Introductory remarks presentation slide deck here.
- Here's the 4 panelists that were able to attend.
• 7:00pm - Barry, President of the EV Club of Connecticut, provides club updates
• 7:15pm - Barry introduces Paul
• 7:15pm - Paul presents "Tesla FSDBeta Panel Introductory Remarks" (below)
• 7:25pm - Paul introduces each panelist, asking them to tell us a bit more about themselves
• 7:30pm - QUESTION 1 - “Summarize your experience with FSDBeta”
(asking one panelist at a time to answer for roughly 2-4 minutes)
• 7:45PM - QUESTION 2. “What do you think the near-term & long-term future of FSD is, and what do you feel the challenges are on the road to a safer future?”
For this third question, I'll open the discussion to all panelists who wish to answer, in whatever order they choose.
• 8:20pm - Paul asks participants to un-mute themselves for AMA (Ask Me Anything)
• 8:30pm - Barry calls the meeting to a close for the evening, recording stops.
It's probably best to hold most questions for the end, I'll be sure to leave plenty of time for them.
by Paul Braren, Member of the EV Club of Connecticut Leadership Team.
Tonight, we have a mix of veteran and new Full Self Driving Beta (FSDBeta) drivers from various states in New England are here with us, they volunteered their time this evening to participate in this panel discussion. Their opinions differ, and they were chosen intentionally for viewpoints that vary considerably from my own. They are Model 3, Model Y, and Model S drivers who purchased their Tesla in 2018 or later, paying thousands of dollars for this optional feature dubbed Full Self Driving. The recent FSDBeta participants each opted-in to weeks of enduring the Safety Score Beta, something that only about 150,000 drivers have done of the very nearly 2 million Teslas made to date.
For about a year now, the roughly one to two thousand FSDBeta testers consisted mostly of Tesla employees, along with several dozen members of the public who had permission to post their experiences online, and many more that did not. In mid-October 2021, they were joined by about a thousand new Tesla FSDBeta drivers who had obtained a Safety Score of 100 over a two-week period. Two weeks later, folks with a Safety Score of 99 began to also be admitted, with mine arriving 3 weeks later. This was no easy feat for me personally, as I drove with family into downtown Boston and back during this Safety Score period. There are a total of about 12,000 FSDBeta beta drivers on US roads as of Oct. 29 2021, with FSD Beta 10.4 for Safety Score 98 drivers coming up next during this slowed phase of the rollout.
What is driving to achieve a high Safety Score like? Think of what it'd be like to drive with an open carton of raw eggs perched on the front edge of your back seat. You exercise constant vigilance at all times to any situation that might arise that could cause anything beyond gentle braking, acceleration, or turning, such as getting cut off in city traffic. This safety gamification trains you to drive very defensively. You are also proving yourself by committing to being an attentive driver, scanning your side-view and rear-view cameras like a hawk. The only currently active DMS (Driver Monitoring System) Tesla is using is having your hands on the wheel, but newer Teslas have an interior camera that also looks at the driver's eyes, to see if their attention is mostly on the road ahead. I worked with clumsy eye-tracking equipment in the early 90s, so for me personally, it's great to see this technology finally make its way into consumer vehicles. Note, no video of the interior uploaded to Tesla.
Irresponsible driving including inattentiveness has already gotten some folks kicked off the FSDBeta program, which may help Tesla appease consumer watchdog organizations and Consumer Reports for faulting them for not having even more countermeasures to prevent unsafe driving, even if the driver is actively defeating those multiple safety mechanisms. This is one of many controversies that admittedly surround the FSDBeta program.
Each of the panelists' Teslas have a 360 degree view using 8 exterior cameras, paired with a dual-brain liquid-cooled computer behind the glovebox that runs at all times that the car taken out of park, sipping a mere 75 watts of power to help avoid accidents even when Autopilot isn't engaged. While that's about 3X the energy consumption of a human brain, it never gets tired or distracted. It gets its new software smarts pushed into it on a weekly or daily basis from Tesla using something called OTA (Over the Air) Updates, wirelessly. This has allowed for what I believe is the fastest recall in history recently, just on the vehicles running that beta code that could experience automatic emergency braking, with 99.8 percent of the cars updated by October 29.
