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Musk mandates demo of self-driving feature on Tesla vehicles

Elon Musk is requiring employees to activate and demonstrate Tesla’s new (Full Self-Driving) system upon delivery of vehicles.

Elon Musk is requiring employees to activate and demonstrate Tesla’s new FSD (Full Self-Driving) system upon delivery of vehicles in the US, according to multiple media sources.

As Australia has taken a conservative approach to introducing EVs and automated driving systems, the regulations in the United States could act as future guidance for Australian law makers when implementing new technology.

Australian vehicles currently utilise basic level Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). These systems require oversight by a driver, such as lane keeping or adaptive cruise control which are also currently not considered automated driving.

The advanced ADAS systems, including Level Four and Five, require minimum driver intervention or no driver at all. These systems are currently being trialled in Australia, with federal government plans to introduce legislation on this level of automation in 2026.

Tesla and FSD

The FSD system, despite its name, is not fully autonomous. FSD, Autopilot, and Enhanced Autopilot features should be used with a fully attentive driver whose hands are on the wheel, according to Tesla’s website.

The website claims the autopilot feature can navigate a vehicle on a highway, auto lane change, and auto park while the FSD feature can additionally autosteer on city streets and identify stop signs and traffic lights.

Tesla recalled millions of vehicles last year over its autopilot feature and FSD features. The company released software remedies for the FSD and Autopilot features following the recalls.

There have also been lawsuits filed over the technology, one of which Tesla won in court late last year. A jury determined Autopilot wasn’t responsible for the crash at issue that killed one person and injured two others.

The company’s vehicles come installed with the Autopilot feature. Customers are required to purchase the FSD option for US$199 per month. Customers using the FSD option have access to an FSD Beta system.

Musk mandated the installation of the FSD feature via an email to employees Monday, according to CNBC.

“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 says.

“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.”

According to CNBC, Tesla is projected to see a drop in vehicle deliveries in the first quarter. Also, as of Monday, the company’s shares had declined by about 30 per cent year-to-date.

Musk told investors during an earnings call earlier this year that the company’s vehicle volume growth rate could be lower in 2024. He said his team was focused on a next-generation electric vehicle to be released in mid-2025, according to Reuters.

Reuters says Musk is working on an entry-level US$25,000 EV that could compete with cheaper gasoline vehicles.

“Musk had first promised to build a $25,000 car in 2020, a plan he later shelved and then revived,” Reuters says.

“Tesla’s cheapest offering, the Model 3 sedan, currently has a starting price of $38,990 in the United States.”

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