Tesla said its ongoing efforts to bring the Full Self-Driving (FSD) feature to China, marking the first explicit acknowledgment of the initiative by the electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer. This development comes amidst a series of new policies in China's autonomous driving sector.
According to a report from China Fund News, Tesla responded affirmatively to inquiries regarding the progress of introducing FSD in the country. Speculation regarding FSD's potential arrival in China has been fueled by recent policy changes in autonomous driving. Several Chinese government departments have jointly issued notices allowing vehicles supporting L3 and L4 autonomous driving conditions to conduct road tests in limited areas. This marks a significant development, as it clarifies accident liability determination for such vehicles.
The report suggests that, against this regulatory backdrop, Tesla's FSD entry into the Chinese market is perceived as entering a countdown phase. The anticipation has been heightened by the recent addition of FSD Beta feature descriptions in Tesla's owner's manual on its Chinese website, although these references have since been removed.
With FSD enabled, Tesla vehicles gain the capability to navigate curves, pass intersections, make turns, negotiate traffic circles, and travel on highways autonomously. Notably, Tesla's FSD is designed to operate not only on multi-lane roads with clear lane markings but also on various types of roads, including residential and city streets.
While Tesla is indeed progressing with plans to introduce FSD in China, the exact timeline remains undisclosed, according to an insider cited in the report. The company has made substantial preparations, including the establishment of a data center in Shanghai in 2021. This center stores all data generated by Tesla's China operations within the country, aligning with regulatory requirements.
Additionally, Tesla has formed an FSD operations team and a data labeling team in Shanghai, with engineers from the company's headquarters providing training. Tesla China has reportedly been actively collaborating with regulatory authorities to advocate for high-level autonomous driving laws and regulations.
Previous rumors in 2021 hinted at Tesla's preparations for FSD in China, but the recent confirmation adds weight to the speculations. Analysts from CITIC Securities had earlier noted the increasing clarity in the trend of Tesla's FSD entering China, predicting a positive impact on the local EV industry's intelligence. However, challenges related to data collection qualifications and supercomputing centers still need addressing before the reality of FSD in China materializes.