Stuck between a rock and a hard place after taking thousands of dollars from customers for vaporware it likely felt it had to release at some point, Tesla has finally pushed out its Full Self Driving beta.
The company, whose Autopilot software has already been at the center of numerous wrecks and deaths that we have documented over the last few years, warns up front about "Full Self Driving" by telling the driver it "may do the wrong thing at the worst time."
FSD beta program here we go. Hell yeah pic.twitter.com/dNVGlwyYv6— Tesla Owners Silicon Valley (@teslaownersSV) October 22, 2020
An article by the Verge called the beta "terrifying" and "scary as hell" due to the "way it will be inevitably misused." The article said that driver reactions have ranged from “that was a little scary” to full-throated enthusiasm for the product and for being a beta tester.
One driver said FSD allowed him to navigate streets without lane markers, something he was unable to do in the past with Autopilot. When the car started making turns, the driver called it: “kind of scary, because we’re not used to that.” He posted a video of his experience:
But not everyone has been excited about the idea of the public beta testing the feature.
Ed Niedermeyer, communications director for Partners for Automated Vehicle Education, said: “Public road testing is a serious responsibility and using untrained consumers to validate beta-level software on public roads is dangerous and inconsistent with existing guidance and industry norms.”
He continued: “Moreover, it is extremely important to clarify the line between driver assistance and autonomy. Systems requiring human driver oversight are not self-driving and should not be called self-driving.”
Recall, a couple of weeks ago we noted that FSD is supposed to allow Tesla vehicles to react to stop signs, stop lights and freeway exits.
At the time we called the software a "convenient promise"; enough of a gesture for Musk to say he fulfilled his previous promise of having Full Self Driving complete by the end of 2020, but a small enough testing size for Musk to not truly have to debut anything of substance on a grand scale.
Watching the software roll out we can't help but think it could be a long while before a final product is distributed and is being utilized ubiquitously. Until then, don't be surprised as the stories of both Autopilot and FSD showing off neat "features" like driving through storefronts, continue.