Full Self Driving (FSD) released

Introduction
This long read (sure it is) tells the story of FSD (Full Self Driving)

The author is Hans Noordsij, one of the founders of TeslaCampus after studying the development of AP (Autopilot) from the beginning.

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What about FSD (Full Self Drive))

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Tipping point in autonomous driving

The recent development around full self driving inspired me to write this article.
For me it is a turning point because now we can focus on FSD and leave the endless discussions whether AP is good or not behind us.
On social media two tribes exists. One tribe was convinced that FSD was “just around the corner” and the other tribe came up with a stack of doubts and situations in which “it will never work”. As usual both were wrong, but the skeptics a little bit more wrong 🙂

On May 4 2019 I published an article called “For most people this is hard to imagine”

The Dutch and English version combined reached an audience of over 20k readers on LinkedIn.

However,  it was still seen by most readers as some science-fiction”ish” story and although they liked it, they did not believe it.

The fact is I think history told us that you should take announcements from Elon Musk rather serious, whether it has to do with SpaceX, the Boring Company or of course with Tesla itself and the aspect of autonomous driving.

Ever since the beta version was released we see a continuous stream of video’s showing FSD in action in various situation and they all lead to the same conclusion: FSD works and improves itself extremely fast.

FSD Beta released

On Tuesday Oktober 20 something happened that opened the door to a whole new mobility era.

A select group of Tesla drivers got the beta version installed. This version contains the “Full Self Drive” suite and makes it able to have the car drive autonomously, under constant supervision, of course.

As expected the betagroup is small and every member takes the responsability to be alert every second they drive and to be able to disengage FSD when necessary. The car also keeps record of what actually happened so the neural network will be able to learn from that situation almost instantly.

Finally by way of an over the air update (OTA) the car “learned” from the situations and the effect is that when it comes into the same situation it handles it better than the last time.
Not perfectly yet, but there are incremental improvements.

AP is far from being FSD

But now, for a moment, lets get back to the non-believers part.
Nobody can blame them that they took the state there Auto Pilot (AP) was in for the actual FSD situation.
That AP version does a rather good job but never comes close to autonomous driving. Besides that AP shows some curious actions like “phantom-brakes”

It becomes clear if you realize that, although you have both FSD as HW3 installed, you are just using a HW2 emulator on the HW3 hardware that will never pull out the full possibilities that HW3 offers. You need the new, rewritten, software version.

Now this is clear I will pick up my story.

The article I mentioned above was published shortly after Model Y was unveiled to the public.
I attended that party in Hawthorne, Los Angeles, and what I remember was the short, but very clear, prediction that Model Y will outsell Model S, Model X and Model 3 combined.

So in combination with autonomous driving the Model Y is destined to be the perfect car for the Robotaxi fleet.

Autonomy Day

On Monday, April 22 in 2019, a shareholders meeting was held at the Palo Alto headquarters.
In this meeting  the state of the controversial “self-driving” plans was explained into detail.

Nearly one hundred critical (but informed) investors were caught up in (more than!) three hours by the leaders of Tesla in the area of FSD (Full Self Driving).

But was it really all new? Actually not, it was announced years before in Masterplan 1 & 2.
These plans are just being implemented, with the precision of a watchmaker, and in those plans we are now approaching the final phase.

This phase concerns the autonomous driving of the car, ultimately leading to a fleet of what they now call Robotaxis, which on the one hand brings mobility much closer to many and on the other hand makes own car ownership much less necessary.

Realism

On Autonomy day we got an explanation, in detail, about how it works, how the necessary data is collected and analyzed and how it is processed in the car.
The conclusion was that technically spoken self-driving will be finished by the end of 2019 (ok, a year later) and that by 2020 we will see the first cars drive autonomously.

Later I discovered this article that tells exactly what is going on.
Certainly worth reading (it is a large though complete article), so I will bring out the essentials here:

“This advantage for Tesla is absolutely insane. While others have to buy their cars, equip them with self-driving technology, then hire a backup driver to drive the car around, Tesla gets to sell its self-driving technology to its customers allowing its customers to finance the deployment of these cars all over the world, while it makes a profit on selling each one.

Think about that for a moment. In order for Google to put 1 Million self-driving cars on the road (after the technology is perfected), it will cost Google $100 Billion. Tesla on the other hand will make $10 to $20 Billion in profits by deploying a million self-driving vehicles. In fact, it’s already done exactly that by deploying more than 1.000,000 cars that have the hardware sensors needed for self-driving. It’s already gathering data from those 1.000.000 cars, and its doing so while making money from each of those cars!

