December 2021 – While Tesla has long sold and promised the Full Self-Driving package which allows turns and navigation on city streets, it’s still in early testing and only a few dozen testers were allowed to try it “FSD Beta” starting in late 2020. Now Tesla is finally allowing in more Beta testers over time with the caveat that they must be good drivers to get into the program and remain attentive while participating.
In September, Tesla released software update (2021.32.22) that allowed anyone who purchased Full Self-Driving (FSD) to request access to the FSD Beta program. The catch? You have to be a good driver based on the stringent Tesla Safety Score calculator to be granted access.
FSD Beta – Wider Releases
Starting October 11th, 2021, Tesla has slowly begun adding more FSD Beta testers to the program (if they qualify having paid for the software, having the correct hardware and good Tesla Safety Score)
October 11th, 2021 – FSD Beta 10.2 (2021.32.25) released to approximately 1,000 FSD owners who requested access AND had a safety score of 100/100.
October 25th, 2021 – FSD Beta 10.3.1 (2021.36.5.3) was released after a fix to 10.3 which rolled out with a host of significant bugs (including false Automatic Emergency Braking, AEB at freeway speeds). Those FSD owners who requested access and have a greater than 99 Tesla Safety Score should be getting access. Release details are below.
November 7th, 2021 – FSD Beta 10.4 (2021.36.8.5) FSD Beta 10.4 began rolling out on November 7th. It had some incremental improvements, but not quite ready to roll out to additional testers yet.
November 22nd, 2021 – FSD Beta 10.5 (2021.36.8.8) FSD Beta 10.5 began rolling out to those with a Tesla Safety Score of 98 on November 22nd. The release notes are below.
December 5th, 2021 – FSD Beta 10.6 (2021.36.8.9) FSD Beta 10.6 started being released on 12/5 and includes improved object detection among other things. Release notes below.
FSD Beta 10.6 Includes the Following Updates:
- Improved object detection network architecture for non-VRUs (eg.cars, trucks, buses). 7% higher recall, 16% lower depth error, and 21% lower velocity error for crossing vehicles.
- New visibility network with 18.5% less mean relative error
- New general static object network with 17% precision improvements in high curvature and nighttime cases.
- Improved stopping position at unprotected left turns while yielding to oncoming objects, using object predictions beyond the crossing point.
- Allow more room for longitudinal alignment during merges by incorporating modelling of merge region end.
- Improved comfort when offsetting for objects that are cutting out of your lane.
FSD Beta 10.5 Includes the Following Updates:
- Improved VRU (pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcycles) crossing velocity error by 20% from improved quality in our auto-labeling,
- Improved static world predictions (road lines, edges, and lane connectivity) by up to 13% using a new static world auto-labeler and adding 165K auto-labeled videos
- Improved cone and sign detections by upreving the generalized static object network with 15K more video clips and adjusting oversampling and overweighting strategies (+4.5% precision, +10.4% recall).
- Improved cut-in detection network by 5.5% to help reduce false slowdowns.
- Enabled “emergency collision avoidance maneuvering” in shadow mode.
- Enabled behavior to lane change away from merges when safe to do so.
- Improved merge object detection recall by using multi-modal object prediction at intersections.
- Improved control for merges by increasing smoothness of arrival time constraints and considering possible merging objects beyond visibility.
- Improved lane changes by allowing larger deceleration limit in short-deadline situations.
- Improved lateral control for creeping forward to get more visibility.
- Improved modeling of road boundaries on high curvature roads for finer maneuvers.
- Improved logic to stay on-route and avoid unnecessary detours/rerouting.
FSD Beta 10.4 Includes the Following Updates:
- Improved handling when driving off navigation route by allowing better recovery, when safe to do so.
- Improved handling and detection of high speed objects when crossing high speed roads. Enabled faster acceleration across high speed roads.
- Improved speed through narrow spaces surrounded by high obstacles.
- Improved static obstacle control by upreving the generalized static object network with hyperparameter tuning and improvements for oversampling strategies (+1.5% precision, +7.0% recall)
- Improved VRU detection (e.g. pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcycles) by adding data from next generation autolabeler (precision +35%, recall +20%).
- Improved emergency vehicle detection network by adding new data and improved training regime (pass rate +5.8%).
- Improved VRU control relevance attribute by adding navigation route as input to object detection network (accuracy + 1.1%)
FSD Beta 10.3 Included the Following Updates:
- Added FSD Profiles that allow drivers to control behaviors like rolling stops, exiting passing lanes, speed-based lane changes, following distance and yellow light headway.
- Added planning capability to drive along oncoming lanes to maneuver around path blockage.
- Improved creeping speed by linking speed to visibility network estimation and distance to encroachment point of crossing lanes.
- Improved crossing object velocity estimation by 20% and yaw estimation by 25% by upreving surround video vehicle network with more data. Also increased system frame rate by +1.7 frames per second.
- Improved vehicle semantic detections (e.g. brake lights, turn indicators, hazards) by adding +25k video clips to the training data set.
- Improved static obstacle control by upreving the generalized static object network with 6k more video clips (+5.6% precision, +2.5% recall).
- Allowed more acceleration when merging from on-ramps onto major roads and when lane changing from slow to fast lanes.
- Reduced false slowdowns and improved offsetting for pedestrians by improving the model of interaction between pedestrians and the static world.
- Improved turning profile for unprotected turns by allowing ego to lane lines more naturally, when safe to do so.
- Improved speed profile for boosting onto high-speed roads by enforcing stricter longitudinal and lateral acceleration limits required to beat the crossing objects.
