Tesla’s newly released FSD has been all the rage these last few days. Ever since Tesla debuted its new Full Self-Driving beta v9 software, it’s been in the news. Some Tesla owners love it; others are upset at the cost of a hardware update necessary for some Teslas to get FSD. Still others are concerned about safety. Consumer safety advocacy groups are among these. Consumer Reports hates Tesla’s FSD.
What does Tesla FSD do?
Tesla FSD is a more autonomous version of their Autopilot function. Autopilot is Tesla’s semi-autonomous driver assistance system that incorporates safety systems. These include lane keep assist, automatic braking, and adaptive cruise control.
Full Self-Driving, or FSD, takes this one step further. FSD has the capabilities for Traffic-Aware Cruise Control, Autosteer, and Navigate. It also comes with auto lane change, autopark, summon, and smart summon. FSD also includes technology called Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control. This is where the Tesla recognizes a stop sign or traffic light, and behaves accordingly.
Why does Consumer Reports hate Tesla FSD?
Tesla FSD is a beta prototype, meaning that customers are basically trialing it for the company. As FSD operates based on a neural network, it will constantly be adapting and making corrections. A neural network collects information, shares it with the network, and ‘learns’ from the information being collected by all of the Teslas using FSD.
Consumer Reports hasn’t received the FSD update for its Model Y yet, but they plan on testing it once they do. Until then, they’ve been staying on top of the FSD beta v9, and they don’t like what they see. The video above is from Consumer Reports’ summary of their issues with FSD. Tesla FSD users have posted videos that demonstrate how well (or not well) FSD is working in their vehicles, and the results are somewhat alarming.
Among problems with FSD, users’ videos depict cars equipped with FSD “missing turns, scraping against bushes, and heading toward parked cars.” Naturally, this is cause for concern, as some people are under the impression that FSD is more autonomous than it really is. Even with Tesla’s standard Autopilot, which is just semi-autonomous, people have allowed their Teslas to operate as though fully autonomous, sometimes with dangerous and deadly consequences.
Tesla’s website includes the following information about the level of autonomy that FSD offers: “Note: These features are designed to become more capable over time; however the currently enabled features do not make the vehicle autonomous. The currently enabled features require a fully attentive driver, who has their hands on the wheel and is prepared to take over at any moment.”
Consumer Reports is worried that drivers are essentially testing the software
And they’re right. The fact that Tesla has released a beta prototype means that it isn’t a fully tested, secure system. This is what concerns Consumer Reports the most. Consumer Reports points out that this means that other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians are participating in the beta testing of Tesla FSD, completely unaware.
Consumer Reports spoke with other companies with semi-autonomous vehicles, and they confirmed that they don’t beta test their vehicles with the general public. Rather, they used trained drivers.
Consumer Reports wants Tesla to be more proactive in making sure that Tesla drivers are paying attention while operating a vehicle with FSD. Jake Fisher, senior director of CR’s Auto Test Center, says that Tesla should use in-car monitoring systems to make sure that drivers are paying attention.
Fisher says, “When the software works well most of the time . . . a minor failure can become catastrophic because drivers will be more trusting of the system and less engaged when they need to be.”
There are obviously a lot of kinks that need to be worked out in Tesla’s FSD software, and Tesla drivers – and especially the unwitting public – shouldn’t be doing the testing. If you have a Tesla with FSD, make sure you have complete control at all times and are paying attention. If you’re on the road – be careful.