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Tesla says it will have a full self-driving Autopilot beta very soon

Is the world ready for self-driving cars?

tesla car visualizing full-self driving autopilot
Image: Tesla

It was Tesla’s annual Battery Day on Tuesday, but one of the coolest announcements didn’t actually have anything to do with battery tech. CEO Elon Musk promised that a private beta of the “full self-driving version” of the Autopilot software was coming in “a month or so.” If so, that’s pretty cool, since the Autopilot in its current state is more of a driver aid, rather than a fully-aware driving computer.

In true Tesla style, the socially distanced Battery Day event still had a large crowd, but with a big twist. Each shareholder that was present at the event was safely ensconced in their own Tesla Model 3 vehicle, turning Battery Day into that truest of American pastimes, the drive-in movie theater.

Musk went on to talk about how he’s driving a “bleeding-edge, alpha build of Autopilot,” which gives him more insight into the progress that his engineering team has made. Apparently, to get Autopilot up to full-driving status, it required a full rewrite of the entire software stack, to start identifying and labeling 3D video instead of the previously labeling system which used single 2D images. That gets all eight of the cameras used in the system working together, with each feed being labeled and presumably cross-referenced for accuracy.

Exciting times ahead for sure, with Autopilot making the leap to full self-driving. Will that mean one day soon we’ll no longer have to keep our hands on the wheel? I doubt it, legislation always lags behind technological innovation and the roads aren’t ready for self-driving cars in their current state. That won’t always be the case though, so expect manually driving your car to be a choice at some point in the future, and not a requirement.

What do you think? Are you ready for full self-driving cars from Tesla? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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