Elon Musk Orders FSD Demo For Every Tesla US Sale

Elon Musk has issued a “hard requirement” order for Tesla’s premium driver assistance system, ‘Full Self-Driving’ (or FSD), in what could be an effort to avoid future regulatory scrutiny.

Bloomberg reported that Elon Musk sent an email to Tesla employees on Monday, ordering staff to demonstrate the company’s FSD driver-assistance technology to all US buyers, despite him admitting that it will slow deliveries.

The order could be a safeguarding measure for Elon Musk and Tesla to avoid potential legal and regulatory issues going forward, as Tesla’s FSD and its Autopilot program face allegations after multiple fatal crashes over the years.

Image credit: Vlad Tchompalov/Unsplash

FSD, Autopilot concerns

Indeed Tesla vehicles have reportedly accounted for nearly 70 percent of reported crashes involving advanced driver-assistance systems since June 2021, according to federal figures, but officials warned against drawing any safety conclusions.

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened 38 special investigations into crashes involving Tesla vehicles that have resulted in 19 deaths, looking at whether the software was a factor.

Tesla of course has two driver assistance programs. All new Tesla vehicles have the standard driver assistance system installed called Autopilot.

But Tesla also sells the more advanced FSD option for $12,000 upfront, and a monthly charge of $199. This enables Tesla vehicles to change lanes and park autonomously.

Tesla’s FSD system however does not turn cars into autonomous self-driving vehicles, despite many instances of drivers grossly misusing these systems – for example by sleeping behind the wheel, or being distracted by using Apple’s Vision Pro headsets while driving.

Image credit: X/Twitter

This is despite Tesla officially stating in owners’ manuals that drivers must remain attentive to the road and ready to steer or brake at any time when using FSD or Autopilot.

Musk memo

Now Elon Musk has reportedly ordered staff to demonstrate the company’s driver-assistance technology before handing cars over to buyers in North America.

Musk reportedly instructed employees to perform a “short test ride” with customers to show the system, according to an internal memo seen by Bloomberg News.

Workers will also have to perform checks on any vehicles returned from service.

“Going forward, it is mandatory in North America to install and activate FSD V12.3.1 and take customers on a short test ride before handing over the car,” Musk wrote in an email to staffers on Monday.

“Almost no one actually realises how well (supervised) FSD actually works. I know this will slow down the delivery process, but it is nonetheless a hard requirement,” he reportedly wrote.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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