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Tesla FSD (Beta) graphical interface. Left turn at a busy intersection. Note: green left turn signal, projected path, lane markers, red curb, and cars with tail lights. Saint George, Utah. December 21, 2021. Photo by Fritz Hasler.

Autonomous Vehicles

Tesla “Full Self Driving” v10.8 Ongoing Review — Part 3

Below is a further summary of things Tesla “Full Self Driving” (FSD) v10.8 does well and has problems with.

Automatic Lane Changes

Tesla Full Self-Driving (FSD) software is quite adept at slowing down or speeding up to safely fit into a fairly small spot when changing lanes. Even when driving with only Autosteer, I almost always initiated the lane change with the turn signal rather than changing lanes manually. I don’t have eyes in the back of my head, but my car does (so to speak).

One place where it is weaker is that it is not as adept as a fairly aggressive human driver who realizes that he/she must change multiple lanes to avoid missing a turn or exit.

Stupid Stuff

With FSD (v10.5 and v10.8), the car also does lots of stupid stuff — like going into the wrong lane, not getting into a turn lane in time, running a stop sign, missing turns altogether, etc.

My experience is that FSD signals and moves smoothly into the turn lane, but quite late. Not getting into turn lanes in time is usually a problem of not planning far enough ahead. A human driver will estimate the distance to the expected turn or exit and the traffic congestion to make sure he/she is in the turn lane in time. With FSD, you will sometimes miss your turn because the software can’t plan far enough ahead for a given situation.

I’ve also seen some situations where errors in navigation and speed control appear to be a problem with the map the software is using. I know of situations where changes due to fairly new highway construction — and always with highways under construction — cause navigation errors because the maps are not up to date. I also know of situations where you are on a limited-access highway with a speed limit of 70 mph and suddenly the map is giving a speed limit of 30 mph and the car starts to brake. Apparently, the car is picking up a speed limit from a nearby city street or crossing street. This problem also existed with the old Traffic-Aware Cruise Control (TACC). You need to keep a foot lightly on the accelerator to add throttle if needed in such situations.

Summarizing: These problems with inaccurate maps existed with smart cruise control and autosteer before I got access to FSD Beta, but v10.5 and v10.8 of FSD do nothing to address them.

Speed Bumps

In general, if your speed is set to 30 mph (five mph over 25 mph), your Tesla with FSD activated will fly across a speed bump fast enough to damage your car. I’ve seen only one case where the car apparently slowed down for a marked speed bump.

Running a Stop Sign, Oh My!

There is one stop sign in St. George, Utah, coming up 1650 W and turning left or right onto busy Snow Canyon Parkway where FSD will consistently run the stop sign. This behavior persists with FSD v10.8. My Tesla will stop legally at all other stop signs that I have encountered.

Solution: Turn off FSD and make the turn manually. (Note: I only retest the behavior when there is no cross traffic.)

Message to Elon Musk and his FSD software engineers: PLEASE FIX THIS!!

This is very dangerous, and I don’t even know how it is possible for FSD to fail only in this specific case. If anyone at Tesla is reading this or anyone knows how to get a message to them, please let them know. I would be very happy to work with them to resolve this issue.

Test the Limits, Get Really Crazy Stuff

If you test the limits of FSD, be ready to intervene immediately and be prepared for some really crazy stuff. Last evening in the dark, I was facing a pickup truck with lights on facing me in my traffic lane. I was pleased to see my car moving left to avoid the pickup, but just as I passed it, the car started to make a left turn onto a street that wasn’t programmed in my navigation.

Occasionally, when making a turn, the car will turn into a bike lane or a wide lane near the curb which is not a traffic lane. It’s best to intervene immediately. Although, the car will usually find the actual traffic lane eventually if you do not intervene.

Navigating out of a parking lot in really tight situations, the steering wheel will jerk back and forth a lot and sometimes find a dead end rather than the exit.

Solution: If you don’t want to see crazy stuff, don’t test FSD in edge situations.

Once Again …

Me, my wife Mary, Zuni, my ebike, and our Tesla Model 3 at Zion National Park in Utah. January 10, 2022.

I am tickled pink to be among the privileged few in the world to have this FSD software and I will continue to enjoy the things it does so well and turn it off, prod it, and be ready for some light pressure on the accelerator for the things it doesn’t do so well.

The Radical Update to the User Interface on Christmas 2021

The positive side of getting a radical new user interface is that it is just like making your old car into a brand new car. This is analogous to changes that Apple and Microsoft users have often seen to their interfaces over the years.

The downside is that it makes you feel like you are in a brand new car and you have to learn how it operates all over again. My initial experience is that Tesla has done an excellent job with the new user interface — and, in many cases, it is more intuitive than the old interface. However, Zach Shahan finds that the multimedia interface is actually worse. [Editor’s note: This is the first time I recall getting an update that I absolutely thought made the infotainment setup worse. Many, many other Tesla owners have complained about it as well, including many who don’t really complain about Tesla matters. I assume some corrections will be made in time. —Zach]

A Few UI Changes I Have Observed

The layout for many functions has been radically changed with the new user interface.

The driver and passenger have separate controls for the heater and heated seats on the far left and far right of the screen. This is much more intuitive once you figure it out. [Editor’s note: One problem we have with these is that they are no longer visible at all times, and there have been times when mine was left on level 1 heating and I didn’t realize it even as the day had warmed up and I the air conditioning turned on to cool off. (I live in Florida.) Additionally, these settings now take extra clicks to adjust, which is not at all convenient while driving. This is also one of the top things I’ve seen others very upset about. —Zach]

I listen to cable news and my local news station: The new interface makes it easier to find these once you figure them out.

You can now add waypoints into the navigation. (Hurray!)

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Arthur Frederick (Fritz) Hasler, PhD, former leader of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization & Analysis Laboratory (creator of this iconic image), and avid CleanTechnica reader. Also: Research Meteorologist (Emeritus) at NASA GSFC, Adjunct Professor at Viterbo University On-Line Studies, PSIA L2 Certified Alpine Ski Instructor at Brighton Utah Ski School.


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