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Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Beta: A Mind-Blowing Update?

Tesla CEO Elon Musk had been touting the software update for months, claiming that it would “blow people’s minds.” Did it live up to the hype? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Tesla’s new Full Self-Driving Beta program and see if it really is the game-changer that Musk promised.

What is Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Beta?

Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Beta program is designed to make the driver assist system in Tesla vehicles more human-like. The new feature enables drivers to take their hands off the steering wheel while the car pilots itself around city streets using only its cameras to navigate its environment, including pets, pedestrians, bikers, and other traffic participants.

Tesla’s system can do all other driving functions autonomously, including driving through intersections. With Full Self-Driving Beta, Tesla drivers can drive themselves both on highways and city streets, virtually. However, it’s still considered a Level 2 driver assistance since it requires driver supervision at all times.

What are the Levels of Driver Assistance?

The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) defines the levels of driver assistance in cars. Level 0 means that the car has no automation, and the driver is responsible for everything. Level 5 means that the car is fully autonomous, and the system can handle all aspects of driving, including decision-making.

Level 2 driver assistance means that the car has several systems working together, such as maintaining speed with acceleration and braking, holding distance to the car ahead, detecting pedestrians, and keeping the car in its lane. Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Beta falls under this category.

How does Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Beta work?

Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Beta uses a camera-based system to detect the environment around the car. It employs cameras solely in its “pure vision” edition and can make decisions about navigating the roads, driving through merging lanes, and handling intersections.

However, the driver remains liable for the vehicle and is required to keep their hands on the steering wheel and ready to take control. This limitation is because the current iteration of the advanced driver assist system still has a lot of room for improvement.

What are the Limitations of Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Beta?

One of the limitations of Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Beta is that it still requires driver supervision at all times. Additionally, there is a hardware upgrade that many owners of current models will have to pay for an additional $1,500 to get the Full Self-Driving to unlock and work.

Furthermore, Elon Musk has been notoriously over-optimistic when it comes to launching dates. Early testers of Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Beta have reported receiving the new software update, but it remains to be seen how the new update performs in more challenging situations.

NHTSA’s Request for Information from Tesla

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has requested all information from Tesla to do a relatively robust analysis of the data. Although the data may be misleading since a system like an autopilot could be engaged and functioning in areas that are more dangerous and could actually be reducing accidents.

Under these circumstances, the NHTSA may want to limit Tesla’s operational driving domain or apply more driver monitoring, which Tesla is already doing with the camera class switching over to vision only.


Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Beta program is undoubtedly an impressive technology, but it is still in its early stages. The new update detects its environment exceptionally well, but it still has many limitations that require driver supervision and hardware upgrades.

Nonetheless, the new Tesla Full Self-Driving Beta program is an incredible innovation that is a significant step forward in autonomous driving technologies. As Tesla continues to refine and improve the system, it will be exciting to see where it goes next.

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