Tesla has started rolling out the next version of its highly anticipated Full Self-Driving (FSD) version 12 to employees, potentially setting the stage for a wider release of v12 in the coming weeks.
Earlier this month, it was reported that Tesla may be releasing its FSD beta v12 later this month after v12.1 started going out to a massive group of employees in late December. On Friday, Teslascope noted on X that the next version, FSD beta v12.1.1, is now going out to a group of Tesla employees for the first time, spotted after the account said that a point release could be the next step toward the automaker releasing the software more widely.
The new software version has been rolling out with software update 2023.44.30.11, and the account notes that employees can enroll in the Wave1 program to gain early access to FSD versions and other new features. Wave1 is the group of over 15,000 Tesla employee-owned vehicles that got access to the FSD beta v12.1 in December, stirring speculation of an imminent launch.
Teslascope still predicts that FSD beta v12 will go out by the end of January, with v12.1.1 including some important bug fixes from v12.1 based on employee feedback from testing.
After CEO Elon Musk confirmed in November that the FSD v12 was rolling out to employees, he also said last month that the version was undergoing some extra testing with employee builds prior to being released to the public. Musk shared a live stream demonstration of the new build in August, and while the demo left something to be desired and showed the version was clearly pretty new, it’s also pretty significant that the CEO was comfortable broadcasting the trip so early in v12’s development.
Although Musk also said that FSD beta v12 will lose its beta moniker, it seems that the current set of versions going out to employees still includes the word—at least at this point.
Part of the reason Musk noted the version would leave beta seems to be because v12 has been touted as the final piece of the autonomy puzzle, expected to eventually help the automaker use its vehicles as robotaxis. The version includes a major overhaul of vehicle control functions, effectively switching the software from controlling the vehicle based on 300,000 lines of human-written code to a build that relies completely on the system’s neural network, as will be trained by millions of real-time video clips.
FSD beta v12 features a near-complete rewrite of the software, according to statements Musk made last year, with the switch being to what the automaker considers a “network-path-based” approach.
“The car will never get into a collision if you turn this thing on, even in unstructured environments,” said Dhaval Shroff, a Tesla Autopilot employee who called the new version “like ChatGPT, but for cars” in a statement about the then-upcoming version in December 2022.
Tesla also rolled out autosteer on city streets to the FSD beta last year, adding the function to its highway driving capabilities to create a “single-stack” version of the software. At this time, the FSD beta still operates at a Level 2 autonomy, meaning that it requires drivers to be alert, monitoring the road, and ready to retake control of the vehicle at any moment.