Tesla finally releases FSD v12, its last hope for self-driving

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Tesla has finally started releasing its FSD Beta v12 update to customers, which is sort of its last hope to deliver on its self-driving promises.

The Tesla v12 software update is expected to introduce what CEO Elon Musk has been calling “end-to-end neural nets”. The biggest difference with previous FSD updates is that the vehicle’s controls would now be handled by neural nets rather than being coded by programmers.

Tesla writes in the release notes of the update:

“FSD Beta v12 upgrades the city-streets driving stack to a single end-to-end neural network trained on millions of video clips, replacing over 300k lines of explicit C++ code.”

In short, this means that the vehicle’s behaviors will also be powered by AI, like its vision system, rather than coded by engineers.

When Tesla first introduced Full Self-Driving, the automaker made it sound like this would be the approach, but it ended up taking years for the company to make the leap to neural net-powered controls.

Many Tesla supporters believe that v12 is what is going to enable Tesla to finally deliver on its self-driving promises.

They were also encouraged by Musk saying that Tesla would deliver v12 not as “beta” software.

The CEO had been promising the software update to customers by the end of last year, but it slipped into 2024.

It has only been used in Tesla’s internal test fleet, but it is now finally getting to customers.

Several early Tesla FSD Beta testers who are not Tesla employees are now reporting receiving the Tesla FSd Beta v12 update.

As of now, it looks like Tesla is back to doing slow rollout starting with its early FSD Beta testers, who are both most used to the system and also known to be less critical of Tesla.

The update is still listed as “beta” in the release notes.

Electrek’s Take

We will wait for the update to propagate a bit and see if we can get some honest reviews of the system soon.

From what I’ve heard from the internal test fleet over the last few weeks, v12 is smoother and more natural in some cases, but it is getting dumber in other cases, which has been the case with many Tesla FSD updates.

It’s very much a two-step forward, one-step back kind of process.

But now it needs to work or Tesla is kind of screwed. v12 and end-to-end neural nets is the last big step in Tesla’s self-driving development, and if it doesn’t work, it sounds like Tesla would have to give up the idea of making self-driving work on its current hardware as promised.

Now, it doesn’t need to work right away. The neural nets can improve over time with more training, but if it doesn’t at least unveil the path to a working self-driving system, then what other card can Tesla play?

Let’s see if Tesla can finally deliver.

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