Tesla cancels Full Self-Driving expansion ahead of major update

Tesla has canceled a planned expansion of its Full Self-Driving beta software test ahead of a major update reportedly launching in April.

Approximately 2,000 Tesla owners have been given early access to the expanded functionality, which allows a vehicle to control itself on city streets with human supervision and is listed as version 8.2 of the software.

In early March, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that a download button for version 8.3 would soon appear on the displays in certain cars, but he has apparently confirmed on Twitter that the company will be skipping the upgrade in lieu of a version 9.0 coming in April.

Musk last week said that the upgrade would eliminate the need for the system to use radar and would rely solely on the eight cameras the cars are equipped with and artificial intelligence.

Most other automakers and technology companies developing autonomous driving systems use a combination of radar, camera and lidar sensors, the last of which Tesla has called a “fool’s errand.”

“Anyone relying on lidar is doomed. Doomed!,” Musk said during Tesla’s “Autonomy Day” in 2019.

“It’s like having a whole bunch of expensive appendices. Like, one appendix is bad, well now you have a whole bunch of them, it’s ridiculous, you’ll see.”

Various videos posted to social media by beta testers show very different sides of the Full Self-Driving capability, with it operating almost flawlessly in some and making major mistakes in others.

Tesla’s electronic driver aids have come under increased scrutiny from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration following numerous accidents that are being investigated to see if the Autopilot or Full Self-Driving systems were involved.

Last week, Musk confirmed that several Tesla owners had been removed from the beta test because it had been determined via an internal camera that they weren’t paying proper attention when using the Full Self-Driving system.