Vehicle autonomy is arguably the most important part of Tesla's Master Plan Part Deux, presented in 2016. Almost half of the document was dedicated to vehicle autonomy and robotaxis, which emphasized the importance Elon Musk placed on these concepts. But seven years later, Tesla's most advanced driver assistance system, Full Self-Driving Beta, is still not ready to tango.
Although its name might suggest FSD Beta can drive unsupervised, this is certainly not the case. Tesla clarifies this in its legal documents and the many warnings owners must agree to before activating the software. Tesla engineers work around the clock to advance FSD software from the current Beta stage, which is still limited, to the coveted commercial release and Level-5 capability.
So far, Full Self-Driving Beta can only be tested in the US and Canada. Whereas traffic regulations are similar in the two countries, they differ significantly in other parts of the world. The European Union may have unified regulations, but there's fragmentation across the block, as each member state can set its own traffic rules. This makes deploying FSD Beta in those markets much more challenging.
Elon Musk said a while back that the most important section of FSD Beta will work everywhere, whereas a small section will need localizing. It's the latter that poses the most problems, as Tesla must first obtain regulatory approval. Work is underway in Europe, Australia, and several Asian countries, including China, suggesting that Tesla might start limited testing soon.
This raised hopes that the FSD Beta could be allowed on European roads in early 2024, especially as Tesla pushed software updates in Europe and Australia containing the FSD Beta software. Regular Tesla owners cannot activate this, but Tesla employees might gain access to the self-driving features.
Now, Tesla has gone a step further and updated its owner's manuals outside North America to include a section dedicated to Full Self-Driving Beta. This suggests that Tesla might expand these features to other countries soon. The change has been discovered by the third-party app developer Teslascope in the European manuals and those in China, Australia, and Japan. The new section is listed under "Autopilot" and explains in detail how FSD Beta works and its limitations.
According to the owner's manual, Tesla intends to gradually expand FSD Beta "to eligible customers in select countries outside the US and Canada." The EV maker warns owners to be "extra attentive and overly cautious," given that the FSD Beta software must adapt to the unique conditions in each of these countries.
Now, just because this section has been added to the owner's manuals outside North America, it doesn't necessarily mean FSD Beta is just around the corner. However, as Tesla gets regulatory approval in these countries, it will likely deploy FSD Beta to more testers over time, similar to how it did in the US and Canada.