After 79 days without it, we recently regained access to Tesla FSD Beta (V10.69), along with Tesla’s latest software version, 2022. 20.15. A week later we got the download for version 2022.20.17. For more background, see: “Tesla Full Self Driving Beta: Lost & Found! We Lost It After 206 Days, Got It Back Again After 79 Days.”
Observations since getting access to FSD Beta again
We are about to head back to Utah, but so far, all of our recent driving with FSD Beta has been in rural Northern Wisconsin. It is really fun to sit in our driveway, put the car in Drive, pull the right stock down twice, and have the car drive perfectly without intervention to most locations within 50 miles that we put into the navigation.
However, on only the second day that I got back access to Tesla’s FSD Beta, I already used one of my new allotment of 5 forced disengagement events.
All Tesla owners: Automatic steering that every Tesla owner has requires the driver to keep a little torque on the steering wheel, but you can look anywhere you want, eat, text, whatever without consequences. (See new warning below!)
FSD Beta drivers: FSD Beta is much more invasive. The camera above the rear-view mirror is looking at your face. The software can tell if you are looking at the screen to your right, looking down at your phone or at something you are eating, and maybe even if your eyes are shut. If you do any of these things for more than 15 seconds, you get an audible and visual warning. I think I got my new forced disengagement for looking at a drink in my lap for only 30 seconds.
Bottom line: Keep your eyes fixed on the road. Don’t even look at or use the control screen on you right for more than 15 seconds if you don’t want to lose your FSD Beta functionality. If you do get an audible and visual warning, don’t try to correct your behavior — turn off FSD Beta immediately by pushing up on the right control stock. When you are ready to fully concentrate on the road again, you can re-initiate FSD Beta.
Alternative: Use voice controls or turn off FSD Beta! Turn it back on again after you adjust the heater or look at the sandwich you are eating, etc.
Warning for all Tesla drivers: Big Brother is now watching you! It appears that with the most recent software update, 2022.20.17, everyone using automatic steering will have the camera above the rear-view mirror watching their every move. Note: This is a much better method for determining drive attentiveness than observing torque on the steering wheel. However, it is more invasive. With standard Tesla automatic steering, if you get a forced disengagement, you will only lose access until you put the car in Park and start again. You can do this as many times as needed and you won’t lose access to the functionality.
Jerky steering! Most of the steering by FSD Beta is very smooth and accurate. It keeps the car in the center of the lane on highways better than I can do manually. However, on turns onto backroad streets it waits so long that you think it has missed the turn, and then the steering wheel spins just in time to barely make the turn. You can initiate FSD Beta in a Walmart parking lot. However, the steering wheel will jerk like a madman is driving as it makes the turns and sometimes will take you to a dead end. This jerky behavior happens while making sharp turns at very low speeds.
Wrong lane selection: Zach and I have observed numerous times that FSD Beta has made a lane selection that is inconsistent with the navigation route. Recently when using FSD Beta, it was navigating perfectly on the low-traffic 46 mile route from our cabin in Three Lakes to Antigo, Wisconsin. As we approached our left turn to TJ Maxx in Antigo on a four-lane road, we were in the righthand lane. I was relieved when it switched to the lefthand lane in preparation for the left turn. I was about to give a cheer to FSD Beta when it changed lanes to the left again and headed directly towards a traffic island. Tesla still has work to do on proper lane selection.
Like my editor, Zach Shahan, when approaching a stop light or stop sign, I don’t like that FSD Beta still waits too long, necessitating hard braking. It is not just the regenerative braking — the car’s friction disc brakes are also engaged, which will wear them out sooner over time. For more commentary on this, see my previous article.
The remainder of this article was also published in that previous piece, but here it is again for anyone who didn’t read that:
I have very much enjoyed being part of Tesla’s ~100,0000 FSD Beta customer testing team. I have obsessively used FSD Beta now for a total 220 days through 6 versions of the software and I have never had an accident or bad scare. As anyone using automatic steering has learned, you know when it is reliable and when you must give special attention and be prepared to intervene. It has been fascinating to watch the improvements in the software with the new versions, but even some backsliding (e.g. Phantom Braking) and some critical failures which have not been addressed (e.g. occasional wrong lane choice and navigation failures). Also, in areas with high traffic density FSD Beta is too timid and unable to make unprotected turns (with no traffic signals) safely. I hope Tesla surprises us, but Zach and I see little chance that Tesla will achieve 100% level 5 automation in the next few years.
Summarizing my main observations after regaining access to Tesla FSD Beta
- I can verbally or with text enter an address or business into the navigation and the car will drive me there with no interventions (in ideal cases).
- My car will once again auto-steer on single lane roads with no yellow center lines. (There are many roads like this in rural Northern Wisconsin.)
- You need to put the car in Drive and wait for the little grey steering wheel to appear. At that point, you only need to pull down the right stalk twice to initiate FSD Beta. Then your car will perform all the functions of autosteer and traffic-aware cruise control (TACC) plus all the additional FSD Beta features.
- My car will again easily make very tight turns marked ~15 mph. For my 79 days as an outcast, my car would bail out in the middle of a tight turn. FSD Beta will also again successfully navigate rotaries.
- With FSD Beta restored, my car will consistently stop smoothly in the right place at stop signs and stop lights.
- My car will once again go through green lights automatically. (You would think!)
- I can once again set the speed more than 5 mph. over the map speed limit. This is especially useful in rural Northern Wisconsin when the map speed limit is often too low.
- When leaving a 35 mph zone in a town and returning to 55 mph, my car will once again automatically raise the speed back up to 55 or 60 mph.
- However, I will once again have to limit my observation and use of the control screen on my right or look down at my phone etc. for longer than ~15 seconds or I will be nagged. If I do it too long, I will get a forced disengagement. If I get 4 more forced disengagements I will lose access to FSD Beta again.
Please continue to shower me with your own observations, complaints, etc. in the comments section. I am particularly interested how many others have also lost their FSD Beta privileges and have had them restored.
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