Tesla owners can now fully self drive in downtown Toronto


Tesla drivers will now be able to use the full self-driving beta program (FSD) in Toronto's downtown after the company removed a geofence prohibiting its use.

Tesla rolled out the feature across Canada in March, but owners noticed it was disabled when trying to engage it in the downtown.

At the time, Tesla owner and founder Elon Musk responded to the issue on Twitter blaming the TTC's streetcar system, stating "streetcars are not yet handled well by FSD."

Tesla established the geofence while it worked to troubleshoot the issues and update software.

"Artificial intelligence learns from examples and as as it gets more example it becomes better at recognizing and predicting different situations," said Bilal Farooq, an associate professor of transportation engineering at Toronto Metropolitan University.

Farooq added the company was likely able to improve the technology from the data collected by its vehicles, specifically the multiple cameras that are installed.

Owners recently noticed the geofence had been lifted following the latest software update.

"It certainly enhances your ability to use your car," said John Dixon, who is a Tesla owner and president of the Ontario Tesla Owners Club. "It's good news in that Tesla solved that problem and it means full self driving is going to be closer."

Dixon adds Tesla owners who frequently drive to the downtown and want to test out the technology will benefit from this.

The TTC said it reached out to Musk following his comments in the spring but never received a response back. A spokesperson told CTV News Toronto the TTC wasn't aware the geofencing had been removed.

"TTC operators are trained to navigate the roads of Toronto safely, being mindful of pedestrians, cyclists and other motorized vehicles, including Teslas," said Senior Communications Advisor Stuart Green. "We would hope, and assume, Elon Musk and his programmers have the same regard for the safety of Torontonians. This would mean ensuring their FSD technology recognizes streetcars stopped with their doors open."

The vehicles are not fully autonomous and the software is only available to owners to test out as well as those who have a driving score of at least 80.

The current technology also requires drivers to keep a hand on the wheel and be prepared to take control of the vehicle in an instant.

"Every 45 seconds it tells you to tug the wheel and make sure you're there - if the car senses you're not engaged it disengages and if it disengages five times it kicks you out of the program," Dixon said.

From personal experience, Dixon believes the self-driving feature is best suited for long road trips, but is willing to test it out in the core.

Tesla did not respond to CTV Toronto's requests for comment.