It’s presumptuous of me to write an article on Tesla’s FSD Beta v9 considering the sad fact that my Tesla Model 3 doesn’t have it. I’ve had the urge to do it anyway, but what could I say? Well, I’ve watched videos and read articles written by people who have it, and now I have something to say that no one has said. I’m going to compare Tesla to Mercedes Benz.
There are numerous people who now have access to the FSD v9 Beta, and many of them have now posted videos online to describe their experience. We take a look at some of those most interesting videos below.
All these reviewers mention that v9 is much smoother and more human-like in its driving leading to fewer disengagements. You’ll note that even though v9 is a better driver, it’s not yet a human-level driver. There’s no such thing as disengagement when a human is driving.
AI Addict took his Tesla with v9 down Lombard St. in San Francisco and here's how it did:
For those of you not familiar with San Francisco, Lombard St is extremely curvy and hilly. It’s also very narrow. It’s a one-way street, so you have to drive downhill. The last time I drove down that hill, I scraped my car on a cement curb. AI addict went down the street twice, and he had to take over both times. Clearly, Lombard St is an edge case that the neural network hasn’t mastered yet.
Here’s a v9 video in San Francisco that doesn’t go down Lombard St, but that does still need some human interventions.
Here’s a video by Dirty Tesla in downtown Ann Arbor. He did need to intervene a number of times.
So, basically, v9 is much better than v8, but it’s still not able to drive as well as the average human driver. So, what else is new? Here’s the kicker.
There’s an article in Engadget that describes the author's test track experience in a Mercedes Benz with level 3 self-driving. Benz is planning to release level 3 within a year.
Below you have the six levels of vehicle autonomy as defined by the SAE International group, which defined the standards the US goverment now uses.
Here’s the thing about the Mercedes Benz version of level three. It’s geofenced to limited access highways, and it’s velocity fenced to speeds of less than 60 kilometers/hour which translates to speeds of less than 37.2 miles an hour. So if you buy one of these cars for the level 3 self-driving feature, you’ll be able to use it only on limited-access highways during traffic jams. According to the video, you’ll be able to watch movies, play video games, and send texts while in traffic jams, that is unless the police see you doing those things. You’ll be able to keep your hands off the steering wheel, but you still have to be ready to take over instantly if the car decides it doesn’t know what to do. If you fall asleep or raise a newspaper high enough so the interior camera doesn’t know if you’re awake and alert, the level 3 self-driving feature will stop working.
So now, let’s get back to Tesla. Although I don’t have FSD Beta v9, I do have Navigate on Autopilot on my Model 3, and that’s what gets used on limited-access highways even on cars with FSD Beta v9. So here’s my experience on limited-access highways.
I do have to keep my hands on the steering wheel, and I’m not permitted to text, play video games, or watch movies even when I’m in a slow-moving traffic jam. Frankly, I wouldn’t feel safe doing those things while driving any car including a Mercedes. And keeping my hands on the wheel seems like the right thing to do in a car that might want me to take over at any moment. It would take one or two tenths of a second for me to get my hands onto the steering wheel if they were off the wheel when an emergency situation arose. It would take one or two seconds to figure out what to do if my mind was on a text, a video game or a movie when a disengagement happened. Even a tenth of a second could make the difference between a close call and an accidental crash.
For the most part, the only time I ever need to intervene while on a limited-access road is when my Tesla and I disagree on which is the most propitious travel lane. This sort of disagreement happens often enough that I have the settings adjusted so that the car needs my consent before it changes lanes.
But if you’re willing to let your Tesla decide which lane to travel in, then Tesla FSD non-beta is already more powerful than the Mercedes level 3. Yes, you need to keep your hands on the wheel and you’re not permitted to watch movies. But otherwise, the Tesla will drive itself as well as the Mercedes, and it will do that very well at full highway speeds, in stop and go traffic jams and everything in between. Level 3 self-driving below 37 MPH isn't an improvement over advanced autopilot.
Tesla's Autopilot is currently a level two driving feature, which basically means that it should be used as an aid to drivers, but that it does not drive on your own. If you've ever used Autopilot then you'll know that Tesla is right on the cusp of level three. With the FSD Beta, I believe Tesla is planning on pushing level three automation to everyone who has purchased the FSD package. Level three is where the FSD features break free and stop just being an aid and turn into an "autonomous" vehicle that the driver should pay attention to, and not just at 37 MPH.
Henry Farkas is a retired country doctor. He bought his Tesla Model 3 in the middle of the pandemic.
Tesla's first electric semi-truck will have a range of 500 miles and begin shipping this year, according to a tweet from Elon Musk, founder and CEO. Musk previously said that the model would be on roads in 2023, as well as Tesla's pickup truck, dubbed the Cybertruck. The projected arrival date for the Cybertruck has not changed.
The Tesla Semi Truck, which was unveiled in November 2017, is designed for long-haul trucking. It can go from 0 to 60 mph in 20 seconds when hauling a full load, which is faster than most diesel trucks.
