There has been a lot of controversy around Tesla (TSLA)’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) software—mainly over whether the software can truly drive a car like its name suggests or is merely a driver assist program. Tesla has been evasive about it for nearly three years, including the word “beta” in each version of FSD. But the first official FSD is just around the corner, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk just took it to a drive.
On Friday (Aug. 25), Musk got into a Tesla with a coworker at Tesla’s engineering headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., and set off on a road trip to test the not-yet-public FSD v12, which Musk has said will be the first FSD version out of beta. As promised, Musk live-streamed his entire ride on X, formerly Twitter. The 45-minute video received more than 11 million views over the weekend.
The main update with the v12 FSD is that the software’s autonomous driving capabilities will be enabled entirely by neural networks instead of pre-programmed by engineers.
In the video, Musk demonstrated how the FSD-engaged Tesla successfully navigated through a construction zone, several stop signs and a roundabout—a situation that has caused problems in previous FSD versions.
“It can read signs without ever being taught to read. There’s no line of code that says ‘stop at a stop sign or wait for another car,'” Musk said from behind the wheel.
However, the test wasn’t completely flawless. Early in the drive, the car was seen driving in the wrong lane, and later at a crossroad, it tried to run a red light after detecting a green light that was for another lane. Musk promptly disengaged the system before the car drove through.
As Musk drove around Palo Alto, he also didn’t forget about his on-again, off-again cage fight with Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whose home is nearby.
“Maybe we’ll run into Zuckerberg and challenge him to a fight. That will be fun. To spice it up,” Musk half-jokingly said to his co-rider, who appeared to be Ashok Elluswamy, Tesla’s director of autopilot software.
Musk recently asked Zuckerberg for a practice fight in his backyard, which Zuckerberg declined. “If Elon ever gets serious about a real date and official event, he knows how to reach me,” the Meta (META) CEO posted on Threads earlier this month.
Musk said FSD v12 won’t be available to the public until at least 2024. It’s hard to say how many more beta versions Tesla will release before v12. The most current version is v11.4, and Tesla could use any number of decimals before reaching v12.
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Read the original story Elon Musk Tests the First Non-Beta Tesla FSD—And It's Far From Perfect and others by Sissi Cao at Observer.