What to expect from Tesla’s long-awaited FSD version 11

Tesla has started rolling out version 11 of its Full Self-Driving (FSD) beta software to employees and testers after several months of delays. The EV-maker hasn’t officially shared release notes on FSD Beta V11.3, but leaked notes and videos from beta testers have surfaced online, giving us a better idea of what’s to come.

FSD beta V11.3 promises to allow a Tesla to drive itself completely from A to B through cities and highways by combining FSD and Autopilot capabilities into a single-stack system. Today, drivers can engage FSD on city and residential streets to handle things like responding to stop signs and traffic signals. Highway driving is available via Autopilot’s software, which can automate driving tasks like traffic-aware cruise control and automatic steering in clearly marked lanes.

The latest version enables FSD beta on highways, which “unifies the vision and planning stack on and off-highway and replaces the legacy highway stack, which is over four years old,” according to release notes shared on Reddit. The notes continue:

The legacy highway stack still relies on several single-camera and single-frame networks, and was setup to handle simple lane-specific maneuvers. FSD Beta’s multi-camera video networks and next-gen planner, that allows for more complex agent interactions with less reliance on lanes, make way for adding more intelligent behaviors, smoother control and better decision making.

It’s this capacity for better decision making that has led to an additional highway behavior that moves the car away from blocked lanes and generic obstacles like road debris. Relying less on lanes also vehicles  move more smoothly at highway lane splits because the software is programmed to be less strict about centering between lane lines and allowing lower jerk maneuvers, according to the release notes.

FSD 11 also promises smoother merges and improved speed-based lane change decisions, as well as reduced sensitivity for speed-based lane changes in Chill mode. (Chill mode is one of Tesla’s three driving modes and it provides a larger follow distance between the Tesla and the car in front of it, and performs fewer speed-based lane changes. The other two modes are Average and Assertive.)

Those who have been granted early access to V11.3 have said the new software provides a more seamless overall experience, but it’s not entirely free from issues that have led to disengagements. When disengagements happen, though Version 11 includes a voice drive notes feature that prompts the driver to record and send Tesla an anonymous message to describe what happened.

Some other version 11 updates include:

  • Expanded automatic emergency braking in the case of vehicles crossing the car’s path and stealing the right of way — this feature will be active in both manual and Autopilot operations.
  • Improved Autopilot reaction time to red light and stop sign runners by 500 meters through increased reliance on an object’s instantaneous kinematics and trajectory estimates.
  • Reduced latency of trajectory optimization by 20% on average.
  • New visualizations with gray road edges and a wider representation of the car’s path.

FSD version 11, coming to a Tesla near you?

CEO Elon Musk had originally promised to get the latest version of FSD to drivers before the end of 2022, but has since delayed the release several times.

In early February, he tweeted, “V11 has been tougher than expected, as it is a significant rearchitecture of [neural networks], plus many more NNs replacing C++. Hoping to ship v11.3 end of week.”

A couple weeks later, Tesla released v11.3.2 to limited beta testers, from whom it will collect data before a more widespread release starting in North America. After that, Tesla will adapt the software for EU roads and submit to regulators, said Musk.

Even though customers are eager to try out the new FSD version, they might have to wait a little longer. Last week, Tesla issued a recall of around 360,000 vehicles with FSD in the U.S. (Tesla has rolled out FSD to 400,000 vehicles in North America) after an analysis from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found the advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) could allow vehicles to act unsafe around intersections and cause crashes.

Musk has been quick to point out that when it comes to Teslas, a “recall” isn’t exactly the right word because the company fixes bugs through over-the-air software (OTA) updates, rather than physically recalling cars to dealers to be fixed. OTA updates are also how Tesla sends out new versions of FSD, so it’s entirely possible that the company will use version 11 to fix the problems regulators have pointed out.

Tesla disbanded its communications department in 2020 and could not be reached for comment.

What to expect from Tesla’s long-awaited FSD version 11 by Rebecca Bellan originally published on TechCrunch

NHTSA requests info after Tesla crashes into fire truck

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said Monday it has asked Tesla to provide more information after one of its vehicles crashed into a fire truck in California, Bloomberg reported.

The agency did not confirm to TechCrunch what kind of information it is seeking, but NHTSA likely wants to determine whether one of Tesla’s advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) — Autopilot or Full Self-Driving (FSD) beta — was engaged at the time of the crash.

The Contra Costa County fire department tweeted about the incident Saturday, asking road users to slow down and move over when approaching emergency vehicles.

