By Lennon Cihak
2023 is sure to bring good things, but if you live in Europe, it could get even more exciting. Tesla has posted a new job position to its careers site for an ADAS test operator.
ADAS, which stands for “Advanced Driver Assistance Systems,” is the broader category for Tesla’s Autopilot and FSD features. Although FSD is quite capable, it is still officially a level-2 system. The addition of this position to Tesla’s careers site could mean that Tesla is stepping up testing in Europe, where it expects to release FSD next.
The job description says the “ADAS test operator will be responsible to identify improvements and regressions across software iterations.”
This is particularly interesting because Tesla hasn’t been actively developing its Autopilot or Navigate on Autopilot features for several years since the new tech stack that FSD leverages will be the foundation for future iterations of Autopilot.
Elon Musk has said various times before that Tesla’s FSD feature will expand to Europe next. In March of 2022, Musk stated that he expects FSD to be available in Europe as early as summer. He tweeted:
“FSD Beta should be available in Europe for LHD this summer, RHD a few months later. These dates depend on regulatory approval.”
During Tesla’s AI Day 2, Elon Musk also mentioned that he hopes to expand FSD to Europe before the end of 2022.
Tesla’s FSD feature was limited to the U.S. until it expanded to Canada with FSD Beta version 10.11.1, which was rolled out in March 2022.
Tesla required public testers to achieve a certain safety score in order to be included in the FSD beta program in the U.S. and Canada. That restriction was removed at the end of 2022 when FSD Beta was opened up to everyone eligible.
It’s not clear what Tesla’s plan is for the expansion of FSD, but we know it will expand to Europe next and this job posting appears to indicate testing is already underway. Tesla may utilize the Safety Score again once they’re ready to open up FSD Beta in Europe to public testers.
The Austin, Texas-based automotive company continues to ramp up production and prepare for a new vehicle platform in March 2023. Furthermore, they’re preparing for hardware 4.0, which will see a higher megapixel cameras, heaters, and fans. It will also reduce the amount of front-facing cameras from three down to two.
By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla’s fourth-quarter earnings call occurs on January 25th after the market closes. Of course, every earnings call for this company draws much attention, but this one may set a new bar. Tesla ended 2022 with a 70 percent drop in stock price and investors looking for answers.
As of writing this, 31 hours before the live webcast will start on YouTube, there are 20 people waiting and more than 100 likes. The company has been gathering questions from registered investors, and users can vote the questions up to ensure they get asked. There are 2,289 questions.
Top Questions and Topics
The top voted question with just under 4,000 votes, which also represents 2.5 million shares, is: After recent price cuts, analysts released expectations that Tesla automotive gross margin excluding leases and reg credits will drop below 20% and average selling price around $47k across all models. Where do you see average selling price and gross margins after the price cuts?
Another question is about the Solar Roof product, its struggles to gain traction, and what changes can be expected in future versions to increase scale. Investors also want to know about the progress of the 4680 battery ramp, the current roadblocks, and when the company expects to scale to 10,000 vehicles a week.
Additionally, investors are curious about the production status of the Cybertruck, the margins for the stationary energy storage business, and the future forecast for Tesla’s energy products. They also want to know about the possible brand damage caused by Elon Musk’s political tweets and how it will be mitigated.
Missing Questions on Advertising
Musk recently tweeted: Teslas are the safest cars on the road, but most people don’t know that. There have been numerous calls for the company to start advertising, and Tesla’s incredible commitment to safety would be an excellent campaign.
However, Tesla has no marketing budget, has not spent a dime on commercials or ads and got rid of the entire communications team years ago. Musk used the same promotion he did with PayPal, paying users to refer. But the referral program was stopped in most regions, and several people are still owed a Roadster.
That was a different time. Legacy automakers are no longer snickering at the tiny Silicon Valley start-up. Instead, they are doing everything they can to catch up to Tesla, including millions of dollars in advertising. Tesla reported a significant boost in sales the day after the 2022 Super Bowl when the competition spent millions on advertising their electric vehicles. But that was when those companies’ EV programs were barely off the ground, and Tesla had inventory to move.
Now Tesla must promote things the average consumer doesn’t know about, like safety, technology and performance. As Musk himself said, people don’t know, so it’s his job to tell them.
By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla is cutting edge, even bleeding edge technology, but sometimes returning to the classics can help too. There is no doubt Elon Musk and likely several Tesla fans watched David Hasselhoff play Michael Knight in Knight Rider in the 1980s.
At that time, the Knight Industries Two Thousand (KITT) Pontiac Firebird Trans Am was the most advanced vehicle on the planet. The artificially intelligent car could do just about anything, drive by itself, take commands and go really, really fast. Those things all sound familiar. Lots of KITT’s features are in Teslas, but there was one item that needed some work — Sentry Mode.
Tesla’s Sentry Mode Improvements in 2022
Tesla continually tweaked and added more features to Sentry Mode in 2022. With the 2022 holiday update Tesla added the ability to view the vehicle’s cabin camera directly from the app when Sentry Mode or Dog Mode are engaged.
In the prior update, Tesla added the ability to turn off camera-based detection, resulting in fewer Sentry Mode alerts in crowded areas. In some regions, Tesla also added the capability to adjust the length of each Sentry Mode clip.
In addition to these enhancements, Tesla now lets you use Sentry Mode and Dog Mode at the same time, as well as being able to disable Sentry Mode sounds.
Sentry Mode to Calm Down
KITT’s advantage was that no one knew it was this technologically advanced car hiding a lot of tricks under the hood. KITT was super stealthy, except for the red light on the front of the shiny black front end, slowly pulsing from side to side.
Sentry Mode is a modern-day KITT, but instead of playing it cool like the Trans Am, Tesla’s Sentry Mode freaks out, blinding everyone in sight. Every Tesla owner has returned to their car with a Sentry Mode notification. A lot of the time, it is some poor unsuspecting person walking to their car, and suddenly they are blinded by thousands of lumens.
Lights will Pulsate in Update 2023.4
Another Sentry Mode improvement is about to be introduced in update 2023.4. When Sentry Mode is enabled, the system will no longer blind passers-by with its bright headlights. Instead of full-on panic mode, it will now emit a gradual pulse of the headlights, ramping them up and down as a sort of warning. Hopefully, this stealthy, calm way of handling the problem will result in fewer surprised people being forced into the spotlight. It will also help when viewing Sentry Mode clips by not washing out the surroundings due to the bright flashes.
This will be one of the features expected in Tesla’s 2023.4 update, which is also expected to include the ability to automatically adjust the temperature of your steering wheel.