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  • The latest TMC Podcast (#14) is now available on YouTube and all major podcast networks. We covered FSD Beta's exciting v11 update, Enhanced Autopilot coming to the U.S. and Canada, and more!

FSD Beta Experience - Be Careful What You Wish For

I've been in the FSD Beta since last Christmas. I'm reading many posts from people frustrated they are not on the Beta yet, and others who are on the Beta and complaining about it.

So, I want to give everyone my experiences with FSD Beta, try to make everyone understand what's involved in it, and hopefully dissuade several of you from trying to get into the Beta.

00EE7D8B-DFD2-4E41-B7F2-2D6BCB4E7B10.jpeg


It's a Commitment
----------------------------------
I think many people are excited by the notion of FSD Beta, and watching YouTube videos or Twitter videos of people in FSD Beta thinking it will be easy and smooth. Let me assure you that it's a commitment to be in FSD Beta. It's not easy, and it's not smooth. You are committing to use a system that is far from perfect and agreeing to help improve the system by putting the car through various routes, and reporting problems as they occur. You're not going to be using your car as you did before. If you're not willing to use FSD Beta as much as possible, and thinking you'll only use casually, then I'd suggest it's not for you. Tesla needs data to improve the system. The more data, the faster the system develops. And we, the FSD Beta participants, want the end result in our lifetimes. :) Think of it as an unpaid internship.

It's Stressful
----------------------------------
I read many posts on TMC from people who are stressed over the Safety Score before even getting invited into FSD Beta. They worry about pissing off cars around them as they "drive like grandma" to keep a high score. Once you're in the FSD Beta, your stress level will go up even higher. Now, your car may perform odd maneuvers, suddenly brake, swerve left or right just before a turn, become paralyzed at unprotected turns, turn in a very unnatural or unsmooth way (ie: jerky), etc. You will likely get flashed with high-beams and honked at. Personally, I get those at least twice a week. Occasionally a middle-finger is extended when someone aggressively goes around you and cuts you off. I've even been coal-rolled. You need to have a calm demeanor and understand that you will be pissing people off. I have custom bumper stickers warning people behind me to help ease some of the stress I'm causing them, or at least letting them know they should stay back or go around me.

It's Mentally and Physically Draining
----------------------------------
Gone are the times when your brain goes into autopilot when you're driving, listening to music, or talking on the phone. Instead, you're hyper focused on the drive. I tell my friends that 80-90% of the time FSD Beta drives very well. 10-20% of the time it tries to kill me. :) Because of that, you cannot let your guard down for a moment. Many testers have their foot hovering or ready to engage, as the car could suddenly slow down in the middle of a turn, or approaching a flashing yellow caution sign. It might mistake an angled traffic light that's not meant for your lane and suddenly attempt to run a red light. It could make a sudden lane change, or try to make a turn from the wrong lane. I've had it try to go straight through an intersection while in a right turn-only lane.

Constant Engagement and Disengagement - And Reporting
----------------------------------
You will be engaging the system and disengaging it constantly. Is it getting too close to that parked car? Coming too fast at a speed bump? Did it become paralyzed at a 4-way stop where pedestrians are crossing? Is it in the wrong lane for the exit you need to take, and going to miss it? In many cases you will need to disengage FSD, perform a maneuver yourself and then re-engage FSD - and report it to Tesla. It's also important that you report everything to Tesla so they can improve the system. That can be difficult, if your car just freaked out and you had to disengage FSD and take over instantly to avoid something bad from happening. Your first reaction isn't usually to find and press a little camera button to report it - but you have to get into that habit.

Passengers
----------------------------------
I do most of my FSD Beta driving alone, as the system can really freak out passengers - and in many cases cause motion sickness in those susceptible to it. I've read many posts from people who say their BF/GF or spouse simply will not let them use FSD Beta while they are in the car.

Final Thoughts
----------------------------------
Some people might read the above and think, "I just won't use FSD Beta that much." If you're thinking you'll use FSD Beta a little, perhaps setting aside time to do a small trip with it from time to time, but otherwise driving the car yourself, then I think FSD Beta is not for you. You're committing to help Tesla improve a system, and with limited Beta participants (currently ~60K), your casual attitude towards the program could be negatively affecting it. There may be someone like me who is ready to totally commit to it, but cannot get into the program because someone else took a spot who really doesn't care that much. Also, if you've read all this and thought "Tesla should be paying me to do all this!", then the FSD Beta is not for you.