“Truck 1 was struck by a Tesla while blocking I-680 lanes from a previous accident,” the tweet said. “Driver pronounced dead on-scene; passenger was extricated & transported to hospital. Four firefighters also transported for evaluation.”

The tweet included photos of the accident, including several of a completely totaled Tesla.

NHTSA has opened dozens of special crash investigations (SCI) into Tesla vehicles where Autopilot was suspected of being used. Of the 48 SCIs that have been opened and closed between June 2016 and July 2022, 39 involved Teslas. And of those 39, only three were confirmed to have not involved Autopilot. NHTSA still has many open investigations into crashes involving Teslas, some of which were fatal. The agency doesn’t comment on open investigations.

This latest fatal crash comes a few days after Tesla issued a recall for 362,758 vehicles to update its FSD software after regulators said FSD could allow the vehicles to act unsafe around intersections and cause crashes. The recall followed a Super Bowl ad taken out by Tesla’s biggest hater, The Dawn Project, that called on regulators to ban FSD until critical safety defects are fixed.

Tesla has come under scrutiny from a range of federal and state regulators for the safety of its ADAS. Earlier this month, the Department of Justice requested information from Tesla on Autopilot and FSD, potentially as part of a criminal investigation into the company.

NHTSA requests info after Tesla crashes into fire truck by Rebecca Bellan originally published on TechCrunch

Tesla’s biggest hater airs Super Bowl ad against FSD

Safety advocacy group The Dawn Project is taking its campaign to ban Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) system to the Super Bowl.

The 30-second ad, which is broadcasting to millions of football fans in Washington D.C. and state capitals like Austin, Tallahassee, Albany, Atlanta and Sacramento, outlines several alleged critical safety defects of Tesla FSD, the automaker’s advanced driver assistance system (ADAS).

FSD is not actually fully self-driving, although it can perform some automated driving tasks like maneuvering through city streets and highways without driver input. The $15,000 system isn’t perfect, though, and drivers must remain alert to take over in case the system malfunctions or comes across something it can’t handle. There have been several reports of accidents occurring while Autopilot, Tesla’s lower level ADAS, was engaged. As a result, Tesla has been criticized, investigated and sued for falsely marketing the capabilities of its automated driving systems.

This most recent critique comes as Tesla has recently released its latest version of FSD to around 400,000 drivers in North America, renewing concerns of the system’s safety. Last month, a Tesla engineer testified that a 2016 demo in which the company claimed its car was driving itself was actually staged.

The Super Bowl ad features a collection of incriminating videos of Teslas behaving erratically while a voice over claims FSD will “run down a child in a school crosswalk, swerve into oncoming traffic, hit a baby in a stroller, go straight past stopped school buses, ignore ‘do not enter’ signs, and even drive on the wrong side of the road.”

The Dawn Project asserts that Tesla’s “deceptive marketing” and “woefully inept engineering” is endangering the public, and calls on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Department of Motor vehicles to turn off FSD until all of the safety defects are fixed.

The Dawn Project’s founder, Dan O’Dowd, is also the CEO of Green Hill Software, a company that builds operating systems for embedded safety and security systems, as well as its own automated driving systems. That fact at once lends credence to the organization’s potential subject matter expertise, and makes it clear that Green Hill is in competition with Tesla’s FSD. Last year, The Dawn Project took out a full page ad in The New York Times claiming Tesla’s FSD has a “critical malfunction every eight minutes.”

O’Dowd, who ran for a seat in the U.S. Senate last November and lost, says he’s making the investment in the new ad campaign because he wants to put pressure on politicians to prioritize ADAS safety. Some politicians like Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) have called for more oversight on Tesla’s tech, but the issue hasn’t exactly gone mainstream.

After The Dawn Project aired a commercial last summer showing a Tesla Model 3 striking four different child-sized mannequins while driving a test track in California, Tesla sent the organization a cease-and-desist letter. The letter refuted all of the campaign’s claims, doubled down on Tesla’s commitment to safety and called to question The Dawn Project’s methodology.

“The purported tests misuse and misrepresent the capabilities of Tesla’s technology, and disregard widely recognized testing performed by independent agencies as well as the experiences shared by our customers,” wrote Dinna Eskin, a Tesla lawyer, in last year’s cease-and-desist. “In fact, unsolicited scrutiny of the methodology behind The Dawn Project’s tests has already (and within hours of you publicly making defamatory allegations) shown that the testing is seriously deceptive and likely fraudulent.”

