‘Oh My Word:’ Tesla FSD Wows Boris Johnson As It Drives His Family Around ‘Hair-Raising’ LA Roads; Ex-UK Leader Reveals New Feature In Works – Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA)

‘Oh My Word:’ Tesla FSD Wows Boris Johnson As It Drives His Family Around ‘Hair-Raising’ LA Roads; Ex-UK Leader Reveals New Feature In Works – Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA)


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Tesla, Inc’s (NASDAQ:TSLAFull Self-Driving technology, which the electric vehicle maker promotes as FSD (Supervised), has gained a raving fan from across the Atlantic. Following a ride in a Tesla vehicle equipped with the technology in Los Angeles, former U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was visibly impressed.

What Happened: Johnson had a first-hand experience with Tesla’s FSD on Friday when he drove around LA streets in a self-driving car, along with his wife and 10-month-old baby, the former head of the U.K. government said in his Daily Mail column. He acknowledged that this was something unheard of or incredulous some 10 years back.

“We are about to be conveyed in a new type of car, so preposterous, so audacious, so revolutionary that ten years ago I would have refused to believe that it was possible. Maybe on some test track; maybe in lab conditions – but I never expected to see it in the heavy traffic of a major urban centre,” he said.

Johnson noted that the car had dozens of tiny cameras, concealed in the car’s sleek white bodywork and a neural system, which he called an “electronic brain.”

Quite astonished at the “phantom” driving, Johnson said, “I am sitting at the wheel, but not touching it, and though my feet are near the pedals, I am not using them – and oh my word, the steering wheel is twiddling itself.”

See Also: Best EV Stocks

“Now it’s indicating, giving way, floating across the traffic with all the delicacy and tact of a living chauffeur. It’s so human, I gasp, so smooth.”

Johnson also described how the self-driving vehicle navigated through different scenarios on the road. As they approached a “very tricky” crossroads, where five roads met, he was apparently worried about the technology malfunctioning. The Tesla representative, who traveled with the ex-prime minister, reassured the passengers.

To Johnson’s delight, the vehicle turned in the intended direction. “With impeccable good manners, giving all other vehicles plenty of notice, we turn left, and I become so relaxed that I am able to take in the boldness of Tesla’s plan,” he said.

Johnson also contrasted Tesla with the Waymo driverless vehicles operating on LA streets. While Waymo’s cars could only navigate a small part of the city as they were programmed for those streets, Tesla’s, armed with cameras and neural networks, can go anywhere once fully licensed and approved, he said.

A Tesla representative told Johnson that the vehicle was five or six times safer than a human driver. 

Johnson recounted an incident where a pedestrian slowly walked in front of the vehicle. “Instinctively I reach for the wheel; my toe twitches for the brake; but I need not have worried,” he said. He noted that the car had the man under observation, indicated by a “tiny human figurine that appeared on the electronic streetscape on the dashboard.”

Passing the verdict on the driverless car after the 45-minute drive, Johnson said the car passed with flying colors.

New Feature Coming? However, he recounted a moment of mild confusion when they parked in front of the Waldorf Astoria hotel and the car did not respond to the uniformed doorman’s waving. The Tesla representative explained that the tech doesn’t yet recognize the gesture and that it would be fixed in the next iteration, which is due to roll out next month.

Boris shared his previous experience with the Tesla brand way back in 2009 with a Lotus-shaped Roadster. “It conked out on the M40, and I was left with some skepticism about the future of the brand,” he said.

“Well, I am not making that mistake again. It seems outlandish now. It seems bonkers. But I have seen enough to know it’s going to happen, and that sooner or later there will be a tipping point.”

Why It Matters: Tesla has a lot riding on the FSD tech, given its core EV business is facing slowing demand and intense competition. Also, the technology is core to the robotaxi service the company plans to unveil on Aug. 8. To shore up profitability, which has been dented due to repeated price cuts, the company is eyeing the “razor-razor blade” strategy — undercutting competition with reduced prices for its EVs and making up for the hit by selling high-margin recurring FSD revenue.

FSD is now available for outright purchase at $8,000, or a $99 monthly subscription. The company is also in negotiations to launch the tech in China.

The FSD graduated from beta testing to FSD (Supervised) in late March, and the company made it available for its users across North America for a free one-month trial. The take rate, however, following the end of the free trial was subpar.

Tesla ended Friday’s session up 1.50% at $177.46, according to data from Benzinga Pro.

Check out more of Benzinga’s Future Of Mobility coverage by following this link.

See Also: Make Tesla Great Again? Elon Musk Concurs With Steps To Transform EV Maker Into Top Global Company

Image made via Shutterstock photos


27% profits every 20 days?

This is what Nic Chahine averages with his options buys. Not selling covered calls or spreads… BUYING options. Most traders don’t even have a winning percentage of 27% buying options. He has an 83% win rate. Here’s how he does it.


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