It is important to keep in mind that gladly, no serious accidents have been reported to date while a Tesla was using FSDBeta. One minor crash incident was driver-reported to NHTSA today, but the allegations are questionable, let's wait for an investigation before concluding anything.
If you haven't watched or experienced an FSDBeta drive yet, when a grey steering wheel icon shows on a Tesla's display, the driver is then able to engage Tesla FSDBeta using a double-tap of the right steering wheel stalk. This can be engaged on nearly road surface, with the beta restricted to US customers for now. Once engaged, the car immediately handles acceleration, breaking, and turning. This is an unusual experience for anybody trying this their first time. There are multiple things that drivers can do to reduce risk considerably, as they get accustomed to what it's like to actively monitor your car at all moments while it navigates surface roads. This experience is something I've tried to capture and share in my article First Time Using Tesla Full Self-Driving, Beta v10.3.1, where I talk about and show frequent disengagements every time the car drove even slightly differently than I would have, during my first FSDBeta drive with my wife on late-night empty roads here in Connecticut.
Here's what Tesla clearly states:
The currently enabled Autopilot and Full Self-Driving features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous. Full autonomy will be dependent on achieving reliability far in excess of human drivers as demonstrated by billions of miles of experience, as well as regulatory approval, which may take longer in some jurisdictions. As Tesla’s Autopilot and Full Self-Driving capabilities evolve, your car will be continuously upgraded through over-the-air software updates.
see also their crystal clear FSDBeta welcome letter below.
The timing of our event tonight is good, especially with this recent report from October 28 2021:
- USDOT Releases New Data Showing That Road Fatalities Spiked in First Half of 2021
Secretary Buttigieg calls rising traffic deaths a crisis and calls for cooperation among all levels of government, industry, and advocacy to change course
This is a crisis. More than 20,000 people died on U.S. roads in the first six months of 2021, leaving countless loved ones behind. We cannot and should not accept these fatalities as simply a part of everyday life in America,” said United States Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg
In my opinion, there is currently a bit of a race between Tesla safely moving the safety of the fleet forward significantly before something stops them, such as the United States Senator from Connecticut Richard Blumenthal, see Blumenthal & Markey Call for FTC Investigation Into Tesla's Misleading Advertising of Driving Automation Systems. Their basis of concern is primarily on the few intentionally-irresponsible drivers such as the Texas driver who turned out to be in the front seat after all, an incident that has much more to do with going 67 mph on a suburban road than it has to do with any sort of autonomy such as Autopilot, and nothing to do with FSDBeta. There is also the recent appointment of NHTSA safety advisor Missy Cummings, here's a unique perspective on this that I feel is well worth a read no matter what your opinion is. I'll leave it at that.
As far as advocates for safer roads, there's prominent auto industry veteran and vehicle tear-down-engineer Sandy Munro of Detroit, who realizes the great potential in ADAS systems to save far more lives than seat belts have in this video. He essentially wishes that NHTSA and Congress would stop focusing their cross-hairs on the manufacturer of the most-American and safest cars in their class ever made, Tesla, rather than actively attempt a concerted effort to block these efforts, especially with rise of China's AI. China's already mature EV manufacturing might has the potential to knock down legacy US automakers including GM and Ford, something Sandy covers in other videos on his Munro Live Channel.
Tesla's approach is different than both 2021 GM Super Cruise and 2022 Ford BlueCruise, optional lane-assist technologies that are focused on well-mapped highway driving. Waymo cars, Aurora trucks and taxis and other autonomous fleet vehicles take a pricier route to autonomy by using shared fleet vehicles that aren't available for individuals to purchase.
How do Tesla software smarts get smarter? One way is via real-world inputs from actual drivers, who override the FSDBeta software using the brake pedal or right-stalk to immediately disengage all autonomy, or who override and stop the automated FSDBeta steering wheel control by exerting minor force to take over. When FSDBeta tester's EVs are parked and back on Wi-Fi, these FSDBeta drive events are automatically uploaded, including video footage drivers have manually tagged as important for Tesla to review. This data is analyzed by Tesla's human employees and increasingly by computers too, soon featuring an impressive, purpose-built, AI-optimized supercomputer dubbed Dojo, the world's most powerful AI training machine. It uses Machine Learning to create a better software update for the next release of FSDBeta, which is then pushed to Tesla employees for a day. Only if the code is deemed road worth is it then pushed to the public FSDBeta testers with high Safety Scores.