Tesla supporters also rushed to defend the technology, including one investor who tested the FSD beta using his own kid. O’Dowd offered to run the test with Musk and other critics in person to prove the accuracy and methodology of his tests.

“Tesla continues to focus on features and marketing gimmicks, not fixing critical safety defects,” said O’Dowd in a statement.”Elon even stated that Tesla’s priorities were Smart Summon, Autopark and Optimus, not making sure that FSD will not run down children. It is clear that the priorities at Tesla are wrong, and it is time for the regulator to step in and switch the software off until all of the issues we have identified are fixed.”

Tesla hasn’t responded publicly to the Super Bowl ad, but CEO Elon Musk replied to a tweet showing the ad with the Rolling on the Floor Laughing emoji. Tesla disbanded its PR department in 2020, so TechCrunch couldn’t reach out for a comment.

In addition to the Super Bowl ad, The Dawn Project is also taking out a series of full page ads in Politico and running additional TV ads in Washington, D.C., “where regulators are located,” that will call on FSD to be disabled until critical safety defects are fixed.

Tesla’s biggest hater airs Super Bowl ad against FSD by Rebecca Bellan originally published on TechCrunch

DOJ requests Autopilot, FSD documents from Tesla

The U.S. Department of Justice has asked Tesla for documents related to its branded Full Self-Driving and Autopilot advanced driver assistance systems, the automaker disclosed in a securities filing.

Tesla said in the filing it “has received requests from the DOJ for documents related to Tesla’s Autopilot and FSD features.” “To our knowledge no government agency in any ongoing investigation has concluded that any wrongdoing occurred,” Tesla noted in the 10K filing that was posted Monday.

Tesla has been under investigation by the DOJ for at least a year, Reuters reported last fall, citing three people  familiar with the matter.” It’s unclear if the DOJ’s request for documents is connected to that investigation, which was launched in late 2021 following more than a dozen accidents involving the active use of Tesla’s Autopilot system.

Tesla vehicles come standard with a driver assistance system branded as Autopilot. For an additional $15,000, owners can buy “full self-driving,” or FSD — a feature that CEO Elon Musk has repeatedly promised will one day deliver full autonomous driving capabilities.

Neither one of these systems are self-driving. Autopilot and FSD are advanced driver assistance systems that automate some driving tasks and still require the driver to be ready to take over at any moment. Autopilot keeps the vehicle centered in the lane, can automatically change lanes and maintains the proper distance from other vehicles in traffic. FSD has those features and more including an active guidance system that navigates a car from a highway on-ramp to off-ramp, including interchanges and making lane changes.

Musk’s claims and promises of these systems as well as the branding has caught the attention of regulators. The DOJ’s inquiry reflects an uptick in regulator scrutiny of Tesla.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is investigating Tesla CEO Elon Musk regarding specific comments and efforts to promote the automaker’s claims regarding its “self-driving” capabilities. The investigation follows a testimony from a Tesla engineer that a 2016 video purporting to show a Tesla vehicle driving itself was in fact staged, and that Musk directed the video.

Tesla has been investigated and sued by several agencies and individuals for its claims of self-driving.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened a number special investigations into Tesla for crashes involving Autopilot; the California Department of Motor Vehicles has accused Tesla of falsely advertising its ADAS; and drivers have sued the company for deceitful marketing.

All of the attention hasn’t thwarted Musk. During Tesla’s fourth quarter 2022 earnings call, Musk said “full self-driving is obviously getting better very rapidly.” In the past he has boasted that Tesla was close to “solving” full self-driving.

DOJ requests Autopilot, FSD documents from Tesla by Rebecca Bellan originally published on TechCrunch

Tesla extends FSD access amid regulator scrutiny

Tesla is extending access to its advanced driver assistance system, Full Self-Driving (FSD) Beta version, to 160,000 owners in the U.S. and Canada, according to a tweet Monday from Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Around 100,000 Tesla owners currently have access to the controversial driver assist system, which, for a price tag of $15,000, promises to automate certain driving tasks such as assisted steering on highways and city streets, smart vehicle summoning, automatic parking and recognizing and reacting to traffic lights and stop signs. The expansion comes at a time when federal and state regulators, as well as Tesla owners and other concerned citizens, are coming down on FSD and Autopilot, Tesla’s less advanced driver assist system, after a series of crashes and other potentially life-threatening errors.

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) is currently investigating 16 crashes in which Tesla owners were potentially engaging the ADAS when they crashed into stationary emergency vehicles. In July, California’s Department of Motor Vehicles accused Tesla of falsely advertising its systems.

