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Tesla FSD Advancing at a Rapid Pace, Musk Says "One More Round of Refinement" Needed

Tesla released the latest V10 build of its FSD Beta software in January, and it took more than a month before pushing the first V11 build to cars. The long hiatus was blamed on the FSD Beta recall Tesla agreed upon with the NHTSA. After that, things unfolded much faster, with three builds in as many weeks. Is FSD Beta on the fast track? Elon Musk thinks it still needs polishing.
Tesla launched FSD Beta V11.3.3 6 photos
Photo: @chazman via Twitter | Edited
Tesla launched FSD Beta V11.3.3Tesla launched FSD Beta V11.3.3Tesla launched FSD Beta V11.3.3Tesla launched FSD Beta V11.3.3Tesla launched FSD Beta V11.3.3
From the FSD Beta testers' point of view, it took Tesla forever until it was ready with version 11 of the software. Promised since November 2022, the much-touted "unified stack" self-driving software was a tough nut to crack, as Elon Musk admitted in February. Although no official explanation was given by Tesla or Musk, the release was delayed after Tesla issued the infamous FSD recall in February.

The EV maker could not risk sending new builds to testers without first sorting out the problems the NHTSA raised. After all, Tesla had to admit that FSD Beta is just a Level 2 driver assist system to let off some steam at the agency. When the V11.3.1 build got to the first Tesla employees on March 7, it was revealed that it included the "OTA recall fix" expected by the NHTSA. We're certain the agency sanctioned the fix before Tesla sent it to more people in the following days.

The V11 software wasn't smooth sailing all the time. Between excited remarks from Tesla fans, we could spot some criticism. Videos on social media showed the software cutting in line at highway exits or even running through red lights, a very dangerous behavior. But with the OTA recall out of the way, Tesla moved much faster with development. It sent V11.3.2 to a wider group of beta testers on March 19, just as Musk promised before, an unusual event.

Then, less than a week later, Tesla upped the ante with the V11.3.3, a version that finally reached many more people. Based on Not a Tesla App stats, it should be on 10% of cars already, which means Tesla considers it good enough for the wider fleet. The small bump in the version number suggests that only minor fixes were included in this release, but the first reports indicate that the software is impressive. Not perfect because many bugs have been reported already, but certainly much better than previous builds.

Some testers said that the V11.3.3 brought better handling of left turns and smoother merging onto highways. Still, annoying bugs persist, including phantom braking and erratic lane changing at the wrong time. The car also tends to stay in the passing lane until another car comes from behind instead of clearing it after passing slower vehicles. These were probably among the reasons Elon Musk is still unsatisfied with this release.

According to a Twitter reply, Musk thinks "one more round of refinement" is needed. He didn't say what would happen after that round (cracking full self-driving, perhaps?). It's also unclear if another round means another major software version (like V12) or just another version bump (more like V11.3.4 or V11.4). Knowing Musk and his overly optimistic statements, it might take another complete rewrite of the FSD Beta, as with V11. Musk says some legacy neural networks still use a single-cam, single-frame video stream and will have to move to surround video instead. Fingers crossed.

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About the author: Cristian Agatie
Cristian Agatie profile photo

After his childhood dream of becoming a "tractor operator" didn't pan out, Cristian turned to journalism, first in print and later moving to online media. His top interests are electric vehicles and new energy solutions.
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