As with other artificial intelligence programs, people expect this slow progress to accelerate and explode at some point. Tesla is throwing insane amounts of resources into hardware and software to process all the data gathered from Tesla cars. The latest figures presented during the second-quarter earnings call show that Tesla cars accumulated more than 300 million miles driven on FSD, a number that Musk said "will seem extremely small very soon."
Tesla's self-driving software is now at V11.4.6, a significant refinement of the V11 that debuted last November with a unified stack. Unlike previous versions, FSD Beta V11 used the FSD stack for both city and highway driving, a significant advancement over the previous "Navigate on Autopilot" feature.
During V11 development, Elon Musk explained that the next major iteration of the software would mark a breakthrough, being "end-to-end AI, from images in, to steering, brakes & acceleration out." Most importantly, Musk said that V12 would not be Beta anymore, opening a new chapter in Tesla's autonomous driving efforts.
As people were getting a taste of the latest FSD Beta build (V11.4.6), some reported that it got pretty good, with fewer disengagements and a better road feel. Tesla also introduced a human-like behavior in the latest build, the ability to follow the traffic flow, even if this meant driving over the speed limit in effect on that section. This should improve safety, as other people moving faster would not have to overtake.
Elon Musk replied to one of the reports praising the FSD Beta progress, saying that he tested the version 12 alpha build and found it "mind-blowing." While this implies that the V12 should bring significant improvements, this is not the first time Musk has used the same words to describe an upcoming FSD Beta version. This makes it less relevant, telling more about Tesla's CEO than the self-driving software.
When Tesla worked on the FSD Beta V9 in July 2021, Musk also said it was mind-blowing. Of course, it wasn't much, as it was the first version without radar support and had many issues. In September 2021, Musk tweeted: "The build I'm driving right now is almost there. FSD 10 will blow your mind." While the V11 was not described as mind-blowing in these exact words, Musk used the "collision" emoji in a tweet, likely to mean the same thing.
As Musk said in another tweet, version 12 of the Full Self-Driving software should arrive later this year. This suggests rather steep progress in a very short time is needed to get to a truly mind-blowing expertise. Sure, FSD Beta can drive now in most scenarios, and most of the time, people would be impressed. But the software also makes dangerous mistakes when you least expect it, and it also struggles in areas where fewer Teslas are driving on FSD. This is because the software improves the more people drive, and the lack of data for less popular zones can negatively impact the software's behavior.
And v11... does that also mean mind-blowing? pic.twitter.com/HuSikzKZyS— Pierre Boudreau (@pierreboudreau) July 27, 2023