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.

Henry Farkas is a retired country doctor. He bought his Tesla Model 3 in the middle of the pandemic.

Mysterious Covered Up Model 3 Raises Questions

By Kevin Armstrong
Several covered-up Model 3s have been found over the past of days
Several covered-up Model 3s have been found over the past of days
@omg_tesla & CloudWalking

If it isn’t the worst-looking LeBra ever made, then what is it? This oddly covered-up Model 3 appeared in the wild just days after Reuters reported Tesla was revamping the popular car. The plot thickens as Teslarati reports the license plates to indicate the vehicle is from Tesla. But what is the biggest secret under the horribly fitting covers?

Twitter user @omg_tesla spotted the car in a parking garage in Santa Cruz, California. Twitter users filled the replies with a lot of speculation. But of interest, the cabin of the car is wide open and visible. This eliminates a lot of conjecture that this is a revamped version. There is a belief the company is trying to cut costs to get the Model 3 under $55,000 to qualify for the US tax incentive in 2023. However, some cost savings will be found in the Model 3’s interior.

That would lead us to believe that the only secret things on this car are some design changes in the front and back. However, on close examination, it doesn’t appear to be different than the current Model 3. The headlights look the same if you follow the lining and the taillights look identical to what is in production as well.

Reddit user CloudWalking, found a different Model 3 similarly covered up a couple of days later.

Twitter user @Aiaddict1, who's a former Tesla employee, tweeted: Tesla policy requires employees who use certain eng fleet cars in public to always use a car cover when parked in public if the vehicle is equipped with hardware not known or available to the public. I know this as I used to drive the eng fleet prototypes. This looks to be one.

Whatever is under those odd covers remains a mystery. Reuters reported that the Tesla revamp, called Project Highland, would start to roll off production lines in the third quarter of 2023. They also quoted Ed Kim, president of AutoPacific Group, who said, “consumers still tend to equate visual changes with newness. Tesla knows visually tangible changes are in order. The upcoming changes that potential customers can see and feel will be very important in ensuring that EV customers still have Tesla at the top of their minds as truly excellent alternatives to Tesla are starting to flood the market.”

Nevertheless, Twitter "detectives" joked that this is the newest Tesla paint protection, bug screen or perhaps automotive underwear. Personally, I think if the covers were off, it would’ve drawn far less attention as there are a lot of Teslas in California, but none sporting these covers.

It's not clear what Tesla is testing with these vehicles, although it doesn't appear to be related to the "revamp" of the Model 3. However, it very likely includes some sort of changes that haven't been publicly announced yet.

Two Door Cybertruck is Unlikely Now, But May be on the Radar

By Kevin Armstrong
A sketch of a two-door Cybertruck can be found at the Peterson Automotive Museum
A sketch of a two-door Cybertruck can be found at the Peterson Automotive Museum
MissJilianne/Twitter

The Tesla crowd of enthusiasts has eyes everywhere. Twitter user @MissJilianne caused quite a stir after visiting the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, which recently opened a new Tesla exhibit. The Model S Plaid owner and FSD Beta tester posted a few pictures of her visit, including some artwork at the Cybertruck display.

The artistic design shows the Cybertruck in a two-door version. Miss Jilianne asks: Are we not going to talk about the beautiful artwork of a two door Cybertruck displayed at the @Petersen_Museum Tesla exhibit?

Her tweet generated discussion on social platforms and Tesla blogs, and it had mixed reactions. @KounisTou tweeted: It's not only that, but it has a totally different, dare I say better looking? A-pillar design with a wraparound windshield like early Semi prototype. Looks great. Except maybe that it looks a bit too much like a Lamborghini.

That may be the biggest clue to this spectacular piece of art. Franz von Holzhausen, Tesla's chief designer, is a huge fan of the “wedge” design. He grew up with Lamborghini Countach posters on his wall. Other responses to the picture believe it is the origin of the piece of art. It is likely an early sketch of what the Cybertruck could look like, and there were likely several. Given von Holzhausen’s love for the Countach, this is quite likely an early concept he was sketching out.

Elon Musk has publicly stated his support for a smaller truck. On November 24, 2019, he tweeted: Long term, it probably makes sense to build a smaller Cybertruck too.

However, the four-door version is due in 2023. CNBC interviewed von Holzhausen right in front of the Cybertruck. He stated, “Cybertruck will look, for all intents and purposes, just like the one behind us, maybe slightly smaller, a few percentages, but in general, this is what the truck will look like.”

Still, the designer did say something else during that interview that leaves the door open for a possible two-door Cybertruck. The creative mind behind the Model S, 3, X, Y, Semi and Cybertruck was asked to pick a favorite. His response was, "My favorite one is the one that is coming. I can't talk about (it).”

For a man that loves sports cars, it was believed that he was referring to the second-generation Roadster. Maybe he is referring to a smaller Cybertruck that looks a lot like those wedge cars that inspired him to become a car designer.

Tesla has a history of providing sketches to early reservation holders of their vehicles. It waits to be seen whether Tesla will do the same for the Cybertruck when deliveries start next year.

Below you'll find other sketches that Tesla provided to Model S, 3 and X reservation holders.

Model S Sketch

An early sketch of the Model S that was given to owners
An early sketch of the Model S that was given to owners
Electrek

Model 3 Sketch

A sketch of the Model 3 was given to owners who reserved the vehicle on the first night
A sketch of the Model 3 was given to owners who reserved the vehicle on the first night
Electrek

Model X Sketch

An early sketch of the Model X that was initially given to owners of the Model X
An early sketch of the Model X that was initially given to owners of the Model X
Not a Tesla App

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