Elon Musk had initially promised the fabled Full Self-Driving Beta version 9 back in August 2018. And then again in 2019. Well, if you’re a Tesla fan, you already know that none of these commitments were fulfilled.
So when, earlier this month, Musk swore on Twitter that the “FSD Beta 9 is shipping soon,” it came as a surprise that he actually held true to his word.
Haha, FSD 9 beta is shipping soon, I swear!
Generalized self-driving is a hard problem, as it requires solving a large part of real-world AI. Didn’t expect it to be so hard, but the difficulty is obvious in retrospect.
Nothing has more degrees of freedom than reality.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 3, 2021
On Saturday, the company released the software update to some 2,000 users in its “Early Access Program.”
Running preproduction software is both work & fun. Beta list was in stasis, as we had many known issues to fix.
Beta 9 addresses most known issues, but there will be unknown issues, so please be paranoid.
Safety is always top priority at Tesla.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 9, 2021
While Musk usually presents updates and new releases in a rather overconfident way, this time you can notice on his post an emphasis on potential limitations and oversights.
Interestingly, this is even more amplified in the software release notes:
Full Self-Driving is in early limited access Beta and must be used with additional caution. It may do the wrong thing at the worst time, so you must always keep your hands on the wheel and pay extra attention on the road. Do not become complacent. When Full Self-Driving is enabled your vehicle will make lane changes off highway, select forks to follow your navigation route, navigate around other vehicles and objects, and make left and right turns. Use Full Self-Driving in limited Beta only if you will pay constant attention to the road, and be prepared to act immediately, especially around blind corners, crossing intersections, and in narrow driving situations.
Release Notes pic.twitter.com/VOi9DX0QFT
— Tesla Raj (@tesla_raj) July 10, 2021
Well, look at that! Tesla is finally warning about complacency, while admitting that its system may fail and “do the wrong thing at the worst time.” That’s definitely a step in the right direction, as much as it is a necessary move for the company’s safety reputation.
Since the Autopilot release in 2015, there have been at least 11 deaths in nine crashes in the US, where the driver assistance system was engaged. There have also been too many Autopilot abuse instances to name. At the same time, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) now obliges car makers to report autonomous vehicle crashes within 24 hours.
So again, a necessary move.
What does the Beta version 9 bring to the table
According to release notes, which you can see above, the update claims to improve the FSD visualization that “will expand to show additional surrounding information.”
— Eli Burton (@EliBurton_) July 10, 2021
What’s more, the cabin camera above the rearview mirror “can now determine driver inattentiveness” featuring audible alerts that remind the driver to keep their eyes on the road, when Autopilot is engaged.
Yeah, it seems that the new Beta is all about enhanced safety, but then again Tesla is more willing than its competitors to test its software updates on its customers…
In any case, here are some videos, where you can get an idea of what the upgraded software looks like:
Do EVs excite your electrons? Do ebikes get your wheels spinning? Do self-driving cars get you all charged up?
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