collisions involving Tesla vehicles that were believed to have been using one of the company’s assisted driving systems, attributed to more than 20 fatalities.
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