Just last week, a Tesla owner filed a proposed class action lawsuit against the company for deceitfully advertising Autopilot and FSD as either fully functioning or close to being “solved” since 2016, despite knowing full well that the systems cannot perform as advertised. The plaintiff alleged that Tesla’s ADAS — which can cost up to $15,000 for FSD — causes vehicles to run red lights, miss turns and veer into traffic.

Musk has admitted that Tesla is basically worthless without FSD, but in the same breath he’ll say that the company is close to “solving” full self-driving by the end of this year. However, despite actually dangerous mistakes the software has made, FSD still seems to fail at reaching human-levels for certain basic driving tasks.

“Loving FSD Beta — but — could the vehicle initiate the turn signal before switching into the turn lane?” tweeted one cautious Tesla owner. “It uses the signal for speed-based lane changes but not for merging into a turn lane.”

“Elon when will the tesla speed up when noticing traffic is going faster? Sometimes it’s going slow,” from Tesla Owners Silicon Valley. Musk promised that update would come next month.

Musk also noted on Twitter that the Autopilot/AI team is also working on Optimus, Tesla’s humanoid robot, alongside “actually smart summon/autopark,” both of which have end of month deadlines. Tesla’s AI Day is scheduled for September 30, and Musk is expected to provide updates on a range of technology, including Optimus.

During Tesla’s first-quarter earnings this year, Musk said Optimus, which will be designed to take the drudgery out of household tasks, will be “worth more than the car business, worth more than FSD.”

While Musk has several times underscored the importance that Optimus will have in the company’s future, the fact that the same team responsible for Autopilot is working on a robot implies that Optimus is still just a bit of a side project, rather than a development program.

Tesla extends FSD access amid regulator scrutiny by Rebecca Bellan originally published on TechCrunch

How Xpeng’s city navigation will stack up against Tesla’s FSD

Xpeng, a Chinese smart electric vehicle startup, has launched its anticipated advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) that automates some driving functions in urban environments.

City Navigation Guided Pilot (City NGP), an expanded version of Xpeng’s NGP, which performed tasks like assisted driving on highways based on the navigation route set by the driver, is being tested on a pilot basis in Guangzhou. Certain Xpeng P5 family sedan customers in the city can now get access to City NGP via an over-the-air update before a wider rollout, according to the company.

Xpeng’s City NGP has been compared to Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) beta software — Xpeng’s tech promises to do similar things to Tesla’s ADAS, including cruise control, automatic lane changes, navigating around stationary vehicles or obstacles, detecting and reacting to traffic lights, taking left or right turns, navigating through intersections, and avoiding obstructions like construction, pedestrians and cyclists.

At least, that’s what the technology promises to do; whether it will perform as advertised is another question. Tesla has faced myriad complaints and lawsuits for failing to meet its promised capabilities.

Tesla and Xpeng aim to eventually achieve full autonomous driving through sequential rollouts of their driver assist systems purchased and tested by drivers on real roads. The main difference, and one that may be the key here, is in the companies’ sensor stacks. Tesla has doggedly pursued a vision-only approach to full self-driving that is based on cameras and neural network processing. Xpeng, like most other companies aiming for autonomous driving, has a full suite of sensors that include cameras, lidar and radar.

“With the rollout of City NGP, XPeng is spearheading a strategic road map to complete our ADAS coverage from highways and parking lots to much more complex city driving scenarios, offering our customers enhanced safety and an optimized driving experience,” He Xiaopeng, chairman and CEO of XPeng, said in a statement. “We believe the continuous evolvement of City NGP and the expansion of its coverage will accelerate the transformation of the driving experiences of our customers.”

Ultimately, City NGP is a feature of Xpilot 3.5, Xpeng’s latest version of its standard ADAS (like how Teslas come standard with Autopilot). Drivers piloting City NGP will require a “seven-day familiarization period — and 100 km of driving — before its functions can be used on all available roads,” according to the company. Going forward, Xpeng’s full-scenario ADAS will be introduced to the automaker’s new flagship G9 SUV, which will launch in China on September 21.

Xpeng did not immediately respond to requests for more information about whether City NGP will be available on all vehicles going forward or whether drivers will incur an additional cost for City NGP. Xpilot 3.5 currently costs about $6,420 (RMB 45,000). Tesla recently raised the price of its FSD software to $15,000 in North America.

