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Tesla Track Mode vs Tesla Safety Score
Photo by Jeffry Ling (my car, me driving)

Autonomous Vehicles

Can Tesla’s Track Mode & Safety Score Coexist?

Owners of performance models want leniency for performance driving

By Matt Woodworth

Tesla’s rollout of the Full Self Driving (FSD) beta request button and accompanying Safety Score Beta has been met with apprehension by a small subset of owners, namely those who regularly enjoy their cars on a race track or autocross course and who have purchased the $10,000 FSD upgrade. They are looking forward to receiving the FSD beta, but have to avoid taking their cars on the track due to the Safety Score system.

Admittedly, the Venn diagram depicting owners who track their cars and those who opted for the FSD upgrade must show a minuscule overlap, but it’s a point of contention for yours truly and several of my friends.

Some say that we can’t have our cake and eat it too, that of course we shouldn’t be allowed to bomb around Road Atlanta, Laguna Seca, or the Marina Municipal Airport parking lot and not have it impact our Safety Score. My only counter would have to be: what is the point of the Safety Score?

The point is to separate good drivers — and good driving environments — from less safe drivers and driving environments. It seems to be the consensus that it’s already outrageously sensitive, as you have to putt around and not so much as breathe on the brake pedal to get a decent score. But the bigger worry here is that it ignores context. The same driver who can scream (silently) around a circuit can be (and often is) among the safest drivers on the street, having scratched the itch at the track. They tend to be more mature, experienced drivers overall. Yet, several owners have verified that enabling Track Mode and its accompanying “aggressive cornering” and “hard braking” is punished under the system as of this writing.

What good is Track Mode if you can’t use it? Since FSD beta access can be revoked, will a single autocross kick one out of the beta testing pool? Should it, really? It should be relatively easy to distinguish closed circuit driving from aggressive driving on public roads, what with the car reporting its location and recording video from all angles. This seems like a very easy problem to solve.

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