Did Tesla really do its homework this time?
According to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the next beta version of the company's Full Self-Driving beta (FSD) will "blow your mind."
The driver assistance feature — which doesn't actually allow Tesla vehicles to fully drive themselves, as the name suggests, but does provide a growing degree of self-driving capability for drivers who remain attentive on the road — first went out to a small number of daring volunteers last year, who took the software for a spin on public roads.
Now, Tesla is slowly getting ready to roll the beta out to a wider slice of the public.
"Expansion will be gradual, based on ensuring maximum safety," Musk tweeted on Thursday when asked about the expansion of the feature — a significant moment for the company, which still has a lot to prove.
Not 100 Percent
It's probably a good thing Musk is focusing on safety. Late last month, Musk admitted that a previous version of the FSD beta is "not great [in my opinion], but Autopilot/AI team is rallying to improve as fast as possible."
Earlier versions of the futuristic software have been shown to be rough around the edges. In June, a video surfaced of a Tesla Model 3 being confused by a truck ahead loaded with traffic lights on a highway.
A self-driving feature that makes mistakes could be costly. Most recently, Tesla's Autopilot feature, the broader software suite with FSD being an optional $10,000 add-on, became the focus of a US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigation.
The investigators are looking into a series of accidents involving Teslas crashing into emergency response vehicles while on Autopilot.
And regardless of the promise, the potential for harm is certainly there. Full Self-Driving in particular goes a lot further than Autopilot, enabling automatic lane changes on highways, driving on city streets, and navigating complex intersections.
All told, it's a critical juncture for the car company and the risks are palpable. Let's hope Tesla did its homework.
READ MORE: Tesla’s Musk says FSD 10 will blow minds, details expanding test group [Teslarati]