How Xpeng’s city navigation will stack up against Tesla’s FSD by Rebecca Bellan originally published on TechCrunch

Musk claps back at customer criticism of Tesla FSD beta

Elon Musk hasn’t taken kindly to recent criticism of Tesla FSD beta software — the soon-to-be $15,000 upgraded version of its advanced driver assistance system that the CEO promises one day will deliver full autonomous driving capabilities.

When a Tesla owner publicly criticized the latest update of the FSD beta software, Musk clapped back via Twitter.

“Unfortunately I have to say I’m still having to intervene to correct #FSDBeta 10.69 in my area,” James Locke, a Tesla owner, tweeted Tuesday. “Still lots of work to go. I know this is probably not a popular opinion but the focusing on the ‘Chuck’ complex left is getting ahead of the needs of some more basic control issues.”

Locke also tweeted that FSD was still struggling with right turns and other basic tasks. Musk recently announced an increase in cost for the FSD software, from $12,000 to $15,000, effective September 5, a hike that Locke said was “now a little premature given the ongoing issues across so many situations.” The customer wrote that he’s spent more than $32,000 paying for the system multiple times.

“10.69 is in limited release for a reason,” replied Musk. “Please do not ask to be included in early beta releases and then complain.”

Tesla’s FSD, aside from apparently not being great at right turns, is not actually a fully self-driving system. It still requires drivers to stay alert and be prepared to take over the vehicle at any time. The California Department of Motor Vehicles has accused Tesla of falsely advertising its ADAS systems, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is currently investigating several crashes, some of which were fatal, involving Tesla’s Autopilot system, a less advanced driver assist system.

A lot hinges on the success of Tesla’s FSD system, which Musk has said will mean the difference between the company “being worth a lot of money or worth basically zero.” Musk said last month that the service was “ridiculously cheap” given how good of a service it is, and that he expects to “solve full self-driving” by the end of this year.

Musk has an active presence and following on Twitter, with plenty of loyal reply guys ready to drag anyone (including journalists) who dare to criticize him or Tesla. To preempt any backlash, Locke’s thread also included faith that Tesla will solve these issues.

“I just know I get some angry comments off my comments like this,” tweeted Locke. “Honored to be a Beta tester for this amazing product.”

Locke did not respond to TechCrunch’s request for further information.

The Station: EVs abound at Monterey Car Week and Tesla amateur testing spreads to include kids

The Station is a weekly newsletter dedicated to all things transportation. Sign up here — just click The Station — to receive it every weekend in your inbox.

Welcome back to The Station, your central hub for all past, present and future means of moving people and packages from Point A to Point B. 

It’s Monterey Car Week! And that means lots of luxury vehicles, hypercars and even some EV startups at the annual event in California. Reporter Jaclyn Trop and contributor Roberto Baldwin were on the ground talking to executives, designers and founders about the vehicles they showcased and what is coming in the future.

The big takeaway (aside from the complete lack of WiFi at Quail): EVs were everywhere and the well-heeled were packing booths of EV makers like Lucid Group.

Here is some of our coverage so far: (with more on the way!)

Acura’s EV vision

Lincoln’s latest EV concept is a land yacht

Lucid launches new EV performance brand with a three-motor $249,000 sedan (Lucid’s answer to the Tesla Plaid)

Polestar CEO sees value in EVs, even when they’re parked

One more note. Our transportation founder Q&A series is still going strong over at TC+ and this week, Rebecca Bellan checked back in (a year after the first interview) with Zūm founder Ritu Narayan.

You can always email me at kirsten.korosec@techcrunch.com to share thoughts, criticisms, opinions, or tips. You also can send a direct message to @kirstenkorosec


the station scooter1a

Let’s start off with a sardonic giggle. Have a geez at this excellent, and hilarious, read of what it’s like riding a bike in an American city

Now, during my voyage down this strip of pavement that’s about as wide as a paper towel roll and surrounded by large vehicles driven by people who hate me for no reason, I will face many perils. I will face the towering metal rear ends of illegally parked postal trucks. I will face hundreds—nay—thousands of glass shards from shattered Miller Lite bottles. I will face potholes deep enough to turn me and my bike into something out of Picasso’s Guernica. And you will witness me conquer them all in a glorious spectacle of labored breathing and back sweat!

OK, back to the news …

Bolt (the EU one, not the disappearing Bolt Mobility) says it has quadrupled its business globally since the start of the pandemic. It operates in 45 countries and more than 500 cities, an increase of more than 200% since before the pandemic. The company is also hiring. It has more than 350 open roles and plans to hire 700 more employees by the end of the year. Bolt also said it will invest another €150 million to expand micromobility across Europe. 