FSD Beta Request Button
On September 24th Tesla released the 2021.32.22 software update that included a new button for those who purchased the Full Self-Driving package and have compatible vehicles with Hardware 3. Those customers had a new “Request Full Self-Driving Beta” button under Controls > Autopilot.
For those interested in joining the FSD Beta program, you’ll need to agree to allow Tesla to monitor your driving and calculate a safety score.
Tesla will monitor your driving behavior for at least seven days.
Once you sign up to the program, your Tesla app will show you how you’re doing so you can improve (iPhone only for now):
If you participate, be sure to read the Tesla Safety Score Beta information posted on their website to understand exactly what they’re tracking and how it works.
- Keep a good amount of following distance (especially above 50 MPH)
- Brake gently, ideally just using regenerative braking.
- Keep an eye out for anything ahead on the road to avoid Forward Collision Warnings
- Don’t make aggressive turns.
Note that driving on Autopilot will not be included in safety score calculations but the miles driven will be included in the total, according to Tesla. This means that you may want to use Autopilot on the freeway, especially if you have a hard time maintaining following distances to other cars.
After at least seven days of good driving, you’ll be eligible to join the FSD Beta program. It’s still unclear whether that will happen immediately after the seven days or whether they will gradually add people to the program over time (guess the latter).
Where Tesla Drivers Have the Most Issues
According to the Tesla Safety Score data in the app, most people have problems in the following areas:
- Unsafe Following – 15%
- Aggressive Turning – 3%
- Hard Braking – 2%
- Forward Collision Warnings – 10 per 1,000 miles
So be sure to leave lots of room between you and the car in front of you when traveling greater than 50 MPH. Per Tesla:
Removal from FSD Beta
Once you’re in FSD Beta, you still have to pay careful attention while driving, otherwise, you may be kicked out. Some in the FSD Beta program have received emails from Tesla for inattention while driving:
Specifically, while using the FSD Beta feature, you or another driver of your vehicle received:
- Two or more “strikeouts,” which resulted in the loss of Autopilot availability for that drive; or
- At least one “strike” per 5 km (about 3 miles) driven on Autopilot, which is a visual and audible warning that requires attention.
This is your only warning to please keep your hands on the wheel and remain attentive at all times when using Autopilot. The car is not autonomous, and if you aren’t paying attention, a crash could happen, and you or others could get hurt, or worse, so failure to abide by this warning will result in removal of the FSD Beta feature from your vehicle.
The Tesla Team
So be sure to pay attention and keep your hands on the wheel (or yoke!).
Beta Tester Videos
In the meantime, check out the myriad of videos being uploaded to YouTube on a daily basis or the ones highlighted below.
Here’s a good overview of the current state in the form of a ‘training video’:
FSD Beta Overview
Tesla’s Full Self-Driving option has long held the promise of being able to automatically navigate with Autopilot on any road, including city streets; even so far as becoming a Level 5 (see What do Levels Mean?), fully autonomous system. Customers who have spent thousands of dollars for the expensive Full Self-Driving package expecting city street Autopilot are also eagerly awaiting this functionality.
That said, it’s been a long road to achieving autonomous driving as navigating on any open road under any condition, is one of the most complex tasks for any AI system to handle. Originally Elon Musk targeted a fully autonomous trip from Los Angeles to New York in 2017, only to drop that goal altogether later on. Then, Full Self-Driving was targeted to be “feature-complete” by the end of 2019, only to move the timeline further out.
Eventually, we learned that Tesla was doing a major overhaul of the AI-based Autopilot system, a “rewrite”, so-to-speak. In late 2020, this rewrite, known as “Full Self-Driving Beta” (or FSD Beta), started rolling out to a small select group of testers with a likely broader release in 2021 or early 2022. While the Full Self-Driving package will have the ability to automatically turn on city streets, despite its name, it will not be fully autonomous (Level 5), and will still require an attentive driver for the foreseeable future.
Full Self-Driving Rewrite Creates 4D Environment
At the heart of the new Full Self-Driving rewrite is the capability for the neural network computer to utilize all eight cameras around the car, allowing it to create a virtual 3D (4D with time) environment for better situational awareness.
Full Self-Driving on City Streets
Creating this 3D model (4D with time) is especially critical for navigating city streets since that environment is far more complex than freeway driving. It will allow the vehicle to make complex maneuvers as mentioned by Tesla in the Beta release notes:
“When Full Self-Driving 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.“
That said, because this is a software rewrite and the entire system needs to be tested, not only the new features, early beta testers are being warned to be extra vigilant:
“Full Self-Driving is in early limited 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.“
Early Look at Full Self-Driving Beta
Beta testers are uploading tons of videos on YouTube with each release so you can virtually ride along to see how things are improving:
As you can see, this is still very early release testing software, likely still a long way off from public release, but has impressive capabilities.
Rapid But Cautious Updates
The team at Tesla appears to be making rapid progress, releasing updates to Beta testers every 5 to 10 days, according to Elon Musk, so improvements should come quickly.
However, after the problematic FSD Beta 10.4 release, which causes phantom Automatic Emergency Braking on the freeway, dangerous enough that Tesla had to roll it back, Tesla is being more cautious with future releases and testing.
Full Self-Driving Rewrite Release
While the Full Self-Driving update still appears to be a little ways off, it’s great to see real progress being made. That said, it’s important to remember that “Full Self-Driving” still very much requires an attentive driver and is not a “Level 5” fully autonomous driving system, despite the name. However, it’s great that Tesla continues to push the envelope in this area and provide exciting new Autopilot updates and finally bring significant new assisted driving functionality to those who purchased the Full Self-Driving package. We’re excited to see what the future holds!