The Tesla Semi Truck's range of 500 miles on a single charge constitutes more than double the range of the current longest-range electric truck on the market, the Daimler eCascadia, which has a range of 230 miles.
Tesla to release the first Tesla Semis this year
The Tesla Semi Truck is also significantly cheaper to operate than a diesel truck, Tesla has said. The company estimates that it will cost $1.26 per mile to operate the Tesla Semi, compared to $1.51 per mile for a diesel truck.
Since the company started taking orders for the truck in 2017 some of the most sizable orders have come from the likes of UPS, Walmart, and PepsiCo. The original deposit required with an order was $5,000, which was increased to $20,000 after the event in November 2017.
Tesla to release the first Tesla Semis this year
The company has not said how many trucks it plans to produce but based on past statements from Tesla we can expect the price of regular production versions for the 300-mile (480 km) and 500-mile (800 km) range versions to be $150,000 and $180,000 USD respectively.
Tesla's Semi Truck is part of the company's push to electrify the transportation sector, which is responsible for a significant portion of greenhouse gas emissions. Tesla also makes electric cars and SUVs, and it plans to start producing its electric truck next year. Tesla's ultimate goal is to transition the world to sustainable energy.
Tesla to release the first Tesla Semis this year
Tesla Semi Event
Tesla unveiled the Tesla Semi and the Tesla Roadster in late 2017. The entire event is below:
Tesla may be building out a feature for vehicle-to-vehicle communication
Tesla recently wrapped up its 2022 annual shareholders meeting, and CEO Elon Musk hinted at a potentially exciting feature coming to the fleet: vehicle-to-vehicle communication.
Towards the end of the shareholders’ meeting, a gentleman in the audience mentioned how aircrafts use a system called Airborne Collision Avoidance System (ACAS). He elaborated on how ACAS relays an aircraft’s telemetry to prevent a collision.
“Sometimes too much telemetry,” Musk adds and laughs, assumingly referencing the Twitter account that tracks his private jet.
“Do you see Teslas communicating with one another and Dojo turning into some kind of air traffic control for Tesla supply chains and Robotaxi?” adds the gentleman.
Musk answered by saying he hasn’t thought about that before, which is interesting. He added that the goal with Dojo is to be the de facto computer for training the neural net with videos.
“Oh. That’s an interesting idea. I haven’t thought about that,” Musk responds. “Right now our goal with Dojo is to be really good at video training. We have probably the fourth or approaching the third, most powerful computing center in the world for AI training. Our first goal with Dojo is to make it competitive and be more effective at neural net training than a whole bunch of GPUs. We might get there… soonish.”
Musk also added that Dojo is built “from the ground up” to train AI using videos, and building such a computer has never been done before.
This question got Musk’s mind going. He paused for a moment and said there may be some difficulties in getting Teslas to communicate with one another - and it won’t be needed with Full Self-Driving.
“There will be some merits for Teslas to communicate [with] each other, but that won’t be needed for Full Self-Driving at all,” Musk responds. “But for a long time the vast majority of cars will be manually driven, so the value of Tesla-to-Tesla communication is not that high, except for, perhaps, communicating traffic issues, accidents, potholes, and road closures. A Tesla ahead of you has seen a road closure and you get that real-time update to your car so you don’t get stuck in the road closure situation. That’s the stuff that we are working on right now.”
Elon Musk's Answer
In January of 2022, Twitter user and Tesla enthusiast @BLKMDL3 tweeted at Musk asking about this type of feature. “Hey @elonmusk, can we get the air suspension in Model S/X to automatically raise quickly if the car detects a dip in the road ahead and then remember the location for next time?” BLKMDL3 writes. “Would be an awesome feature to have!”
Musk responded with, “Yeah.”
Hey @elonmusk, can we get the air suspension in Model S/X to automatically raise quickly if the car detects a dip in the road ahead and then remember the location for next time? Would be an awesome feature to have!
BLKMDL3’s tweet received quite a bit of attention.
Tesla has recently rolled out updates to improve a vehicle’s ability to raise and lower its suspension when arriving at a specific location. This is so the vehicle doesn’t scuff the pavement and cause damage to its underbody.
Since Musk stated that he hasn’t thought about vehicle-to-vehicle communication or how it would be done, we don’t anticipate this feature rolling out anytime soon. However, we can hope that it gets added to the pipeline of upcoming features due to its seemingly positive reception and want for it. This could also increase the safety of Tesla’s vehicles, even though they’re already the safest cars on the road.
It would be nice for vehicles within a 5-10 mile radius to notify one another of a construction zone, or accident, similar to Waze. This would allow the vehicle to reroute to a more efficient route or handle the situation accordingly. Going a step further, it would be exceptionally cool to see snapshots or videos of the upcoming situation by seeing a “hotspot” in maps, similar to how Snapchat shows hotspots, that are recorded via the vehicle’s cameras to more accurately prepare for it. But this may open a can of worms in regards to privacy.
Turning Tesla’s fleet into a mobile social network may go against Musk’s vision. He’s stated before that any user input in the vehicle should be considered an error, so having an interactive feature such as this may not be in Tesla’s deck of cards.
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