Horace Dediu has a new essay on the dominance of short trips versus long trips and what that says about the potential market for micromobility options. 

The Inflation Reduction Act might have left out incentives for e-bikes in the U.S., but France didn’t. The country is introducing a new €5 million grant scheme for people purchasing e-bikes or e-cargo bikes. Those who scap an old car to switch to an e-bike get a bonus of €3,000.

Los Angeles, still a famously unfriendly city to bikes, is introducing a 2024 voter initiative that will fast track the city’s ambitious traffic plan to bring in hundreds of miles of more walkable and bikeable streets by implementing changes every time the roads are repaved. The City Council will possibly adopt the policy outright or send it to voters. 

Spin is working with Carnegie Mellon University and the City of Pittsburgh to launch a study that will give up to 50 low-income residents in the city free access to shared mobility and public transit services to study the effects on socioeconomic progress. The one-year research project will study the potential to improve people’s economic, health and social outcomes by giving them easier access to jobs, education, healthcare, social services and recreational activities. 

Apparently people like to get lit up and ride scooters, at least in Oslo, where Tier ran a study of e-scooter injuries and found 4 out of 10 involved intoxicated riders! So, like other micromobility companies, Tier is introducing a drunk test to some cities. The test asks them to match the angle of their phone with an angle displayed on a screen – this little practice of hand-eye coordination will be done three times within a set time frame, and if a rider fails, they will be asked to call a cab, ya lush! 

— Rebecca Bellan

A little bird

blinky cat bird green

We hear and see things — and we like to share them with you!

Here’s a small “little bird” item for this week. BMW no longer has a permit to test autonomous vehicles in the state of California.

One of my eagle-eyed co-workers spotted the change. I asked the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the agency that regulates AVs in the state. A spokesperson confirmed the removal and added that it was BMW pulled its own permit.

Deal of the week

money the station

This week, let’s turn our attention to China and robotaxis.

SAIC Mobility, an arm of state-owned Chinese automaker SAIC that aims to launch a commercial robotaxi service, raised $148 million (RMB 1 billion). While that might not be the same level as some of the eye-popping external raises of U.S. robotaxi companies Cruise and Waymo, it is notable.

According to the company, the funds will be used to scale its robotaxi service in China, which it will operate in partnership with autonomous vehicle company Momenta.

SAIC Group led the Series B round that also saw participation from Momenta, Gaoheng Management Consulting and other institutions. The funding brought SAIC Mobility’s total valuation to more than $1 billion.

Other deals that got my attention …

Aero Technologies, an air travel company, raised $65 million — $50 million in capital and $15 million in convertible notes — in a Series B round that pushed its post-money valuation of $300 million. The funding round was co-led by investment firm Albacore Capital Group, returning investors Expa and Keyframe Capital and new participation from Capital One Ventures.

American Airlines said it will buy up to 20 jets from Boom Supersonic, an aircraft maker that aims to commercialize supersonic, and super-fast, flight.

AtoB, the fintech payments platform focused on trucking, raised $155 million in equity and debt in a Series B round led by Elad Gil and General Catalyst. Collaborative Fund, Contrary Capital, XYZ Venture Capital and Leadout Capital also participated.

Exponent Energy, the Bangalore-based startup developing a rapid EV charger, raised a $13 million in a Series A round.

Graphex Group, the maker of graphene products for lithium-ion batteries in China, raised $12 million by offering by offering 4.7 million ADSs (American depository shares) at $2.50. The company uplisted those shares to the New York Stock Exchange.

Just Eat Takeaway agreed to sell its stake in Brazil’s iFood to Prosus for up to 1.8 billion euros ($1.8 billion).

Walmart is acquiring Delivery Drivers Inc. for an undisclosed amount. Delivery Drivers is the gig-labor management company that has been a partner in Walmart’s Spark Driver platform.

Notable news and other tidbits

Autonomous vehicles

Motional, the Aptiv-Hyundai joint venture that’s working to commercialize autonomous driving technology, launched its IONIQ 5-based robotaxi for driverless ride-hail operations on the Lyft network in Las Vegas.

ADAS and other in-car tech

Tesla collects mammoth amounts of data. The NYT goes deep into one crash involving a Tesla with Autopilot activated and attempts to answer the question: Can Tesla data help us understand car crashes?

