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  • Writer's pictureStormie Andrews

From Concept to Global Transformation: The Autonomous Future of Transportation



Introduction


Over the years, we've witnessed the rapid evolution of Tesla's FSD, transitioning from a cautious co-pilot to a confident driver. This journey aligns closely with the predictions of renowned futurist Tony Seba and his think tank RethinkX, who foresee a transformative future with autonomous electric vehicles (AEVs) and transportation as a service (TaaS).


The Early Days of FSD Beta – A Rollercoaster Ride


When I first started using Tesla’s FSD Beta, it was a mix of excitement and anxiety. The system, relying on over 300,000 lines of C++ code, often felt like an unpredictable adventure. One of the most nerve-wracking issues was hard braking, where the car would suddenly decide to slam on the brakes at high speeds. This required me to be constantly ready to override the system, making the experience less than relaxing.


Moreover, FSD Beta drove more like a cautious robot than a confident human driver. Long stops at stop signs, hesitant turns, and an overall lack of confidence were common. Each software update seemed to take a few steps forward and many more backward, making me wonder if autonomous driving would ever become a reality. Despite these challenges, I understood my role in this grand experiment: providing data to improve the system.


Becoming a Believer with FSD V12.3


Everything changed in March 2024 with the upgrade to FSD V12.3. This was the first version created entirely by AI, and the improvements were monumental. The car now drove like a human—smoothly navigating construction zones, handling lane changes confidently, and making complex maneuvers with ease. The only issue I encountered was occasional poor lane selection, but this was a small price to pay for the overall enhancement. My usage of FSD soared from 10-15% to 85-90% of my drives, and I became a true believer in the promise of autonomous driving.



Anticipating FSD V12.4 and Beyond


As of writing this, I’m eagerly awaiting FSD V12.4, touted to be 5 to 10 times better than V12.3. Late June will bring FSD V12.5, expected to be another 5 to 10 times improvement. Within a few months, my Tesla will have transformed from a somewhat unreliable co-pilot to a highly dependable autonomous driver, capable of handling 99% or more of my driving needs. This rapid progression underscores Tesla’s relentless innovation and the exponential advancements enabled by AI.


The Vision of Tony Seba and RethinkX


Tony Seba’s vision aligns perfectly with these advancements. He predicts a future where autonomous electric vehicles are the norm, dramatically reducing the need for personal car ownership. This model, known as Transportation as a Service (TaaS), envisions a fleet of AEVs available on-demand, much like today’s ride-sharing services but without the human driver.


Seba predicts that TaaS will make transportation significantly cheaper—up to 10 to 20 times less expensive per mile than owning a car. This shift could lead to a 75% drop in global car sales by 2030, fundamentally transforming our economic and energy landscapes. Electric vehicles, with their longer lifespans, will further reduce the need for new car production, contributing to environmental sustainability.


The Potential Impact of Robo Taxis


With the incredible advancements in FSD, it’s clear that the future of transportation is autonomous. Tesla’s vision for a Robo taxi fleet is not just a futuristic dream but an imminent reality. My own Tesla Model 3 Performance is already equipped and ready to join this fleet once it’s launched.


Robo taxis have the potential to revolutionize urban transportation. They can reduce traffic congestion, lower emissions, and make better use of urban space. Given the current rate of improvement in FSD, I predict that Tesla’s Robo taxis will be on the road by 2025. This transition will bring safer roads, reduced traffic, and more efficient transportation.



Preparing for an Autonomous Future


As we move towards a future dominated by autonomous vehicles, it’s essential to consider the broader implications. This includes regulatory frameworks, infrastructure adaptations, and societal acceptance. However, the benefits are clear: safer roads, reduced traffic, and more efficient transportation. Autonomous vehicles will increase mobility for those who cannot drive, including the elderly and disabled, and add productive time for former drivers.


Conclusion


Reflecting on my journey with Tesla’s FSD, from the early days of cautious optimism to becoming a true believer, it’s evident that we are on the cusp of a transportation revolution. The advancements in FSD technology are not just incremental; they are transformative. Tony Seba’s vision for a future with autonomous electric vehicles and TaaS is rapidly becoming a reality. With each update, we move closer to a world where autonomous driving is the norm, and Robo taxis are a common sight on our roads.


Buckle up, folks—the future is here, and it’s driving itself.


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