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Autonomous Vehicles

Tesla Full Self Driving Beta: Lost & Found! We Lost It After 206 Days, Got It Back Again After 79 Days

I just got my Tesla Full Self Driving (FSD) Beta access restored!!!!!

Background

For 206 days, my wife and I obsessively used Tesla FSD Beta in our Model 3. However, we struck out for the 5th time on June 27th, 2022, and lost access to the software!

A few days ago, after 79 days “in the wilderness,” we got our access to Tesla’s FSD Beta restored, along with Tesla’s latest software update version 2022. 20.15 and FSD Beta 10.69.2

I paid $6,000 extra for Full Self Driving when I bought my Tesla Model 3 in October 2019. (Note: The cost to add Full Self Driving with new Tesla purchases has just been increased to $15,000). On October 21, 2021, we were able to download the FSD Beta software, but we were only able to activate the software 5 weeks later after passing Tesla’s infuriating safety test.

We obsessively used FSD Beta for 206 days. We were warned that if we got 5 forced disengagements of FSD Beta, we would lose access to it. On June 27, 2022, we struck out for the 5th time and lost access to the software.

Overall, we have now driven nearly 76,000 miles coast to coast with our Tesla Model 3. I just celebrated my 82nd birthday. I have been driving for nearly 66 years with only two minor blind spot fender bender sideswipes and no serious accidents over that period.

Problem #1: Tesla doesn’t tell you what behavior will cause a forced disengagement

Tesla only tells you that you will get audible and visual warnings when you are in danger of a forced disengagement. If this continues too long, you will get a forced disengagement. At that point you will lose FSD Beta until you stop, put the car in park, and then resume driving. If this happens a 5th time, you will lose access to FSD Beta. From nearly 3 years of driving with Tesla’s autosteer and traffic-aware cruise control, and 206 days with FSD Beta, I have learned on my own that you get a forced disengagement for the following reasons: 1) If you don’t apply the correct amount of torque to the steering wheel for more than say 60 seconds. 2) If you exceed 80 mph, now 85 mph, when FSD Beta is active. (Note: if you exceed 85 mph with FSD is engaged, you will instantaneously get a forced disengagement.) 3) With FSD Beta, the camera above the mirror looking at your face is activated. If you fail to look at the road too long for any reason, you will get a visual and auditory warning. I assume if you persist with this behavior too long, you will get a forced disengagement.

Problem #2: Unlike Tesla’s infuriating safety test, you are not informed the day/time of your infraction or the reason. This would have helped us avoid future infractions.

We did our best to not get forced disengagements. Over 206 days, I got 3 forced disengagements nonetheless. Up to June 27, 2022, my wife had no forced disengagements. However, on that day on a simple 30 mile rural drive from Three Lakes to Rheinlander, Wisconsin, and back, she got two forced disengagements and our FSD Beta access was revoked.

5 strikes, you’re out

Previously, when I looked at the FSD Beta instructions in the Autopilot sub-menu under the Controls Menu in our car, it said: “Your access to FSD Beta has been revoked for recent driving behavior.” It also said my access would be restored with an upcoming software release. We had no idea when that release would come. Hurray!!!! A few days ago, September 14, 2022, we got software update 2022.20.15 and FSD Beta V10.69 and we were notified that the forced disengagement counter has been set back to zero.

I have very much enjoyed being part of Tesla’s ~100,0000 customer FSD Beta testing team. I obsessively used FSD Beta for 206 days and through 5 updates of the software. It was fascinating to see the improvements in the software with the new versions, but also even some backsliding (e.g., phantom braking) and some critical failures not being 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). I hope they surprise us, but Zach and I see little chance that Tesla will achieve level 5 automation in the next few years. (Go to sleep in the back seat automation.)

I have it back again and am now reporting on FSD Beta 10.69.2.

What does regaining access to Tesla FSD Beta mean to me?

  • I can enter an address or business into the navigation again and the car will drive me there with no interventions (in ideal cases).
  • My car will once again autosteer on single-lane roads with no yellow center lines. (There are many roads like this in rural Northern Wisconsin, so this is an important one to me.)
  • I only need to pull down the right stalk twice to initiate FSD Beta. Then my car performs all the functions of autosteer and traffic aware cruise plus all the FSD features.
  • My car will again easily make very tight turns marked ~15 mph. For the last 79 days, my car would bail out in the middle of a tight turn. FSD Beta will also again successfully navigate rotaries.
  • With FSD Beta restored, the car will smoothly stop at stop signs and stop lights (so far).
  • 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 sometimes 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.
  • I will once again have to limit my observation and use of the control screen on my right or my phone, and not close my eyes for longer than ~15 seconds, or I will be nagged. I have never observed it, but I believe if you do this too long, you will get a forced disengagement.

Like my editor Zach Shahan, when approaching a stop light or stop sign, I don’t like that the car will wait too long to start braking, necessitating hard braking. Both of us have assumed that not just the regenerative braking, but also the cars mechanical disk brakes must be engaged here.

An excellent feature of the latest software update on the braking/acceleration display: When accelerating, a white line to the right is displayed where the length is proportional to the magnitude of the acceleration. When slowing down a green line is displayed to the left where the length of the line is proportional to the amount of regenerative braking. The new feature here is that when mechanical braking occurs, a new grey line is displayed to the left of the green line where the length of the grey line is proportional to the intensity of mechanical braking.

Zach and I would prefer that when there is enough time, the car would start braking early enough that only regenerative braking would be required. Our suspicion that FSD Beta and traffic aware cruise almost always do hard mechanical braking at stop lights and stop signs has been confirmed.

I’ve only had FSD Beta again for a few days, so stand by for additional observations.

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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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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