After waiting more than two months for the release of Version 9 of Tesla’s software for the Model 3, Model S and Model X, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has finally given a firmer timeline. As it stands, early access users will get it “in a week or two” and a broader rollout is scheduled for the end of the month.

In classic candid Musk style, the billionaire entrepreneur casually mentioned that he’s got it installed in his own car, but that “it’s not right yet.”

Version 9 is the update that promises to start introducing FSD (full self-driving capability) features. A full feature-set for FSD will only come in v10.0. Going by the timeline between v8.0/v8.1 and v9.0, that could be up to two years from now. And then there are regulatory hoops to jump through before it can be release as a full self-driving feature.

FSD itself will require an upgrade to Hardware 3.0, and that’s only expected to arrive either before Christmas 2018 (earliest), or in February 2019. The upgraded computers will likely contain the new AI chip that’s been developed in-house at Tesla under Pete Bannon, formerly of Apple, Inc.

Tesla has claimed that it has developed the “world’s most advanced computer for autonomous driving” thanks to the new chip that’s being made from the ground up – from design and architecture to testing, manufacturing and deployment. Bannon previously headed the initiative for Apple’s own in-house A5 through A9 chips.

The Hardware 3.0 upgrade won’t be required for customers with the EAP package, only the EAP+FSD package, which comes at a combined price of $8000 if ordered prior to delivery, or as a $10,500 upgrade after delivery.

Here’s a full Model 3 price list with options. Also published here with commentary:

Tesla Model 3 Price with Options

According to an earlier tweet by Musk, the Hardware 3.0 upgrade is free for anyone who has already ordered the FSD option. That means Model 3 owners with EAP might have to pay extra for the upgrade if they haven’t already taken the FSD package. That’s still not clear.

What to Expect in Tesla Software Update v9.0?

We published a list of possibilities earlier, reproduced here:

  • FSD – Full Self-Driving – Musk has promised this, so let’s wait and see. Could require a paid hardware upgrade for Model 3. This is just the beginning of the rollout, so don’t expect full autonomous capabilities just yet. That may only come with v10.0 or later.

  • Tesla Maps could see a much fuller release with 9.0

  • The IC may show tiny cars in blind spots

  • 360-degree surround camera view – already trialed

  • In-car WiFi hotspot (not likely for Model 3 but since Supercharger billing for overages is set up on S and X and has been for more than a year now, these models might get their hotspot capability. Musk initially tweeted that it was billing constraints, and not technical considerations, that prevented this feature from being introduced)

  • Dashcam function – already trialed, could be close to release

  • Atari games (the image was on Tesla site but later pulled, so this is sort of confirmed)