Tesla Deployed Full Self-Driving Beta in Some Cars. Here’s How It Works.

First off, it’s not actually autonomous

Tesla full-self driving
Tesla is now offering some drivers to beta test its full self-driving tech.
Bram Van Oost/Unsplash

Last week Monday we gave you a heads up that Tesla would be releasing a beta version of its full self-driving (FSD) capability to some cars this week. It appears Elon Musk’s team has made the deadline; after the CEO tweeted about the release on Tuesday, The Verge and Electrek have found videos of Tesla owners reportedly using the “autonomous” driving features.

We’re putting “autonomous” in quotes there because, despite the name “full self-driving,” drivers are supposed to keep their hands on the steering wheel and be ready to take over at all times. As Ed Niedermeyer, communications director for Partners for Automated Vehicle Education, told The Verge, “Systems requiring human driver oversight are not self-driving and should not be called self-driving.”

But it’s Tesla, so they’re going to stick with terms like “Autopilot” and “full self-driving beta,” no matter how problematic.

Naming conventions aside, how big of a deal is this upgrade? First of all, it’s reportedly only being released to a small group of customers at this point, though Musk is hoping for a wider rollout before the end of the year. But those that have it are seemingly able to navigate conditions the Autopilot technology couldn’t (or shouldn’t) before, such as residential streets with no lane markers, turns on city streets, stop signs and roundabouts. 

To see it in action, check out this video from user Tesla Raj on YouTube:

Will Tesla owners be responsible with this technology? Or should other drivers on the road now steer clear of any they see? If history is a guide, probably best to keep your actual, human senses alert.

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