Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted tonight that Tesla has a “holiday update” with a few special gifts in store. The update includes a Tesla full self-driving “sneak preview” and popular indie video game Stardew Valley, among other things.
The update should be out to Tesla’s early access system in “a few more days.”
Earlier this year, Musk said that full self-driving (FSD) would reach “early access” by the end of this year. We hadn’t heard any more about that, and no FSD updates have been pushed to “early access” owners until now.
It looks like we’ll be getting something like full self-driving soon, though, as Musk now says a “sneak preview” is coming before the end of the year.
We don’t know what form this sneak preview will be in yet, but it seems like it will technically fit Musk’s promise of full self-driving by the end of the year, if only in a limited sense.
Tesla holiday software update has FSD sneak preview, Stardew Valley, Lost Backgammon & a few other things
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 20, 2019
Maybe the preview will be time-limited, geographically limited, or merely show owners what the car would do if full self-driving were enabled. We’ll have to wait to find out. Tesla software recently added models for traffic lights and stop signs, presaging that the software would soon be capable of recognizing and responding to them. These are key parts of autonomous driving in off-highway situations.
But we do know that Tesla full self-driving will not allow drivers to be inattentive or out of the driver’s seat while driving the car. Even if this “sneak preview” allows some limited self-driving capability on city streets, it is still currently illegal and ill-advised to let your car drive on its own without paying attention.
Tesla requires that drivers keep their hands on the wheel and ready to take control of the vehicle at all times. We are sure that will remain the case even after this update goes, through.
The update also includes the standout indie game Stardew Valley, which is one of the best-reviewed games in recent years. Tesla added another popular indie game, Cuphead, in their massive V10 update earlier this year.
As for the other games, we’re not sure what Lost Backgammon is, though the game of backgammon did have a prominent part in the first season of the TV Show Lost.
Musk also promised “a few other things.” Some of these could have to do with a recent twitter thread that Musk stated had “some good ideas” in it.
Or it could have something to do with the “easter eggs” that Tesla has a tendency to include in holiday updates. The company often releases winter updates with useful features for winter driving, but there’s generally some sort of fun secret buried in the software.
In 2016, Tesla included an easter egg allowing Model X to “dance” to the tune of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s performance of Wizards in Winter.
In 2017, the holiday update included “Santa mode,” which turns the vehicle into Santa’s sleigh on the vehicle display and changes the turn signal to sound like bells. The mode is activated by saying “Ho Ho Ho” to the car’s voice command system.
And in 2018, Tesla added “Romance mode,” which puts an image of a roaring fireplace on the screen and turns the vehicle heater on maximum.
We’ll be excited to see if we get any more easter eggs this time around, but in terms of fun, Stardew Valley ought to be enough. It’s a fantastic game.
Just don’t play it when you’re using the full self-driving preview. Not quite yet.
Update: Musk has given us a sense of when the update will come out. It should hit early access in “a few more days”:
Needs a few more days of validation, then early access, then wide release
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 20, 2019
Update 2: But unfortunately, it looks like few people will actually get the sneak preview. It’s only going to cars with HW3:
Do we need hw3 in order to get the fsd sneak peak
— Tesla Owners Silicon Valley (@teslaownersSV) December 21, 2019
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 21, 2019
Which means that owners of early Model 3s, who already paid for FSD a while ago, at a higher price than many, and who haven’t yet been upgraded to HW3 hardware, are still not going to have access to the software that they paid for years ago.
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