With a fresh announcement making waves, Tesla’s putting the pedal to the metal, striving to bring its FSD (Full Self-Driving) technology into the vast expanse of the Chinese market. According to a recent report, Tesla isn’t taking any half-measures. The EV giant is mobilizing a dedicated local operations team, initially comprising around 20 enthusiasts, to bring FSD to the largest EV market in the world. The company has already dispatched engineers from the US to ensure the local team gets all the technical mentorship they need.
Before you imagine cars zipping around Shanghai streets without drivers, hold onto your hats. There’s a lot more to the story. Tesla’s not just working on its tech – it’s diving deep into the data game. In fact, the company is setting up a massive data labeling team, potentially numbering in the hundreds. Training the FSD algorithm isn’t a cakewalk; it requires a colossal amount of data to be labeled and processed.
Tesla, in an attempt to be a good corporate citizen, has taken steps to address the data collection concerns. As of August 14, a dedicated data center, stationed right within China’s borders, has been established. The objective is to ensure all data originating from Tesla vehicles sold in China stays in China.
Bringing FSD to China is not as easy as recruiting engineers and data specialists though; Tesla has first to obtain a temporary license to test FSD in the city. If everything goes smoothly for a fortnight and the local bigwigs give a nod of approval, then Tesla can finally lay its hands on the coveted long-term testing qualification. And how long does this initial application process take? A breezy three months, or so the experts claim.
Back on May 12 a notable declaration came from a Shanghai official, hinting at the city’s intention to enhance collaboration with Tesla. This declaration included mentions of self-driving tech and robotics. The chatter that followed was hard to ignore and was perceived by many as Shanghai’s subtle nod of endorsement for Tesla’s FSD endeavors.
Every Tesla car currently rolling off the assembly line comes decked out with complimentary Basic Autopilot (BAP) software. Those looking to notch it up a bit can opt for the Enhanced Autopilot (EAP) or go all out with the FSD software – for a price, of course. Speaking of which, while the FSD software’s U.S. price tag stands at £12,100, it gets a little lighter on the wallet in China, retailing at CNY 64,000 – that’s £7,100.
An analysis by CITIC Securities in June hinted that the landscape seems favorable for Tesla’s FSD to find its groove in China. Yet, challenges persist. Issues like data collection qualifications and establishing supercomputing centers might throw a wrench in the works, though.