Tesla is also coming under fire from federal and state regulators over both the safety and the capabilities of its Autopilot advanced driver assistance system.

And speaking of Tesla, remember when I briefly wrote about Whole Mars Catalog, YouTube and Twitter accounts run by Omar Qazi, a shareholder and major booster of Tesla, who suggested using real children to test whether the vehicle’s latest driver assistance system would automatically avoid colliding with pedestrians? The idea came in response to a national advertising campaign from software company founder Dan O’Dowd who criticizes Tesla’s driver assistance features. Tesla fans have used blow-up dolls and mannequins as a rebuttal. And now, they’re using their own kids. Cool cool.

Yep, you read this correctly: people are actually conducting amateur tests with their children. In one case, YouTube took down a video posted on the Whole Mars Catalog channel that shows one Tesla owner using their kid in an amateur safety test, CNBC’s Lora Kolodny reported.


Bird missed Q2 revenue estimates slightly, bringing in $76.7 million for the quarter and a net loss of $310.4 million. Bird’s total number of rides doubled QoQ, but because the shared scooter company has put so many more vehicles on the road, the actual number of rides per vehicle dropped nearly 20%. Bird also suffered a decrease in average ride fare YoY. None of this is particularly attractive for investors, especially after Bird dropped its retail unit and laid off a bunch of workers. But the company is optimistic that it will realize savings from restructuring by Q3. 

Faraday Future, maker of the long-delayed FF91 EV, reported operating losses more than quadrupled in the second quarter. The company said it plans to raise funds; and it better, as it only had $121 million left at the quarter ended June 30.

Gogoro posted revenue of $90.7 million, up 5.3% YoY, and a net loss of $121.1 million, up from $20.6 million in the second quarter. The battery swap company has faced some challenges, including a resurgence of COVID-19 in Asia, lockdowns in China and a surging U.S. dollar, which has impacted revenue and which Gogoro expects will continue to have outsize effects on guidance for the second half of the year.

Helbiz generated $4.4 million in revenue in the second quarter, mostly from shared micromobility rides. However, some of that revenue came from Helbiz’s weird Italian soccer streaming service. That’s on top of a net loss of nearly $20 million. Helbiz has about $2.5 million in cash left.

Electric vehicles & batteries

Dodge revealed an EV concept very close to an upcoming production model that looks and sounds like the gas-powered Charger muscle car that will be discontinued next year.

J.D. Power released a survey that found while public charging stations are a tad easier to come by these days, faulty chargers are souring the experience and hampering EV adoption.

National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration estimates that 9,560 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in the first quarter, about 7% more than the same-period last year. This is the highest number of first-quarter fatalities since 2002.

Ola, the Indian ridehailing firm, said it plans to start producing electric cars by 2024

Polestar said it will launch an EV roadster in 2026. Will Tesla bring its roadster to market first?

President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law and there is a complicated section that deals with EV tax credits. Among the requirements is that an EV need to have final assembly in North America to qualify.

Revel launched a small-scale vehicle-to-grid (V2G) at a warehouse in Brooklyn. So far, the startup is only powering three Nissan Leafs. However, the program is a chance for Revel to prove out a fleet-based use case for bidirectional chargers, which both charge EVs and discharge them to send energy stored in their batteries back to Con Edison’s NYC grid.

Rivian is discontinuing Explore, the cheapest trim level of its all-electric truck and SUV, due to low customer demand.

TechCrunch’s Jaclyn Trop writes about how battery investment is moving onshore to kickstart U.S. EV production (TC+ subscription)


DoorDash is ending its partnership with Walmart after more than four years of delivering the retail giant’s products to customers.

A heatwave in some parts of China prompted local governments to halt industrial power use. That led to splashy headlines in the West like “China heat wave shuts Tesla suppliers.” TechCrunch’s Rita Liao explains what is really going on.

Porsche plans to build and operate a solar power microgrid at its U.S. headquarters in Atlanta, an action it says will reduce its annual carbon emissions by 3.2 million pounds.

Toyota Research Institute (TRI) and Northwestern University have launched a  nanomaterial “data factory” that will accelerate new materials discovery. The first application of the data factory will be used to discover new catalysts to make fuel cell vehicles more efficient.  TRI and Northwestern believe this method of materials discovery will have wide-ranging applications, including clean hydrogen production, CO2 removal from air and high-efficiency solar cells.

Uber is shutting down its free loyalty program, Uber Rewards, so it can focus on its subscription-based Uber One membership.


