The race to self-driving cars may have just pulled into sight of the finish line. Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) has been working hard to perfect its full-self driving (FSD) technology before competitors. Recently, TSLA stock also fell after the company raised the price of its FSD package. But now the electric vehicle (EV) leader is taking further steps to put fully autonomous vehicles on the road.
At the Offshore Northern Seas 2022 conference in Norway, Tesla CEO Elon Musk just laid out plans for Tesla to reach a driverless future. Musk wants to make the company’s self-driving EVs fully ready in the U.S. by the end of 2022.
This vision isn’t for the United States alone, either. The CEO also mentioned the possibility of rolling out fully autonomous Teslas to parts of Europe. Of course, the entire plan hinges on Tesla being able to satisfy regulatory requirements. Even so, though, the company seems to be making significant progress in its FSD mission — a mission that has often seemed far off and highly futuristic.
Let’s take a closer look at what this type of progress could mean for TSLA stock.
TSLA Stock: A Self-Driving Future
As noted, Musk announced his plans for getting self-driving Teslas on the road earlier today. Yesterday, though, the CEO provided another exciting update on the company’s FSD technology.
First few days, just 1k owners, but going to 10k if no major issues.
Note, 10.69.2, hopefully going out week after this, is the wide release beta.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 29, 2022
This week marks the release of the 10.69.1 beta to 1,000 Tesla drivers. If no issues are reported, the beta will be released on a much wider scale as well. This will do much to determine Tesla’s chances of obtaining regulatory approval. If the company reports no bugs or accidents, it will be well-positioned to meet Musk’s lofty FSD goal. And if that happens, TSLA stock will surge.
Of course, Musk has missed plenty of deadlines before. But there’s reason to believe that this latest goal is achievable. InsideEVs reports:
“We’ve heard Elon Musk mention the end of the year for many years now, but in this case, it appears he’s just talking about a wide beta release rather than a perfected product. There’s also potential for a wide release in Europe, though it may depend on regulatory approval.”
So, with that said, a successful widespread release may be likely. Completely redesigning and manufacturing a new vehicle would be unrealistic for Musk’s timeframe. But Tesla’s FSD software seems to be progressing nicely, although it hasn’t been without setbacks.
Not a Tesla App notes that “with so many changes in a release, some regressions are expected as well, which is why Tesla is being a little more cautious with this release.” However, beta tests are necessary in order for companies to find bugs in their software and promptly fix them. If Tesla can do that, it will keep advancing toward the finish line.
The Bottom Line
It makes sense that TSLA stock isn’t rising on today’s news. The catalyst is months away and it’s not guaranteed. While both fans and investors have been carefully monitoring Tesla’s FSD progress, the technology has been linked to multiple accidents this year. According to Seeking Alpha, Tesla is “utilizing a five-strike system focused on ensuring that FSD Beta testers are paying attention as they test the software.”
Tesla still has to prove it can fix all the bugs before it takes us to the self-driving future Musk has long promised. However, the company is taking important steps toward accomplishing that goal. Unless the upcoming beta tests reveal some major problems, TSLA stock should rise as Tesla releases more positive updates.
On the date of publication, Samuel O’Brient did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.