Tesla is ramping up efforts to bring its advanced Full Self-Driving (FSD) technology to China, as the company aims to cement its leadership in the world’s largest EV market.
According to sources familiar with Tesla’s plans, the automaker has dispatched engineers from its Silicon Valley headquarters to China for training local teams. Tesla is also building up a data annotation team of hundreds in China, tasked with preparing algorithms to train the FSD system using data from China’s complex road conditions.
Initial testing is already underway in Shanghai, where Tesla has filed for a temporary two-week license in Lingang district. After passing required reviews, Tesla can obtain a long-term permit for broader testing, though this process may take at least three months.
The push comes as Tesla issued a software update on August 9th that allows owners to opt-in for automatic driving data collection to improve FSD. The company has also opened a data center in China to store locally-collected data.
Bringing full self-driving to China poses unique challenges, including vastly different road conditions, traffic patterns and regulations. Tesla will need to optimize its algorithms and likely conduct extensive localized testing. The company also faces competition China Brand (Xpeng, NIO, Li Auto etc) automakers developing their advanced driver assist systems.
But Musk has expressed confidence that FSD could reach full autonomy by the end of 2023 (Tesla FSD Beta will move out of Beta stage with version 12, Maybe also move from Autopilot and NOA?). Cracking the complex Chinese market will be crucial for achieving that vision and cementing Tesla’s market leadership as intelligent vehicles take off. The latest efforts suggest Tesla is gearing up to put its most advanced technology in the hands of Chinese consumers.