Holiday cheer may be in the air as Christmas approaches, but Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) hasn’t been enjoying a particularly joyful month. CEO Elon Musk has continued offloading shares to offset his looming tax bill, and more analyst reports are agreeing that the electric vehicle (EV) sector is in for a rocky road in 2022 as growth is expected to slow. None of this has been good for Tesla stock, which has been declining all month with only marginal gains. While it’s easy to see these negative trends as dark clouds, they shouldn’t overshadow the company’s positive developments.
A New Driver for Tesla Stock
While a future with ubiquitous self-driving vehicles is likely years away, companies are working hard to be first in line. And Tesla is certainly among them. As the leader of the EV race, Tesla will likely be among the first to the next stage of innovation. Tesla stock hasn’t risen today, but it’s worth noting that the company has recently achieved a milestone.
Today brought the news that Tesla has released a full self-driving (FSD) beta software update. According to Electrek, this improves driving situations with “phantom braking.” Additionally, the update improves the efficiency of the current system, which is currently undergoing tests to help assess the system’s safety.
This doesn’t mean that we’re about to see Teslas cruising along the highway with no one behind the wheel. While this FSD system allows vehicles to “drive autonomously to a destination entered in the car’s navigation system,” the driver must be ready to take control at any time. Furthermore, drivers shouldn’t take their eyes off the road. Indeed, the responsibility remains with the driver at this point.
However, another recent story highlights the importance of Tesla’s advancing autopilot technology, enabling drivers to take an increasingly hands-off approach. Yesterday, The Guardian reported that a woman had delivered a baby in a Model 3 Tesla SUV and that the car’s autopilot technology had enabled her husband to assist her with the birth when rush hour traffic stopped them from reaching the hospital in time.
The Road Ahead for TSLA
These developments are exciting, and further updates may not be far away. Last week, Must tweeted that more developments regarding the technology are coming this week. This includes the next version of the FSD beta. He also responded to someone claiming to be a Tesla owner about Waypoints potentially working with FSD.
When will waypoints work with FSD beta?
— F9 Block 5 🎄❄️ (@F9Block5) December 18, 2021
Many analysts have soured on Tesla stock recently, such as Guggenheim’s Ali Faghri, but these FDS developments shouldn’t be cast aside, even as the EV sector prepares for a difficult year. This type of progress could be what keeps Tesla stock at the top of the auto world as the company prepares for what seems like a difficult road ahead.
On the date of publication, Samuel O’Brient did not have (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.