Tesla gets nod from China for driver assistance system, gears up for debut

Tesla is inching closer to offering its driver-assist features in China. The company secured approval for on-road testing of its ADAS system in Shangh
Tesla Model 3
File photo of a Tesla Model 3 car at a fair in China. (REUTERS)
Tesla Model 3
File photo of a Tesla Model 3 car at a fair in China.

Tesla has received approval to test its advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) on select Shanghai streets, marking a significant step towards offering the technology to Chinese drivers. This news follows CEO Elon Musk's successful visit to Beijing six weeks ago, where he secured initial approval for FSD deployment.

The city of Hangzhou in Zhejiang province could potentially join Shanghai in granting testing permission, according to an anonymous source. Initially, Tesla staff will conduct these closed-road trials. Tesla, Shanghai, and Hangzhou government officials have yet to comment publicly on the development.

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This move aligns with China's growing adoption of ADAS technology. Domestic carmakers like Xpeng and Xiaomi are already leveraging these systems as a key selling point for their vehicles. According to reports, while Tesla's Full Self-Driving (FSD) package costs $8,000 upfront or $99 monthly in the US, it's crucial to note that these features do not render the car fully autonomous and require constant driver supervision.

Also Read : Tesla clears key China assisted-driving hurdle with Baidu deal

In China, Tesla offers FSD as a one-time purchase of 64,000 yuan ($8,800), up from 56,000 yuan in 2020. However, due to current regulations, drivers cannot yet activate FSD functionalities, leading to a low uptake of the option. With these road tests commencing, Tesla is paving the way for a potential future launch of its ADAS features in China, potentially boosting sales of the FSD package.

What is Tesla's FSD?

Tesla's Full Self-Driving (FSD) package isn't quite what the name suggests. It's actually an ADAS that provides features like automatic lane changes on highways, navigating on and off ramps, and responding to traffic lights and stop signs. However, it's crucial to understand that FSD doesn't make the car fully autonomous.

Drivers must remain attentive and ready to take control at any moment. The system relies on a network of cameras, radar, and ultrasonic sensors feeding data to software that makes decisions about steering, acceleration, and braking. FSD is still under development, and regulations can limit the features available in different regions. So, while FSD can enhance certain driving tasks, it's not a self-driving solution, and responsible driver supervision remains essential.

First Published Date: 18 Jun 2024, 06:17 AM IST

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