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Tesla’s Full Self-Driving strategy is centered around custom hardware that the company has developed and a large neural network that continues to get more proficient as it gains more real-world driving data. The recognition capabilities of Tesla’s neural network was on display in the recently shared FSD demo video, as the Model 3 could be seen reacting appropriately once it encountered objects like stop signs and traffic lights.
The ride chronicled in the recently shared demonstration involved zero manual interventions from the passenger on the driver’s seat. Nevertheless, it should still be noted that operators of Tesla’s autonomous vehicles will still need to be observant of the road even when Full Self-Driving becomes “feature complete” by the end of this year, as mentioned by Elon Musk during an appearance at ARK Invest’s For Your Innovation podcast.
“I think we will be feature complete — full self-driving — this year. I would say I am certain of that. That is not a question mark. However, people sometimes will extrapolate that to mean now it works with 100 percent certainty, requires no observation, perfectly. This is not the case,” he said.
Tesla conducted test drives of its Full Self-Driving features after the presentations of Musk, VP of Hardware Engineering Pete Bannon, Sr. Director of AI Andrej Karpathy, and VP of Engineering Stuart Bowers, though the company reportedly did not allow videos to be taken during the test rides themselves. Fortunately, Axosoft founder Hamid Shojaee described his FSD experience in a series of tweets. Shojaee noted that the demo ride of the fully autonomous drive was really impressive. “Parking lot to city streets, to freeway, to city streets back to parking lot, ~10 mile drive, 100% autonomous. Tesla is light years ahead,” he wrote.
Tesla’s Full Self-Driving suite is a key component of Elon Musk’s Master Plan, which calls for the deployment of the Tesla Network’s autonomous Robotaxis that commuters could summon using an app. This will allow Tesla to become a key player in the ride-sharing market, which is currently dominated by Uber and Lyft. Musk noted that Tesla’s Robotaxis will cost around $0.18 per mile, undercutting Uber and Lyft’s $2-$3 cost per mile. Considering the lifespan of Tesla’s battery packs and drivetrain, the Musk expects each Robotaxi to make a gross profit of $0.65 per mile assuming that 50% were empty miles, and an annual mileage of 90,000 miles, resulting in one vehicle earning about $30,000 per year.
Watch Tesla’s video demonstration of its Full Self-Driving suite in action in the video below.