Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” Beta, which has been gradually rolling out over the past couple of years, is now available to anyone who’s paid for the feature in North America, CEO Elon Musk has announced. “Tesla Full Self-Driving Beta is now available to anyone in North America who requests it from the car screen,” Musk tweeted, “assuming you have bought this option.”
The rollout of the beta software kicked off in 2020 with a small number of customers and has since gradually expanded to be available to around 160,000 drivers as of October this year. Getting access to the beta has typically required that drivers hit a minimum safety threshold with Tesla’s built-in Safety Score feature as well as logging 100 miles using the company’s advanced driver-assist feature Autopilot.
In recent weeks, there have been reports that these requirements have been loosened for drivers, with Teslerati reporting that Tesla owners have been able to access the “full self-driving” beta without hitting any particular requirements. Musk’s assertion that the feature is now available to “anyone” who requests it in North America suggests these requirements may no longer be in force. We have emailed Tesla for official confirmation, but the company’s press department is widely reported to have been disbanded since 2020.
Tesla’s driver-assist technology, not to mention the company’s marketing of it, are facing heavy scrutiny from regulators. The US’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating incidents of Tesla vehicles crashing into stationary emergency vehicles while using Autopilot, and the Department for Justice has reportedly opened an investigation of its own. California’s Department of Motor Vehicles has also accused Tesla of making “untrue or misleading” claims about its cars’ autonomous driving capabilities.
Access to the beta relies on drivers having purchased Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” functionality, which is currently offered for an upfront fee of $15,000 when buying a car, or as part of an up-to $199 subscription. According to Tesla’s website, available features include the ability to identify and respond to traffic light and stop signs, with the option of automatically steering on city streets listed as “upcoming.” Tesla cars include “Autopilot” driver assistance features like traffic-aware cruise control as standard, while a step-down “Enhanced Autopilot” feature is sold for $6,000, and offers features like autopark and smart summon.
Despite the branding, Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” software is closer to a “Level 2” advanced driver assistance system that needs to be actively monitored by a driver at all times.
Update November 24th, 7:52AM ET: Updated to mention that “Full Self-Driving” is also available via subscription.