How Tesla insurance determines 'good' drivers for FSD Beta

By Henry Farkas

Those of us who paid for Full Self-Driving but who were not included in the initial test groups, Tesla employees and carefully selected customers, will get access to the BUTTON on Friday, September 24th.

Tesla insurance

But the BUTTON doesn't mean that you will be added to the widened group of beta testers. You have to earn it. Here's how.

This article is likely of interest only to people who paid for FSD, are in the US and who want to volunteer to teach the computer how to drive. I want to stress that this is a volunteer job. You won't earn a penny for doing this.

Pushing the button is not enough. You have to agree to allow Tesla insurance to absorb data from your driving for a week. Then Tesla will decide if it wants you in the expanded group of beta testers.

Remember, becoming a beta tester doesn't mean that your car can drive itself without your intervention. Quite the reverse. Tesla is looking for volunteers who will teach the neural network how to drive like a professional chauffeur. That's professional chauffeur, not professional race car driver.

Factors Tesla Insurance Uses

Luckily for us, a while back Reddit user /u/Callump01 reverse engineered the Tesla app to determine exactly which events Tesla uses when determining a driver's safety rating.

Callump01 was able to determine that Tesla uses these metrics when determining a driver's premium:

  • ABS Activation - Number of times ABS is activated
  • Hours Driven - Average daily driving time
  • Forced Autopilot Disengagements - Number of times Autopilot is disabled due to ignored alerts
  • Forward Collision Warnings - Number of times car detects a potential forward collision
  • Unsafe Following Time - Portion of time spent at an unsafe following distance
  • Intensity of Acceleration and Braking - Speed variance due to extreme acceleration and braking. Shown on a scale from 0-10 as measured against Tesla's internal fleet.

So here's what to do during the week where you are being evaluated by the insurance software.

Drive places. If your car is parked all the time, the software won't be able to assess your driving skill.

Engage FSD whenever possible. Tesla will want to recruit volunteers who are actually interested in using FSD. Elon Musk has said that someone who uses Autopilot would fall into the “good" category.

Drive on city streets and country roads. Autopilot is already pretty good at driving on limited access highways.

Don't accelerate aggressively unless you must do so to avoid a crash. Insurance algorithms don't like aggressive drivers.

Reduce ABS Usage

Focus far ahead. One of the statistics that is kept is the number of times ABS was activated. Reducing this number shows less aggressive driving. If you see that you are going to have to stop for a light or a stop sign, tap the brake to go out of FSD so you can slow down with regenerative braking. Insurance algorithms don't like aggressive braking, and, unfortunately, Tesla FSD, waits too long to slow down for signals and stop signs. Then it brakes aggressively. So using FSD to come to a stop will hurt your score.

Don't Accelerate Too Quickly

Don't speed very much. The Tesla insurance algorithm will look at your intensity of acceleration in addition to braking. Sometimes, you have to go faster than the posted speed limit in order to keep up with traffic. If you are in a situation where all the traffic is going faster than the posted speed limit, then you can speed up a bit, but try to stay as close to the speed limit as you can without blocking traffic. Remember, if you have to speed, keep up with the slower speeders, not the faster speeders.

If the car is braking for no apparent reason, phantom braking, use the accelerator to move the car along.

If you are approaching a sharp curve there are two things you need to think about. Without the beta version of FSD, some curves are too sharp, and standard FSD will stop working in the middle of the curve. I've experienced this at certain curves in my area. If this happens, it will lower your score. So the two things to do are, first, lower your speed before the curve by tapping the brake, and second, steer the car around the curve yourself before re-engaging FSD.

When you're using Autopilot, pay attention to the alerts. Tesla will track the number of times that Autopilot has been disengaged.

Keep Your Distance

You'll also want to pay close attention to objects in front of your. Tesla will be looking at the number of times Forward Collision Warnings have gone off.

Use a follow distance greater than one or two. Another metric that Tesla insurance uses to measure how safe someone is driving is by their follow distance. If someone follows too closely for long periods of time, this will lower their Tesla insurance rating as well.

Obey traffic rules whenever possible. Yield the right of way when you don't have the right of way. Take the right of way when you do have it, but don't crash just because you are entitled to the right of way.

Be careful to yield to pedestrians and bicyclists. Even if you have the right of way, it will mess up your day if you hit a pedestrian or a bicyclist. And you won't get to be a beta tester for FSD.

After you activate the button on September 24th the Tesla insurance calculator will show your rating in real-time so that you can tell how you're driving and can adjust accordingly. It'll also provide additional details on what is rated a “good" driver.

The button will be available this Friday, presumably in your car. Stay tuned for more details. Tesla FSD Beta 10.1 which is set be released on October 1st, will introduce new features such as merged NNs for highway and city driving, as well as the ability to go in reverse.

Tesla Update 2024.20 Lets Matrix Headlights Adapt to Curves, Adds Supercharger Leaderboards and More

By Karan Singh

Tesla has been on a roll with updates recently, and now update 2024.20 was released to employees over the weekend. This update builds on the many features in the Spring Update and adds a few big improvements.

