With version 11 of the software, Tesla rewrote the code and unified the city driving stack (FSD) and the highway stack (Autopilot), taking things to a new level. FSD Beta testers noticed a marked improvement in how the software drives, with a more assertive, human-like behavior and fewer disengagements. These events prompt the driver to intervene, either because the FSD software made a mistake or couldn't handle a particular situation.
From the outside, it became clear that the development had accelerated in the past months, especially after Tesla issued the FSD Beta recall in February. Things were looking so good that in March, Elon Musk said it only needed "one more round of refinement" before becoming production-ready. This caused many speculations, with the optimists waiting for the next point release to deliver on this promise, while realists expected this to come with the next major version, V12. Since then, we've got V11.3.4, V11.3.5, and V11.3.6, and several V11.4 builds, which means the latter crowd won.
Tesla FSD V12 drops the Beta labelFSD Beta V11.4 branch was a significant release, despite its number suggesting otherwise. Musk explained that this software version has so many new things that it should've been called V12. Still, Tesla reserved V12 for the time when FSD Beta would be "end-to-end AI, from images in to steering, brakes & acceleration out." This implied that the 12th iteration of the FSD Beta would also be a major overhaul, although this might not necessarily be the case. All the changes could be made server-side, with only minor changes on the client side (Tesla EVs).
The most important thing is that Elon Musk now sees V12 as the first production build, sort of a V1.0. This means the FSD Beta ends with the last V11 build, and it's only Full Self-Driving from then on. That's not to say that it will arrive soon, as there's no ETA, and Elon Musk's predictions have proven overly optimistic in the past. V11.4.4 is only the tenth build of the V11 rewrite, and previous major software releases have taken 1.5-2 years to mature. Realistically, we could expect V12 to arrive by the end of next year at the earliest.
It's hard to tell what removing the Beta label means for Tesla's self-driving software. V12 will still need testing, so it should still have beta builds before they are deemed ready to be installed on customers' vehicles. Even before that, we could have a long line of V11 builds before the first V12 arrives. We still don't know how Dojo coming online in the following months will influence the development pace, but I think it will be significant.
Version 12 won’t be beta— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 27, 2023