All Teslas in the US will get a one-month trial of FSD starting this week

Prepare to be amazed because Tesla has announced that every Tesla in the US will get a one-month free trial of FSD later this week.

Tesla is finally introducing its FSD Beta v12 software, which CEO Elon Musk has called “mind-blowing” – a term he has used for many other releases of the software.

The update was highly anticipated, but like many Tesla updates, it was postponed for several months.

FSD Beta v12 features significant back-end improvements to Tesla’s learning algorithm, which now takes advantage of ‘end-to-end neural nets’. This means decision-making can be based on deep learning from Tesla’s vast amount of driving data, rather than having programmers code the logic themselves.

The system currently offers little real functional difference to the way people use their cars, as it is officially a “Level 2” system, where the driver is still responsible for choices while the car is on. So you still have to pay attention to the road, even though Tesla has repeatedly said that at some point in the future the software will be able to operate fully in Level 5 “robotaxi” style (with that future being “next year this time comes,” “already in recent years, according to CEO Musk).

FSD also costs a lot – $12,000 now, although it used to cost $15,000 – so many owners don’t bother buying it. In response to the extremely high price of FSD, Tesla is also offering a subscription model, where you can try out the system for $199/month.

But the take-up rate was relatively low. And so Tesla has occasionally offered limited-time trials of FSD to certain customers. It once offered three months of FSD as a sales incentive at the end of the quarter, and recently it also offered a 30-day trial of Enhanced Autopilot (but not FSD) for the holidays. You can also get three months of free FSD by using the current owner’s referral code when purchasing a vehicle.

But those promotions apparently weren’t enough, and it looks like Tesla won’t stop until everyone has had a chance to try its FSD software.

Earlier today, Musk told Tesla employees to start giving demo drives of FSD to every newly delivered Tesla, something that will likely create a significant backlog during Tesla’s traditional quarter-end delivery rush this week.

And later today, Musk said that starting this week, all owners will get temporary access to FSD for one month.

The idea for this promotion was floated last May, with Musk stating that Tesla would give everyone in North America a free month of FSD once things are “super smooth.”

Apparently the system is now crossing that bar – or, well, maybe not quite, because it appears we’ve reverted to everyone in the US, rather than everyone in North America. Sorry, Canada and Mexico.

Another open question (sort of – we’re betting the answer is no) is whether or not cars with previous hardware revisions will get this update.

Tesla has said that every car since October 2016 has incorporated full self-driving hardware, but it turns out that the hardware at the time didn’t actually have enough computing power to perform FSD tasks and needed to be upgraded. Owners who purchased FSD received a free upgrade to the new hardware, but when the subscription service came out, Tesla began charging owners $1,500 (later reduced to $1,000) for hardware they had already purchased.

So these cars are “capable of FSD”, at least if we can believe Tesla’s blog post from 2016, and given the knowledge the buyers had when they bought the car. However, we assume that Tesla will not offer these owners any hardware upgrades, despite being told that they had all the hardware for FSD when purchasing the car.

Although if you Real it wanted, you could probably sue to get a free upgrade, as one owner successfully did.

Electrek’s Take

We haven’t tried version 12 yet, but we’ve been promised several times that we’d be “baffled” by FSD updates, and unfortunately our minds are still firmly in their respective master boxes.

The system appears to be improving, but improvements have also been made rather gradually over time. Even for those of us who don’t use it that often (I mainly drive a Roadster) and who go a year or two between FSD activations, I haven’t noticed particularly big improvements in the system’s drivability.

What actually did mind-boggling were my rides in Mercedes’ Level 3 DRIVE PILOT system and Waymo’s Level 4 autonomous taxi. These are systems where the car can actually take control of the vehicle under certain circumstances, and so can you Actually don’t have to drive it. As it is now, FSD doesn’t do that, so any improvement is just a better driver aid, and not an actual full self-driving system

Until FSD actually gets closer to its promise of full autonomy – namely making the step from level 2 to level 3, where the car is actually responsible for the driving task under certain circumstances – all these demos and ‘mind-blowing’ updates seem more like something new to me.

And in particular, as I’ve said above in this article and many times before, if Tesla is going to give this upgrade to “all US cars capable of FSD,” it needs to upgrade the computers of the cars it sells. as capable of FSD, and it should do it for free. Those owners bought that hardware, and Tesla should give it to them.

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