We tested Tesla Full Self-Driving Beta in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and it was scary | Electrek

we tested tesla’s full self-driving (fsd) beta version in the blue ridge mountains in north carolina, and it was a terrifying experience.

fsd beta allows tesla vehicles to drive autonomously to a destination entered into the car’s navigation system, but the driver must remain vigilant and ready to take control at all times.

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since the responsibility lies with the driver and not with the tesla system, it is still considered a level two driver assistance system despite its name. Tesla is basically using its customer fleet to test capabilities and collect data to improve towards its goal of eventually making the system truly autonomous and taking responsibility for it.

I’ve had fsd beta on my model 3 for a few months and sporadically test it when I feel like there’s a potentially interesting scenario. I usually don’t use it in my daily driving because for me it feels like work and adds a level of stress that I don’t need.

yesterday my girlfriend and I went hiking in the blue ridge mountains in north carolina. on our way back i thought it might be interesting to test the tesla fsd ​​beta (version 10.12) on blue ridge avenue as it is a scenario where fsd beta should excel because there are very few intersections and the lines of the road they’re as clear cut as it gets.

here you can see the complete album without editing:

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the scenario puts fsd beta in similar circumstances to tesla autopilot, but on lower speed roads, so i thought it would work great.

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For the most part, it worked well: the computer vision system is great at sensing its surroundings, and the car stays perfectly centered in the lane.

at one point (9:50), we came across hikers walking very close to the road, which had no shoulders, and tesla fsd ​​beta quickly detected them, slowed down, and even planned to move further to the left to give them space before they got further off the road:

that was pretty cool driving behavior I was about to do myself, if fsd beta hadn’t shown us what he was planning.

The most annoying part of fsd beta, like the autopilot, continues to be the frequency of “phantom braking” events where the vehicle slows down for no good reason. As you can see, it happens a few times on this ride, although I feel like the slowdown isn’t as significant as on autopilot; that could simply be explained by different driving speeds on freeways compared to this slower road.

I also noticed some inconsistencies in the speed of tesla fsd ​​beta turns. you can watch it slow down to take some corners that don’t seem like you need to slow down, and then take others just as quickly at your set top speed.

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during the 13 minute 8 mile test, we only had one driver intervention (12:56), but it was obviously significant. Tesla FSD Beta was clearly taking the sharp turn too fast, and was about to throw us off the cliff on the side of the road. I applied the brakes when I felt the car go through the double lanes directly onto the other side of the road. it certainly was scary for a second.

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the weird thing is that fsd beta knew that this road had sharp curves that required slowing down, since it was driving a good 10mph below the set speed, but somehow it didn’t anticipate that curve correctly.

from the predicted path (blue line), you can see that fsd beta has a hard time predicting how sharp the turn really is and seems to line up with the double lines:

as fsd started to come into the corner, I could feel that I was going too fast and that there was no way the car would not miss the corner without hitting the brakes before forcing the wheel to the right.

This is a good reminder that the system is still in beta and it is extremely important to stay vigilant and ready to take control at all times. stay safe out there.

note: this post is based on my own opinion of tesla fsd ​​beta based on this test, in which you can see raw video footage from above.

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