Rinse and repeat. Learning faster and faster, to drive better and better. Hard to imagine a more positive use of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning than to reduce the likelihood of bad things happening to humans.
It's time to start the panel discussion, let's jump out of my slide deck and into the agenda above.
All EV related articles:
All EV related videos:
EV Owners Show & Tell videos:
All #FSDBeta tweets by Paul Braren:
- Open registration for EV Club of Connecticut's Nov. 11th panel discussion - New Englanders sharing their Tesla FSDBeta experience
Oct 27 2021
- Enduring the Tesla Safety Score experience on the road to a safer, more autonomous future
Oct 12 2021
- Tesla Full Self-Driving beta-tester Kim Paquette speaking to EV Club of CT at 7pm eastern Mar 11 2021, preregister now to join our Zoom!
Mar 10 2021
- A few safe Tesla owners selected to share testing of "Full Self-Driving" beta including new driver-monitored city street navigation
Oct 25 2020
- Model 3 HW3 brain replacement can cause temporary amnesia but Tesla Service can quickly restore your settings, all you need to know before you go
Feb 27 2020
Here's a super-detailed article you might enjoy as much as I did.
- Tesla Full Self-Driving [FSD] Beta Rolls Out To ~1000 More Drivers — My 1st Impressions
Oct 11 2021 by Zachary Shahan at CleanTechnica
Passengers in autonomous vehicles will expect to be able to drink a coffee and feel like they are on a bus or a train, not strapped into a transparent ping pong ball in the middle of a bunch of other transparent ping pong balls.
A diversity of opinions is a good thing, here's some more.
Contents of the FSDBeta Welcome Letter that I received on Oct 29 2021
This arrived about 90 minutes before the code was pushed to my car. I have no issues with the limitations, given our speed limits in New England, New York, and New Jersey are 65 mph maximum, and I never use a follow distance of 1, even in New Jersey traffic.
From: FSDBeta firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: Friday, October 29, 2021 5:07 PM
To: Undisclosed recipients:
Subject: Tesla | Full Self-Driving (Beta V10.3.1)
We will be pushing FSD Beta Version 10.3.1 to your vehicle shortly!
Full Self-Driving is in limited early access Beta and must be used with additional caution. It may do the wrong thing at the worst time, so you must always keep your hands on the wheel and pay extra attention to the road. Do not become complacent. When Full Self-Driving Beta is enabled, your vehicle will make lane changes off highway, select forks to follow your navigation route, navigate around other vehicles and objects, and make left and right turns. Use Full Self-Driving Beta only if you will pay constant attention to the road, and be prepared to act immediately, especially around blind corners, crossing intersections, and in narrow driving situations. Every driver is responsible for remaining alert and active when using Autopilot and must be prepared to take action at any time.
As part of receiving FSD Beta, your vehicle will collect and share VIN-associated vehicle driving data with Tesla to confirm your continued eligibility for FSD Beta feature. If you wish to be removed from the limited early access FSD Beta please email email@example.com
Your vehicle is running on Tesla Vision! Note that Tesla Vision also includes some temporary limitations, as noted below:
• Follow distance is limited to 2-7.
• Autopilot top speed is 80 mph.
How to provide feedback:
• Press the "Video Record" button on the top bar UI to share your feedback. When pressed, your vehicle’s external cameras will share a short VIN-associated Autopilot Snapshot with the Tesla engineering team to help make improvements to FSD. You will not be able to view the clip.
• You can email your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org. In your email please include date, time, location, and if you took an Autopilot Snapshot. This helps us investigate issues, and better understand your feedback.
The Tesla Team
Disclosure: My family owns no stock in Tesla. Tesla doesn't advertise at TinkerTry, or anywhere else, and this is not a sponsored post. We financed the purchase of two Tesla Model 3s, replacing my 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid in December of 2018 and replacing my wife's 2005 Honda Civic EX in December of 2019. These big moves to an all electric household were an expression of our mutual desire to go green, avoid gasoline, be safe, have fun, and save money in the long run. Mostly for my job, I drive a lot, 25,000 miles in 2019 for example, and I thoroughly enjoy sharing what I've learned with you. I hope you can tell!