This morning, Tesla CEO (Chief Engineering Officer) Elon Musk tweeted that a limited release of Tesla’s “Full Self Driving” (FSD) software would roll out next Tuesday, October 20. In response, one commenter on our article noted, “Yeah, there’s no reason to buy FSD now. I think we’ll see a bunch of videos coming out soon to give us a good idea of the progress and people can make the most informed [Autopilot] upgrade decision probably in history this winter before the price changes again.” That comment gave me the idea to write a piece on the various things that I think will happen after Tesla implements this next update.
Limited FSD beta releasing on Tuesday next week, as promised. This will, at first, be limited to a small number of people who are expert & careful drivers.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 12, 2020
Before I go on, though, these predictions concern things that I think will happen after the wider public release of the new software, not the limited beta release. I expected the broad release across the US fleet to occur a few weeks later, or one or two weeks later at the earliest.
Also, if you are unaware of the nature of this update, see some of the backstory here: 10 Tesla Autopilot, Full Self Driving, & Dojo Development Updates From Elon Musk. And if you want to learn more about the Tesla Autopilot team and the work behind this software, see this CleanTechnica exclusive: Tesla Autopilot Innovation Comes From Team Of ~300 Jedi Engineers — Interview With Elon Musk.
What Will Happen After Tesla Releases Next Autopilot/FSD Software Update?
1. Social media will be flooded with Tesla owners posting videos of what their cars can now do. (I will almost certainly do so.)
2. Consumer interest in Tesla will jump upward again, and interest in the FSD package will also jump — among potential owners and current owners.
3. Tesla will raise the price of the FSD software package.
4. Eagle-eyed critics will identify a few gaps where Autopilot still struggles, identifying remaining technical barriers to fully self-driving Tesla robotaxis.
5. Major media sites will write articles or publish videos about a tiny percentage of Tesla owners doing crazy and potentially dangerous things with FSD on. (There will always be idiots, and idiots will always excel at getting the news media to cover them.)
6. Some critics will claim that Tesla “Full Self Driving” is misleading and lobby to get the terminology changed or the technology banned altogether.
7. I and many others will start taking some trips around town in which we supervise our cars driving themselves 100% of the time, not having to interfere with the driving once, and thus blowing our minds. (I never thought I’d see such a day before Tesla came along.)
8. Financial analysts and investors will start legitimately rolling higher software revenues and profits into their models for Tesla [TS:A]. They will also start including potential robotaxi revenue in their models.
9. Elon Musk will tweet out that we ain’t seen nothing yet and the bleeding-edge version of the tech that he’s driving will really blow our minds.
10. Tesla software will learn a great deal more from the consumer fleet on how to drive better and Tesla will roll out updates in the following weeks and months that smoothen out the FSD experience further.