How to Use Tesla Full Self-Driving Without Crashing

by Giovanni

After many years of anticipation, the Tesla Full Self-Driving release date is finally here. Last week, Elon Musk announced that a beta would be heading out to a select group of Tesla owners in the companies Tesla Early Access Program. The group would provide Tesla real-world data and give us a glimpse into the state of Tesla’s current FSD. Lo’ and behold, for once, we were not subject to ‘Elon Time’. With the companies permission, the NDA was tossed aside and we quickly saw Tesla owners sharing a first look of our future.

It’s hard to not overstate how important the success of Tesla’s Full Self-Driving suite is for the company. With the majority of their future focused on a fleet of FSD Robo-Taxi’s, success on a more lenient version with some human oversight is a pretty big first step. This Tesla software update is arguably one of the biggest technological advancements in our lifetime.

In order to set themselves apart from the rest, Tesla opted to be more than just another car company. Alongside their vastly expanding energy business, they opted to remain software oriented putting a focus on affordable self-driving technology. Over recent years, it wouldn’t be outlandish to say that people are more impressed with Autopilot and other FSD features than they are with the fact that the cars are electric. With Tesla morphing into a tech based company, their efforts in the autonomous driving space is a big reason for their hype and the differentiating factor from others in the space. Never before seen features such as Smart Summon and Nav on Autopilot have been slowly rolled out over the past year with the aim of culminating into having a functioning self-driving car in city streets, eventually.

With this, Tesla has taken a massive step towards full self-driving in an industry defining manner. Without the use of LIDAR, which is used in basically every other autonomous vehicle setup, the company has achieved a significant milestone in the development timeline of Tesla FSD, with the beta finally here.

Tesla FSD Upgrade

While every Tesla made today has full self-driving capability, not each have the features unlocked. The company sells the option as an $8,000 FSD upgrade. You can purchase the FSD upgrade when you initially order your Tesla or anytime afterwards in your Tesla account or app. The cars come stock with all the hardware neccessary so you’re just paying to unlock the features via an over-the-air software update.

Is the Tesla Full Self-Driving worth it? $8,000 might sound steep for some, but with a fully autonomous vehicle in Tesla’s robo-taxi fleet, you’ll make your money back in just a few short months, hypothetically.

The current Tesla Full Self-Driving features are listed below:

  • Navigate on Autopilot: automatic driving from highway on-ramp to off-ramp including interchanges and overtaking slower cars.
  • Auto Lane Change: automatic lane changes while driving on the highway.
  • Autopark: both parallel and perpendicular spaces.
  • Summon: your parked car will come find you anywhere in a parking lot. Really.
  • Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control: assisted stops at traffic controlled intersections.

In short, the car will handle just about every possible situation. From backing out of a parking lot to making turns at intersections, it’s all now possible. The new Tesla FSD beta also comes with a fresh look to the interface. Whether this is finalized or not, the new imagery outputs a more raw look into what the car sees.

How to Use Tesla’s Full Self-Driving

If you have the feature purchased, you can already take advantage of some of Tesla’s prior FSD previews such as stop sign and traffic light recognition. This latest build unlocks the entirety of features but again, is just reserved for those in the Early Access Program. Tesla promises a wide rollout in the coming weeks. The feature comes in the latest Tesla update 2020.40.8.10 (or later).

Once on the proper Tesla version, enabling FSD features is as easy as using them. Simply check under your cars Autopilot settings for heaps of customizable settings. It is recommended that you thoroughly go through each feature customizing them to your liking and comfortability. You are after all trusting a four ton vehicle with your life.

One very important thing to note about Tesla Full Self-Driving is that it’s still not actually… self-driving. The FSD features release notes were very blunt in stating that the system can do the “wrong thing at the worst time” and that you should not become complacent. The transition to a higher level of autonomy will be one of the most dangerous technological leaps. We are at the stage where we must begin giving the cars more control yet they are not refined enough to trust with our lives. We are certainly excited that Tesla continues to push the boundaries, but we hope that no unfortunate incidents happen due to this beta being pushed out.

With that being said, please take note of our top three recommendations for those ready to begin their FSD journeys:

1. Pay Attention

The most important note to keep in mind is that you’re in control, not the car. While the car is doing all the work on your behalf, you’re expected to monitor is and be ready to take over at a moments notice.

2. Pay Really Good Attention

In the past, we’ve seen many Tesla crashes related to owners not focusing while on Autopilot. Statistically, Tesla Autopilot lowers the likelihood of an accident, but only if you’re paying attention. This is not the time to check your Instagram likes, PAY ATTENTION.

3. I’m Serious, Pay Attention.

This is not an over-precaution. Tesla Full Self-Driving is in its early beta form and will make mistakes. Be sure to take a glance at the FSD release notes and the massive disclaimers attached:

Full-Self Driving is in early limited access Beta and mist 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 to 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.

As a Tesla owner, it’s likely you’ve experienced minor Autopilot failures in the past. It is important to note that this Tesla FSD update is not a simple flip of a switch. Just like Autopilot, it will constantly improve with time. Eventually, one day in the not so distant future, you’ll be able to take a nap while your car drives you to work. Just not today.

If all goes well, you are one of the few chosen to pave the autonomous path of our future. Good luck, have fun, and stay safe.

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