A couple of days ago, I published an article about some videos showing what Tesla Full Self-Driving (beta) can do and cannot do so well at this stage of its development. The videos were from a great YouTuber located up in Michigan who goes by the stage name “DirtyTesla.” A fellow Floridian, Chuck Cook, is also an early user and tester of the cutting-edge Full Self-Driving suite who is sharing a lot of content on YouTube showing how FSD is doing in different situations. Below are several of the most interesting highlights, imho.
Yield Sign in Awkward Spot
In the video below, there’s a “Yield” sign in a median between two one-way roads. A pedestrian is crossing and the car does indeed yield before crossing either lane and wait to proceed until a pedestrian has crossed the road.
I have wondered how it would handle speed bumps. In the short video below, Chuck shows that his Tesla Model 3 slows down to 15 mph right before each speed bump and gracefully goes over it.
These speed bumps are the large but sort of low/flat ones. I’m curious if it uses the same logic for taller, bumpier ones.
Lane Centering with Unmarked On-Street Parking
One current issue that is probably technically correct but is not at all what a normal human would do unless they were on drugs or something concerns roads with on-street parking that is not clearly marked. As you can see in the video below, every time there’s a decent gap without any cars parked on the side, Chuck’s Tesla goes toward the right. Then, as it approaches more parked cars, it goes back toward the center. This results in it driving along the road sort of like a snake.
In one extreme case, it actually stops behind a parked car, seemingly thinking its not parked, just stopped at a stop sign or red light or something. It does seem to figure it out without too much delay, but Chuck was a little freaked out about it by then and disengaged Autopilot as it started to re-enter the road.
In sections of the road where there’s a white line showing the on-street parking’s boundary, the car does great and just sticks in the middle of the road. Without that, though, it is constantly adjusting to find the edge of the driving path.
Unprotected Left Turns
In the following video, the car needs to get across divided highways to make left turns. This is one of the harder situations for a driver or a self-driving car, and it’s actually one of the challenges that I’d think FSD would have some serious trouble with at this point. Chuck’s Tesla Model 3 nails it both times. It’s really impressive to see the system already handling this type of situation well. It also appears to have great vision down the road in both directions, which is critical to making such turns effectively.
Cyclists in Construction Area
In another rather impressive situation, the car is going through a construction area in which lanes are blocked off and it is approaching a couple of bikers. The Tesla appears to handle the situation well. However, we don’t get a full test of how it would do because Chuck puts his foot on the accelerator “a smidge” in order to make sure to go around them without much delay. I assume the car would do the same just a little more slowly.
What Tesla FSD Does When There’s No Destination
Update: Elon Musk shared the following with CleanTechnica on this matter:
“It should default to taking you to what’s on your calendar, to home or to work depending on context.“
This is one of the most interesting, hilarious, and surprising ones. I assumed, and I think most others did as well, that Full Self-Driving would not activate without a destination in the Tesla navigation system. After all, where would it drive if it didn’t know where to go? I was wrong.
Chuck says that he emailed Tesla about this, and he recalled their response being, “That’s the existential question — ‘where are you going when you have no destination?'” More practically, “the best predicted path” is the path they said it’s going on. It’s unclear what exactly that means. It could be best predicted based on Chuck’s driving history (I assume that’s the case), or it could be a likely path based on street types, common travel in the area, or something else. At a couple of stop signs, Chuck even put the blinker on to turn in the opposite direction of the car’s decided route, but the car ignored that and kept going where it wanted to go! Similarly, he put on the blinker once when the car wanted to go straight, and the car went straight. It’s surprising the car’s undesignated but certain route overrides the signals the driver put in, but that’s the deal right now.
I’m not going to lie — after discovering this neat aspect of the current FSD system, I’d love to sit in the car for hours discovering where it wants to take me! How mysterious and fun that would be! Perhaps I will get FSD beta access this week and be able to try that out.
More, More, More
Chuck has a bunch of other videos on his YouTube channel. Check them out if you are thirsty for me. A video Chuck published yesterday involved a lot of pedestrian testing. (Don’t tell the pedestrians!) I don’t see much there that is surprising. Chuck thinks the car doesn’t slow down quite enough when passing pedestrians. I would tend to think so as well. However, one thing we are perhaps not accounting for is that the car has super vision and super fast reflexes. So, perhaps it feels confident enough to pass them at a quicker pace that Chuck or I would. Also, the system must need to handle all types of situations with similar logic, and there are many cases where passing pedestrians too slowly would be odd and perhaps even dangerous if other cars weren’t prepared for the sluggish passing.
And Chuck’s latest video is a nearly 20 minute video focused on parking lots. Want to know how well it can handle parking lots at this point? Check out this video:
Stay tuned for more!
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