The move is part of a push to give the technology more exposure

Graham Hope

March 26, 2024

2 Min Read
Tesla Model 3 compact full electric car interior with a large touch screen on the dashboard on display at Brussels Expo in 2020.
Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

All new compatible Teslas bought in the United States will now come with free access to Full Self Driving.

CEO Elon Musk confirmed on X: “All U.S. cars that are capable of FSD will be enabled for a one-month trial this week.”

Tesla’s FSD-capable vehicles presently are the Model S, Model X and Model Y. The Cybertruck and revised Model 3 cannot run the software. The trial also extends to current owners who have not activated it on their vehicles.

The dramatic move is part of a push to give the tech more exposure, and was underlined in a leaked internal email, in which Musk instructed employees: “Going forward, it is mandatory in North America to install and activate FSD V12.3.1 and take customers on a short test ride before handing over the car.

“Almost no one actually realizes how well (supervised) FSD actually works. I know this will slow down the delivery process, but it is nonetheless a hard requirement.”

Full Self Driving is the company’s Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) tech, which provides Level 2-rated automation, as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers.

What this means is that the steering, braking and acceleration can all be automated, but the driver needs to be paying attention. As the Tesla website warns owners: “It is your responsibility to stay alert, drive safely and be in control of your vehicle at all times.” 

Related:California Passes Bill Targeting Tesla’s 'Full Self Driving' Feature

This seeming contradiction between the tech’s name and its actual functionality has proven controversial, upsetting many in authority who believe it has been deceptively marketed.

Nevertheless, despite this – and several investigations from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration into the tech – Tesla has continued to push FSD, which is available for a subscription of $199 a month, or $12,000 as a one-off fee.

However, it is unclear what the take-up rate is, as Tesla has never confirmed this officially. Some industry insiders speculate that it could be in the region of 20%.

This latest move, then, is an obvious effort by the company to get more people on board, particularly given that it recently released FSD V12 Beta, which has been touted as a major step forward.

It features what Elon Musk has referred to as “end to end neural nets” – essentially an acknowledgement that this iteration is more reliant on AI than previous versions.

How Tesla’s latest initiative is received will be eagerly observed by the auto industry, given Musk has a long history of making ambitious claims about FSD which have failed to materialize or spark the interest of the general public at large.

Related:NHTSA Turns up the Heat on Tesla Autopilot Probe

About the Author(s)

Graham Hope

Graham Hope has worked in automotive journalism in the U.K. for 26 years, including spells as editor of leading consumer news website and weekly Auto Express and respected buying guide CarBuyer.

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