Charismatic Tesla CEO Elon Musk had a strange choice of words regarding his car’s self-driving features. On a company earnings call on Wednesday, Musk mentioned that Full Self Driving technology might be released by the end of the year.

Full Self-Driving (FSD) is not to be confused with the existing Autopilot technology that exists in many Tesla models. Here are the differences, directly from Tesla’s website:


  • Traffic-Aware Cruise Control: Matches the speed of your car to that of the surrounding traffic
  • Autosteer: Assists in steering within a clearly marked lane, and uses traffic-aware cruise control

Full Self-Driving Capability

  • Navigate on Autopilot (Beta): Actively guides your car from a highway’s on-ramp to off-ramp, including suggesting lane changes, navigating interchanges, automatically engaging the turn signal and taking the correct exit
  • Auto Lane Change: Assists in moving to an adjacent lane on the highway when Autosteer is engaged
  • Autopark: Helps automatically parallel or perpendicular park your car, with a single touch
  • Summon: Moves your car in and out of a tight space using the mobile app or key
  • Smart Summon: Your car will navigate more complex environments and parking spaces, maneuvering around objects as necessary to come find you in a parking lot.
  • Coming later this year:
    • Recognize and respond to traffic lights and stop signs
    • Automatic driving on city streets

Unfortunately for Tesla owners looking forward to FSD, Musk went to clarify that it might not be perfect. He claimed that while some users might get a “feature complete” version of the new software, that “doesn’t mean features are working well.”

Umm, what?

Musk tried to clarify.

“…it doesn’t mean like every scenario everywhere on Earth, including every corner case.” So despite the over promise of the program’s name, FSD will not actually offer completely autonomous driving.

“Feature complete just means like it has some chance of going from your home to work with no interventions,” said Musk, according to Kirsten Korosec of Techcrunch. “So that’s, doesn’t mean features are working well.”

Tesla loves to advertise their car’s self-driving tech. However, they have come under fire for their exaggerated naming. For example, Autopilot does not automatically pilot your vehicle from A to B. Similarly, Full Self-Driving still requires drivers to have their hands on the wheels and eyes on the roads, paying full attention and ready to take over. Neither technology lives up to their name, really.


Devon is a writer, editor, and veteran of the online publishing world. He has a particular love for classic muscle cars.