Adaptive Headlights

New updates to Adaptive Headlights are arriving for European cars with matrix headlights. The new update allows the headlights to adapt to curves in the road ahead of you, enabling better illumination. Having the adaptive headlights work for curves is the second major update for matrix headlights. Update 2024.8 added adaptive high-beam support, letting your high beams stay on longer by turning off select LEDs in the headlights.

Update 2024.2 first brought adaptive high beams to the new Model 3, before it was later introduced to older vehicles with matrix headlights. At this time, it’s not clear whether the improvements to headlights around curves will be exclusive to matrix headlights or also support the new Model 3.

How to Tell If You Have Matrix Headlights

How do you know if you have matrix headlights on your Tesla? On the outer edge of the headlight, there will be a large, round projector dome, like in the image below. If there isn’t a dome, those are standard non-matrix headlights.
Another way to tell is to run a stock light show while facing a wall. If the Tesla logo, in letters, pops up, you have matrix headlights.

Matrix headlights have a circular dome projector on the outer edge.
Matrix headlights have a circular dome projector on the outer edge.

For now, North America still does not have adaptive headlight support, mostly due to legislative and testing issues in the United States. The US recently approved adaptive headlights, and a Tesla employee mentioned they’re working on it. Canada has legalized adaptive headlights since 2018, so we see this deployed in North America at some point in the future.

Supercharger Races on Beach Buggy Racing 2

Tesla is still improving its Arcade functionality, with the addition of local leaderboards at Superchargers in Beach Buggy Racing 2. It appears that each individual Supercharger site will have its own leaderboard, which drivers can compete on while their cars charge. Tesla says there will also be special races to compete in this Beach Buggy Racing 2 update.

Tesla owners can plug in and play with a controller, the touchscreen, or their vehicle’s steering wheel. Thanks to steer-by-wire on the Cybertruck, the actual wheels on the truck won’t move like they do on other Tesla models when playing the game.

We continue to hope that future refreshes to the S, 3, X, and Y will eventually receive steer-by-wire as well, as the feature has quite a few unique uses, whether driving or parked.

Autopilot Strikes and Suspension

An updated Autopilot Strike system, similar to the one that is on Tesla’s upcoming FSD V12.4 update, is on 2024.20 as well. At five strikes, users will be suspended from the use of Autopilot like before, but now Tesla will remove a strike for each 7-day period the driver goes without receiving a strike.

FSD 12.4 also improves vision-based monitoring and removes the steering wheel nag, but that’s not in this latest Tesla update, but will likely be added in the future.

Tesla tends to release new Autopilot features in their FSD updates before releasing them to the wider public for regular Autopilot use.

Hot Weather Improvements

The last set of user-end improvements coming in 2024.20 will be related to hot weather, the opposite of 2024.2.6’s cold weather update. This set of changes intends to improve AUTO mode HVAC performance in hot weather, helping to cool down the cabin faster, while also maintaining comfort at lower noise levels.

There have been several updates in the last six months to Tesla’s HVAC systems, all helping to deliver a quieter, more comfortable experience, with one of the last major ones introducing cool-down or warm-up periods before blowing air into the car cabin.

Tesla Software in China Shows 'Employee FSD Beta Program' as Tesla Prepares for Launch

By Karan Singh

Chris Zeng, a Chinese Tesla content creator on X, recently posted an image with Tesla’s Spring Update – 2024.14, with the words “Employee FSD Beta Program: Registered.”

He also confirmed that although this text appears in the vehicle, there are no actual FSD features enabled yet.

FSD Beta Coming to China

Recently, Tesla began to offer Enhanced Autopilot subscriptions in China, and Chinese corporate giant Baidu announced that it will be providing enhanced 3D mapping for Tesla vehicles as well.

On a recent trip to China, Elon Musk spoke with Premier Li Qiang on the rollout of FSD to China. Later follow-ups said that “it may be possible [for FSD to arrive in China] very soon”.

FSD Shadow Mode

Tesla’s cars can operate FSD in Shadow Mode – which means that the vehicle is running FSD in the background without any real output except analytics. This is a common software practice that lets software engineers compare the process they’re testing against an existing known output and compare the results. In this case, Tesla compares what FSD would do to what the driver does, and any discrepancies are reported back to be analyzed.

With this information, we could guess that FSD has been operating in Shadow Mode in China for a while, and this new Employee FSD Beta Program will be the beginning of employee testing in China, providing even more data for the end-to-end process that is FSD V12.

FSD Beta, not Supervised FSD

Most interestingly, the photo refers to “FSD Beta” instead of “Supervised,” which Tesla started using with FSD 12.3.3 in March 2024. This could imply that FSD in China isn’t ready for a “Supervised” variant, and it’s considered to be in more of a testing stage.

In the photo, we can also see that it says “Wave 1,” which is what Tesla calls the group of employees who receive “pre-release” Tesla updates on their personal vehicles. Wave 1 serves as a final test for software before its released to the public. In most cases, the software is rolled out publicly within a couple of weeks, however, there have been times when bugs are found and Tesla releases revision before a public release.

Release Date

Prior to larger releases here in North America, we generally see Tesla ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) testing and verification vehicles on the roads, which have not yet been spotted in China.

Whether these vehicles will be needed in China is up for debate, but once FSD features begin rolling out to employees, we should get a better idea of a public release in China.

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