Autoliv appointed Gustav Lundgren to the board, replacing Min Liu who resigned.

General Motors appointed Tapestry CEO Joanne Crevoiserat to its Board of Directors.

Volvo Group Deputy CEO Jan Gurander will step down from the position December 31, 2022.

YouTube isn’t cool with videos of Tesla FSD beta testing on kids

YouTube removed two videos from its platform showing Tesla drivers using their own children to conduct vehicle safety tests.

The tests were meant to prove that Tesla’s Autopilot and “full self-driving” (FSD) beta software — the automaker’s advanced driver assistance systems which have automated driving features but do not enable the cars to drive themselves — would automatically detect pedestrians, and children, that are walking or standing in the road and avoid hitting them.

A YouTube spokesperson told CNBC, which first reported the news, that the social media platform removed the videos because YouTube doesn’t allow content showing a minor participating in dangerous activities or encouraging minors to do dangerous activities. YouTube is a division of parent company Alphabet, which also owns autonomous vehicle company Waymo.

The videos posted by Tesla investors were in part a response to a TV ad by the Dawn Project, an organization aiming to ban unsafe software from safety critical systems, that showed Tesla’s FSD software repeatedly hitting child-sized mannequins on a test track. The Dawn Project, which is headed by Dan O’Dowd, CEO of Green Hill Software, also posted a full-page ad in The New York Times in January calling FSD “the worst software ever sold by a Fortune 500 company.”

Tad Park, a Tesla owner and investor and CEO of Volt Equity, posted a video on August 14 that showed him driving a Model 3 vehicle at eight miles per hour towards one of his children on a San Francisco road. The video had tens of thousands of hits before YouTube took it down.

Park told CNBC his kids were never in danger and that he was prepared to take over at any time. The video he posted showed the car slowing down and not killing or maiming his kid, nor anyone or anything else.

Tesla vehicles come standard with Autopilot, an advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) that includes features like traffic-aware cruise control, steering assist within clearly marked lanes and pedestrian detection at crosswalks. FSD is Tesla’s more advanced ADAS, and it includes the parking feature Summon as well as Navigate on Autopilot, which navigates a car from highway on-ramp to off-ramp and is now operational on city streets. All of these capabilities require a human driver to stay focused and take control of the vehicle when needed.

A series of accidents involving Tesla vehicles that may have been engaged in one of the ADAS systems have prompted investigations by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Last week, the federal agency updated an ongoing probe into 830,000 Tesla vehicles equipped with Autopilot to learn more about how Tesla’s cabin camera determines if a driver isn’t paying attention while Autopilot is engaged and sends alerts.

Autopilot and FSD have also come under fire at the state level recently. In late July, the California Department of Motor Vehicles filed complaints alleging that Tesla was falsely advertising the capabilities of its ADAS in an unsafe manner.

CEO Elon Musk tweeted Sunday that FSD’s price would increase in North America from a one-time payment of $12,000 to $15,000 starting September 5.

Tesla increases FSD beta cost to $15,000 in North America

Tesla will increase the price of its “full self-driving” beta software, the automaker’s advanced driver assistance system (ADAS), in North America to $15,000 on September 5, CEO Elon Musk tweeted Sunday.

The celebrity executive said the current price of $12,000 will be honored for orders made before September 5, but delivered later. Musk also tweeted Tesla owners can upgrade their existing car to FSD in two minutes. Musk did not say whether there would be a planned price increase for the subscription option for FSD, which falls at $199 per month.

This is not the first time Musk has raised the price of the controversial ADAS, and it probably won’t be the last. In January 2022, Tesla increased the price of the one-time payment from  $10,000 to $12,000. Last month, Musk said FSD was “ridiculously cheap” considering the high value of the service, which the executive expects to actually deliver full autonomous capabilities, rather than just some automated driving features, by the end of this year.

There are around 100,000 vehicles equipped with FSD, a number that appears to have remained flat in the first half of the year. Despite its name, FSD does not actually mean cars can drive themselves — they require the human driver to stay alert and take control when needed. It is this distinction which has led the California Department of Motor Vehicles to recently accuse Tesla of falsely advertising its FSD and Autopilot ADAS.

Musk also tweeted Sunday that the price hike would happen after FSD Beta version 10.69.2, which Tesla started rolling out Saturday, was widely released. The newest version boasts upgrades like improved unprotected left turns, a 17% improvement of velocity error for pedestrians and bicyclists, and a new “deep lane guidance” module for smoother lane switches.