- The commercial use of self-driving or autonomous vehicles continues to raise questions, with a handful of fatal crashes occurring in the past.
- Tesla is one of the companies pushing self-driving technology, having just rolled out a beta to drivers in North America who paid for it.
- The company is also under investigation over the safety and legitimacy of the technology Stateside.
An Elon Musk-owned company is in the news again. No, not Twitter this time, but it does begin with a T as Tesla has rolled out access to its self-driving beta for its car owners in North America who paid for access to the autonomous vehicle technology.
Musk took to Twitter to confirm the news, noting that the “Tesla Full Self-Driving Beta is now available to anyone in North America who requests it from the car screen, assuming you have bought this option.”
FSD as it is referred to by those at Tesla is a paid-for feature available on selected models of the company’s EVs, and it recently saw a sizeable jump in price from $3 000 to $15 000 earlier in the year.
With an estimated 160 000 drivers now capable of accessing it, concerns are being raised over the lack of checks and balances from Tesla when it comes to who can use the feature.
This as reports suggest that the requirements of accessing the feature are quickly falling away. Where drivers previously had to log 100 miles (160 kilometres) of Autopilot use on a Tesla car, as well as meeting safety scorecard requirements, it now appears as if the feature is open to all, provided you can afford it.
This is quite concerning given the increased scrutiny that Tesla’s self-driving technology has come under in recent years, having been put under review by the Unites States’ Department of Motor Vehicles last year, along with being investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration only a couple of months ago.
As such, there will no doubt be safety issues raised over the self-driving beta, especially as Musk has promised that Tesla cars will be able to operate with no one behind the wheel for a few years now.