Canadian Telsa fans have been over-the-moon in recent weeks to learn that the American electric vehicle giant has been rolling out its highly-anticipated “full self-drive” beta software here in our home and native land.
Unfortunately for those in Canada’s largest city, however, the technology has yet to come available for testing in Toronto.
This makes little sense considering Toronto’s size, its number of Tesla owners, and its status as a world-class tech hub — but there’s a good reason for the omission, according to company CEO and famously, awesomely weird billionaire Elon Musk.
Musk first confirmed on Twitter last month that Tesla had indeed activated its FSD (Full Self-Drive) Beta software in some Canadian cars through an over-the-air update.
Only about 60 cars in Canada had been selected for the update as of Feb. 25, according to Musk, who noted on Twitter at the time that he was “hoping to go wider” with the rollout that very weekend.
It’s not currently clear how many Canadians have access to the technology, which allows for the performance of some self-driving features will full driver supervision, but driving.ca reports that it has only been made available to owners with safety scores of more than 98 (out of 100) on the Tesla Safety Score app.
Those who have been testing FSD have been able to try out traffic-aware cruise control, automatic steering, automatic lane changing and automatic parking among other features (again, always with active driver supervision.)
But not a single one of them has been based in Toronto. Every Telsa tester who has tried here, in fact, has been greeted with the same error message: “Full Self-Driving unavailable at current location.”
One such driver decided to reach out to Musk himself for an explanation and, lo and behold, the surprisingly accessible American-Canadian-South African mogul replied.
“Why is Downtown Toronto geofrenced off for FSD Beta?” asked Toronto-based architect and Tesla fan Chansoo Byeon of Musk on Twitter over the weekend. “It’s the best training ground.”
Replied the great Elon Musk: “Toronto streetcars are not yet handled well by FSD.”
It looks like cyclists aren’t the only ones who have trouble dealing with streetcar tracks when commuting across the city.
As time goes on, there’s no doubt that Tesla (or maybe some other autonomous driving company) will figure out how to get cars around in a city with a robust transit system including streetcars.
Right now, though, some suggest that this incongruency might be for the best.
“Toronto is safer without Tesla FSD. We should keep it that way,” wrote one local in response to the Twitter exchange.
“Even more reason to like streetcars,” wrote another. “They’re saving downtown Toronto from Musk’s unsafe FSD Beta.”