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Tesla finally updated its full self-driving software — but warned the tech might ‘do the wrong thing at the worst time.’ Elon Musk told drivers to be ‘paranoid.’

  • Tesla released a long-awaited Full Self-Driving (FSD) software update to some drivers on Saturday.
  • The FSD beta version 9 update included new safety alerts and better information display, Tesla said.
  • But Tesla warned the software “may do the wrong thing at the worst time,” per release notes.

Tesla updated its Full Self-Driving (FSD) software for some of its drivers — and warned them that the system “may do the wrong thing at the worst time.”

The electric car maker released the long-awaited beta version 9 (v9) of its FSD software overnight on Friday for members of its early access program, according to screenshots of the release notes. Other drivers posted videos of them testing the updated system on YouTube.

“Full Self-Driving is in early limited access Beta and must be used with additional caution. It may do the wrong thing at the worst time, so you must always keep your hands on the wheel and pay extra attention to the road. Do not become complacent,” the beta v9 release notes said, according to one driver’s screenshot.  

FSD, which doesn’t make a Tesla car fully autonomous, currently costs a one-off $10,000. It has all the features of Tesla’s Autopilot — which brakes, accelerates, and steers automatically — plus it allows cars to change lanes, park themselves, and recognize stop signs and traffic lights.

Tesla said in the release notes that the beta v9 software improved drivers’ visualization by adding more surrounding information, although it did not provide details. One driver said that the system was able to spot a traffic light before he could, in a YouTube video of him testing the system.

Musk said in a tweet on Friday, July 9, that the beta v9 software “addresses most known issues” with Tesla’s self-driving technology, but that “there will be unknown issues.”

He urged drivers to “please be paranoid” in the tweet. 

Tesla activated its cabin camera above the rearview mirror in May, which is designed to detect “driver inattentiveness” in its Model 3 and Y vehicles when they are on Autopilot, screenshots of the release notes showed. After the latest FSD beta v9 update, the camera can provide “audible alerts” to drivers to help keep their eyes on the road, the release notes said. 

Tesla CEO Elon Musk originally said that the beta v9 update would launch in 2018, before delaying its release. In an April tweet, Musk said that drivers would not have to wait past June, but pushed the timeline back again in a July 3 tweet where he admitted that he didn’t expect making self-driving cars to “be so hard.”

The system does not allow for full self-driving, and the driver must be ready to take control of the vehicle at any point.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the federal road safety regulator, said in a statement to Insider in October last year that “no vehicle available for purchase today is capable of driving itself.” 

“The most advanced vehicle technologies available for purchase today provide driver assistance and require a fully attentive human driver at all times performing the driving task and monitoring the surrounding environment,” the agency said.

Tesla has faced regulatory scrutiny following a number of car crashes involving its vehicles. The NHTSA told Reuters in June that it was investigating the role of Tesla’s Autopilot setting in 30 crashes since 2016.


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