More than the cost of the cars, Tesla has another major advantage. The AI and Machine Learning needed to perfect self-driving is heavily data dependent. The more cars you have on the road with the hardware sensors, the bigger variety of road conditions you encounter, and therefore, the faster the AI algorithms learn. Tesla has the largest fleet of cars, deployed in the widest array of geographical locations, giving it a major advantage for data collection to teach its algorithms how to drive. And it’s doing this without having to employ backup drivers or paying for the cars. Tesla’s backup drivers are the vehicle owners who paid full-price for the privilege of being a backup driver for Tesla’s autonomous AI going to school!

The Tesla advantage is incredible. Nothing like this has ever existed! This is a major disruptive advantage that no other car company in the world has. It’s also something that’s beyond the understanding of most Wall Street analysts. They have nothing to compare it to.”

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I will come up with some predictions, not from a crystal ball, but as, what I consider, logical consequences.

We must not forget that in the area of mobility the “iPhone” (Tesla’s iPad on wheels) has just been presented and we are toggling between denial, misunderstanding and amazement.
But we know for sure where the iPhone did lead us to in barely ten years.

There will be a rush to get Model 3 and the Model Y. Not because they are electric, there are more electric cars, but because they are completely future proof. Production will be increased on various locations and new factories. lShanghai, Berlin and Austin will be operational in 2021.
Or, as Elon Musk says: “Buying a car in 2019 that can’t upgrade to full self-driving is like buying a horse instead of a car in 1919” (Twitter )

Sales of fossil cars will fall (even slightly) faster than is currently the case. Remember that the Tesla cars I mention are built for a lifespan of one million miles and the coming battery generation will also be able to sustain more than a million miles before there is a relevant decline in capacity (20%). But even then they will still function or fully recycled.

There will be a shift from car “ownership” to car “use”. For a much smaller amount of money than people now spend on a car they will then order one (by app). They choose the model according to their actual need, and this car is ready to take them to work, for example, and after that it continues to drive others. When you go home, another one is ready for you. To the theater? Fine! Of course you can also buy one and then you can put it “to work for you” the time you don’t need itand make money for you.  In this way the car pays itself back and the number of cars required will rapidly decrease.

In line with this, we will see that the need for parking spaces will decrease considerably. Where cities and municipalities are still investing heavily in parking lots, parking garages and especially “cash cow models”, these will soon be avoided by the car. The car is going to transport someone else, or return home or wait outside the bustle of the city. Sounds futuristic, it is, but it is future. So in the end we can use the parking structures for other purposes.
I simple want to say with this is that the entire “paid publicparking” story is doomed to disappear in a number of years.

With less car ownership, there will also be much less “personalized” cars (like imitation fur around the steering wheel just to mention something) on a car. That is precisely the reason why the car is minimalistic and everything focuses on the “universal” screen that can be adapted to changing needs at any time through updates and becomes that way timeless.

The so-called business car (company car) with all the tax issues will disappear. This is going to be a reality with a lease price of less than $ 400.00 per month, before savings. The employee will take out a “subscription on usage” himself and for “trips for the boss” he will declare the costs, neatly specified.

The infrastructure will be optimized. Suppose a city center is not suitable for robotaxis (preferably lanes separated from pedestrians and cyclists), then the robot taxis themselves will refuse to get there. Then it will be resolved in no time, believe me.

Autonomous cars themselves will calculate the speeds they need by using various parameters, such as traffic, condition of the road, weather conditions, additional information exchanged, required arrival time and influence of speed on travel time, so that the entire cash-cow model of speed violations and tickets will be history, in the end.

Imagine the “app”. Of course you have all your personal preferences in it, such as the position of your seat, the temperature, your favorite music,  your destination and the route to get there. But also what you want to read “en route” or listen to podcast/music, view shared presentations with colleagues and even watch movies. All in perfect cooperation with the screen in the car. With the app  you reserve your ride, you get data about the car (like now with Uber), you pay the ride and you undoubtedly get all sorts of useful (and to be feared also useless, like advertising) additional information.

Less casualties. Actually the most important consequence, I should of course have started with this, but on the other hand it is the obvious consequence; the number of road casualties will be minimized because the human driver (if you’re honest, by far most the biggest risk factor) is no longer present.

