Tesla Beta Full Autonomy: How Close Are You To Level 5 Autonomy? (Readers chime in)

Figure 1: My Tesla Model 3 with two mountain e-bikes. My wife Mary feeds donkeys. Custer State Park. Black Hills, South Dakota. May 7, 2022. Photo by Fritz Hassler.

I just spent three 10-hour days driving 1,500 miles from Utah to Wisconsin in my long-range Tesla Model 3. With two heavy mountain e-bikes ruining my aerodynamics (see Figure 1), the easy range of driving 75 mph was never more than 100 miles. Fortunately, Tesla has installed an impressive 15 superchargers at about 100-mile intervals along I-80, I-90, Minneapolis (Minnesota), and Wausau (Wisconsin), and I’ve never had to wait once for a booth. Of course, I’ve been using FSD Beta as often as possible, so I have some new ideas. I will soon be driving 165 days with the FSD Beta.

Tesla FSD Beta Quirks, Issues, and Questions

On my cross-country trip and now in the backwoods of northern Wisconsin, there are a few times I can let the FSD Beta V10.11.2 go without interference. But:

  • In my opinion, the number one problem in FSD Beta is lane selection. Often times, he chooses a lane that does not correspond to the correct lane needed to continue on the navigation lane. For example: to follow the NAV road at an intersection, the central lane will be required. Alternatively, sometimes the FSD Beta actively and repeatedly puts me in the right lane even though I try to block it with the turn signal. You need to observe the FSD intended blue road line on the screen to ensure that the vehicle will not deviate from your lane. Also, over the 1500 miles of my trip, the FSD Beta was routinely changing lanes for no apparent reason on interstate highways and never got out of the traffic lane even though I chose this option in two separate places in the controls. Two days ago, on a 200-mile trip, the FSD Beta got off the lane correctly.
  • In Utah, before I began my journey, I passed an active school district. The yellow 20mph lights were flashing and I could see them on my screen, so I know the FSD was aware of them. However, my car did not slow down, and it ran at 30 mph. A few months ago, my wife was expecting the car to slow down in the school zone as with other speed limit signs. you did not. She faced a hefty fine, a trip to see a judge, and a requirement to take a safety test. CleanTechnica Editor Zack Shahan noted this behavior as well.
  • On my big road trip east, there were a number of one-track construction areas A series of building drums aims to take you to the right lane. I don’t know if the FSD Beta will respond properly to barrels. I always walked out at the last minute for fear of hitting the barrels.

For a comprehensive list of FSD Beta capabilities and problems, see my previous article: “Tesla Full Self Driving Beta: How Close Are You To Level 5 Autonomy?”

Reader comments on the Tesla FSD Beta

The previous article seems to have struck a chord. On my last check, I received 164 commentsmuch more than any of the previous 50 articles of CleanTechnica. A number of readers have added their insights on issues that need to be fixed with FSD Beta, some of which are listed below. Many readers have a better understanding of AI (Artificial Intelligence) than I do. The comments on my article make reading very interesting, and I will include some of them below shortly.

  • from frank: You need FSD to make you feel comfortable. For example, I don’t want it to brake as often. Regen, as I do. Expect to stop. It shouldn’t feel like much of a g, like one ramp going right to the exit, but backsliding to halfway down the fairway. I shouldn’t feel that recoil from the right side. Not every ramp does this. I don’t want it to stay dead center of a lane all the time, like next to a half, or when there’s a driveway, driveway next to a concrete wall without a shoulder. Looking forward to the new version. I use it more on the highways. (Diary: I agree that FSD needs you and the passenger to feel comfortable.)
  • from gavingreenwalt: The rules for my neighborhood are “20 mph, when kids are around. Bus only 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Bicycles and motorbikes OK. Right turns allowed.” Etc…etc…Each tag can dynamically create new rules to be understood and learned. With a team like Google’s AI team, you can undoubtedly build an AI (running on a GPU supercomputer stack in the cloud, not a mobile chip in the car) that works amazingly well on specific autonomous driving problems. But it will take months for each task and you need a self-driving AI that takes on millions of tasks in a generic way. You need a non-AI peer that can play StarCraft…You need an AI that can sit in front of Call of Duty and also play Call of Duty…Then sit in front of Go and Learn Go…Then sit in front of The Curse of Monkey Island and solve puzzles. All at 60 mph before it crashes.
  • from maya grandpa: As a beta tester, great and fair article. I’d like to add an FSD that needs:
    • Slow down and merge behind the cars if the next turn is close enough to slow them down to allow your turn.
    • Listen to the maps! Maps are often overlooked
    • U-turns
    • Split exit junctions with closed segments should be ignored
    • Read pre-closed road signs and recognize closed lanes to take the open road.
    • Know when to use the lanes so you don’t complain when turning into my house by visualizing the red border.
    • Call the position without cars for reference
    • The map sound should say “rotate” or “take” the next exit rather than pointing the user at it. If driving, you must be the first person.
    • When waiting for the gates to open and moving forward, bring up the visuals.
    • Recognize and pay attention to turn signalsDiary: It’s great at traffic lights, but I don’t think it interacts properly with the turn signals of other cars.)
    • When faced with a warning tape swirling around, don’t assume it’s a lane edge.
    • Micro adjustments should be smoother and less choppy. (Diary: I totally agree, it drives my wife crazy.)
    • Read turn signals and directions
  • from Charlie Doyle: The very long list of necessary improvements for FSD is basically one that one add-on deals with very effectively: HD autonomy maps. Tesla will not solve autonomy without creating and using good autonomy maps. Humans roam without a map because we have human brains that quickly understand everything we’re looking at, we can memorize an entire city quickly, anticipate problems and navigate efficiently. The FSD has no such memory or understanding of anything and will not be able to ‘driving without a map’ safely anytime in the foreseeable future. The current navigation maps used by FSD are so poor that they will prevent FSD from achieving true autonomy, even if the sensors and the computer are good enough (which they are not).
  • Once again, from Charlie Doyle: No, but there is a great channel called TeslaNYC that shows how hard it is to drive in Manhattan, and how far you should go with FSD. The guy doesn’t upload many videos, but his few videos are long, comprehensive and very interesting. FSD probably messes around about once per minute on average when driving haphazardly in Manhattan. It sometimes looks fine when walking straight down Fifth Avenue or Riverside Drive, but on the side streets, it’s a bullshit show. Even on straight roads, it’s very bad and dangerous.
    FSD does not need heavy rain to spoil. Lots of bikes, pedestrians, construction, cones, double parked cars, confusing lane markings, heavy traffic, walkers, traffic police, poor infrastructure, crowded roundabouts, and many other features of crowded cities far more than FSD can handle.
  • From Peter: Thanks Arthur! My 2-year-old also had an FSD late last year and my wife and I both had snowbirds. We use FSD in rural Wisconsin, Tucson and in between. Next winter: Jalisco. (I expect no FSD south of the border). Your list is pretty well representative of what we’re seeing, but I’d like to add that they don’t seem to see and interact with deer, which is a huge problem for us. In general, the use of an FSD makes our road trips more comfortable, but it is necessary to stay alert and anticipate the limitations. (Diary: We have a lot of deer running on our area highways in northern Wisconsin. I immersed myself in the Tesla hard deer braking safety test. I hope the FSD Beta can help prevent me from bumping into a deer.)

There are additional relevant comments from readers, but this is taking a long time and I will have to save it for future posting. Or go read it here.


 


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