Tesla Full Self-Driving released as beta, US NHTSA monitoring situation to protect public against risk – paultan.org
Wow here is a left turn and it safely went through the light. This is bettaaaaa people and it’s amazing. @elonmusk you savage, you have created a life hack and you have accomplished fsd. @tesla_raj pic.twitter.com/L8dPC6PhpU
— Tesla Owners Silicon Valley (@teslaownersSV) October 22, 2020
It’s done it – Tesla has released its Full Self-Driving software to selected “expert and careful” drivers as part of an initial beta release. This update essentially completes Navigate on Autopilot by adding autonomous driving on city streets, giving these owners virtually door-to-door self-driving functionality.
The update landed on Thursday night in the United States, prompting several users to post videos of the system working on social media. It certainly looks impressive, enabling the car to negotiate junctions and roundabouts, turn on the indicators, obey traffic lights and even stop for pedestrians.
But the beta release is being held under intense scrutiny, according to Reuters – which is to be expected, given the company’s track record. The country’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it is watching the situation closely and is ready to protect the public against any safety risk.
“NHTSA has been briefed on Tesla’s new feature, which represents an expansion of its existing driver assistance system,” it said in a statement. “The agency will monitor the new technology closely and will not hesitate to take action to protect [the] public against unreasonable risks to safety.”
Overly cautious at a roundabout… I didn’t have to interact until the end of the process. Not bad for the first attempt! Go FSD BETA! pic.twitter.com/3gPkztUWgY
— Brandonee916 (@brandonee916) October 22, 2020
Tesla has been rather cavalier in releasing unfinished software and inadequately informing users of what systems such as Autopilot and Smart Summon can and cannot do, leading to crashes and even deaths. In July, NHTSA said its special crash investigation team “looked into 19 crashes involving Tesla vehicles where it was believed some form of advanced driver assistance system was engaged at the time of the incident.”
Researches, regulators and insurance groups have said that true self-driving is still years away from being a reality and more complex than companies expected years ago, the Reuters report stated. These groups have criticised Tesla’s promotion of the existing Autopilot system as being “dangerously misleading“.
In particular, Partners for Automated Vehicle Education (PAVE), a consortium of self-driving technology companies that include Ford, General Motors and Google’s autonomous driving arm Waymo, slammed Tesla’s approach in a statement released on Thursday. “Public road testing is a serious responsibility and using untrained consumers to validate beta-level software on public roads is dangerous and inconsistent with existing guidance and industry norms,” it said.
For its part, Tesla has outlined that users need to exercise caution and pay full attention to prevent a dangerous situation from occurring, Electrek reported. “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 to the road. Do not become complacent.
“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, crossings, intersections, and in narrow driving situations,” it wrote in the release notes.
Tesla’s Full Self-Driving won’t stay a limited release for long – in an earnings call on Wednesday, CEO Elon Musk promised a wide release by the end of this year as more data is collected.
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