Cleaner air. And then of course all kinds of benefits occur such as the disappearance of exhaust gasses in population centers, large economic gains because traffic jams no longer exist. (AI is perfectly capable of controlling the traffic in such a way that there are no more traffic jams).

Alternatives, independency from fossil companies. There is at the moment of course an enormous dependency on sources where there are monopolies (everyone needs gasoline) while suddenly alternatives are coming up like generating and storing your own electricity from solar

Finally an interview that clearly illustrates what is going on. And this story comes from an investor, who normally are rather skeptic.

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It turned out that my story was rather appealing. Never before I had 20,000 readers and more than 500 likes and 60 serious reactions in a short time..

Next question is of course, what will this future look like?

In one of the reactions I received there was no doubt about the future world of autonomous driving, but it appears to be hard to imagine how it actually will work in the end.
Because I have a vivid imagination I, for the sake of fun, present a number of cases and worked them out to give an impression.

Who can add some? For the upcoming catalog ?

To the theatre

While buying tickets for the show, online of course, you are offered the option of being picked up from home for a small surcharge and brought back home afterwards.
You get a notification from the app 10 minutes before the Robotaxi (they have to think of a nicer name for this) arrives to pick you up.

Optionally you can choose to travel with more people in the same Robotaxi (in what case you pay a little less) and on the way to the theater you see an introduction of the “Play” you are gonna see on the screen with the players, the program an other information.

Of course you can already place an order for a drink and the Robotaxi brings them at the front door. Afterwards there is an Y ready to take the guests home. The app indicates which one “it is” and on the way back you can still enjoy it, or give a review.

A day or weekendtrip

Four friends want to spent a nice day or weekend together.

Instead of “Let’s order a pizza”, they order a Robotaxi that  picks them up at the right moment and brings them them to the destination of their choice.

That can be an Outlet, a day in the city, a wellness center, a party, a concert or whatever they think of.

There will be a big offering of these (all inclusive) trips that you can simply choose and book in the app itself as extra option you may choose when you order the Robotaxi.

Endless possibilities.

Dining at a restaurant

From you chair you make a reservation and use the extra button for the Robotaxi.

You will be picked up from home and dropped of at the brestaurant.

During the ride you can see the menu and already make a choice. Of course your preferred first drink will be ready for you when you arrive.

To the health club

When in a health club, the parking lot is full of cars from members.

Often one person a car and the car has to be parked and use a parking spot during the workout.

But what if the health club participates in Robotaxi program and a number of Robotaxi’s are ready to pick up members up from home and bring them home after the workout? The parking lot can become much “smaller” and eventually be part of the facility.

Attending a congress or symposium

While making the reservation for the congress you think about “how to get there”. In the app you choose your Robotaxi.

You choose an option for the ride, get it at a favorable price and while on the way the speakers introduce themselves (digitally) on the screen, you may watch a presentation of the location (that is increasingly a historic building) and already being interactive in a pre-workshop.

If you will be giving a keynote yourself you maybe want to prepare yourself on the way to the center and have a Robotaxi for yourself.

Of course it will cost you some more than you have to pay when you share the Robotaxi with other participants.

Home for the weekend

A student goes home for the weekend and like there are now special fares for students the Robotaxi program will offer cheap rides at non busy moments.

And during the trip the student can use the screen to look at some college summaries, search in the online library, play a game of chess with the car as opponent, follows some podcasts or just Netflix.

Using a shuttle service

Off course, there will be all kinds of shuttle services, from hotels to the airport, from hotels to themeparks, from hotels to wine tastings, etc.
The Robotaxi’s will be available at the time they are needed, not on a regular schedule.

For tourists, there will be locally combined offers and on the way there you can watch a presentation of the location.

Combined transportation

For longer journeys it is preferable to use the railway. The Robotaxi will pick you up at home and brings you in time to the railway station and, of course, will deliver you at your final destination after the journey.

Tickets will be ordered with the app.

On the airport

Special services from airport arrival / departure to centers of relevant cities in the area or to a specific address.

There will be an unlimited choice of package deals offered by hotels, restaurants and whatever local destination that is preferred.

Hospital

Healthcare institutions such as hospitals, together with city authorities and health insurers, ensure that patients are picked up at home on time, dropped of at the door and returned home afterwards.

During hospitalization relatives can participate in a visit program with transport at a low rate (approximately less then a parking ticket) to and from the hospital.