So be careful what you wish for... FSD Beta is not all fun and games.
 
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I have custom bumper stickers warning people behind me to help ease some of the stress I'm causing them, or at least letting them know they should stay back or go around me.
I'm curious, what exactly do your bumper stickers say?

Well written summary and very similar to my experiences with FSD Beta. Even though I'm not willing to use FSD Beta all the time, I think the limited times I use it still benefit Tesla because I tap the camera icon to record any odd behavior I encounter while driving with FSD Beta enabled.
 
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I'm curious, what exactly do your bumper stickers say?

Well written summary and very similar to my experiences with FSD Beta.
I have one sticker on the left side that says:

Please Be Patient
Self-Driving Test Vehicle
Use Caution

The other sticker on the right side says:

CAUTION
Autopilot Training
Sudden Braking May Occur
 
For me the most stress inducing part is the stone cold radio silence from Tesla on all things related to fsd beta. I don't expect to be paid (other than by my own fun) but some coordination with the beta testers (maybe a regular status email?) that sets expectations, even weekly, would go a long way.

And really, driving around with a G meter obsessing about the score not knowing where you stand if Elon's mood today is up or down was MUCH more stressful than actually paying attention and driving with the beta s/w itself (though you really really do have to pay attention, they're not kidding!). Perhaps with some transparency and communication with the beta group by the devs the scoring part would be OK too, but it appears they are still ghosting folks and leaving them wondering if they'll have to drive for high score for 6 months or 1 week.

At least when you're running the beta you are looking outside and managing where the car goes and concentrating on safety. In high score mode you are staring down at your phone's G-meter or driving so slowly around turns people rage pass you -- its a nice experiment to see if you can pay attention, but they are making you pay attention to something other than driving safety in the high score phase. All I can assume is the weeks/months of ghosting during the high score phase is a way to irritate some fraction of hopefuls enough to make them go away.

At least the release notes are a little more detailed than 'winter driving improvements' for the more recent betas.
 

JulienW

Active Member
Jul 7, 2018
3,565
5,054
Atlanta
I'm curious, what exactly do your bumper stickers say?

Well written summary and very similar to my experiences with FSD Beta. Even though I'm not willing to use FSD Beta all the time, I think the limited times I use it still benefit Tesla because I tap the camera icon to record any odd behavior I encounter while driving with FSD Beta enabled.
Mine, just a cheep off Amazon..
IMG_0207D.jpeg
 
I've been in the FSD Beta since last Christmas. I'm reading many posts from people frustrated they are not on the Beta yet, and others who are on the Beta and complaining about it.

So, I want to give everyone my experiences with FSD Beta, try to make everyone understand what's involved in it, and hopefully dissuade several of you from trying to get into the Beta.

It's a Commitment
----------------------------------
I think many people are excited by the notion of FSD Beta, and watching YouTube videos or Twitter videos of people in FSD Beta thinking it will be easy and smooth. Let me assure you that it's a commitment to be in FSD Beta. It's not easy, and it's not smooth. You are committing to use a system that is far from perfect and agreeing to help improve the system by putting the car through various routes, and reporting problems as they occur. You're not going to be using your car as you did before. If you're not willing to use FSD Beta as much as possible, and thinking you'll only use casually, then I'd suggest it's not for you. Tesla needs data to improve the system. The more data, the faster the system develops. And we, the FSD Beta participants, want the end result in our lifetimes. :) Think of it as an unpaid internship.

It's Stressful
----------------------------------
I read many posts on TMC from people who are stressed over the Safety Score before even getting invited into FSD Beta. They worry about pissing off cars around them as they "drive like grandma" to keep a high score. Once you're in the FSD Beta, your stress level will go up even higher. Now, your car may perform odd maneuvers, suddenly brake, swerve left or right just before a turn, become paralyzed at unprotected turns, turn in a very unnatural or unsmooth way (ie: jerky), etc. You will likely get flashed with high-beams and honked at. Personally, I get those at least twice a week. Occasionally a middle-finger is extended when someone aggressively goes around you and cuts you off. I've even been coal-rolled. You need to have a calm demeanor and understand that you will be pissing people off. I have custom bumper stickers warning people behind me to help ease some of the stress I'm causing them, or at least letting them know they should stay back or go around me.

It's Mentally and Physically Draining
----------------------------------
Gone are the times when your brain goes into autopilot when you're driving, listening to music, or talking on the phone. Instead, you're hyper focused on the drive. I tell my friends that 80-90% of the time FSD Beta drives very well. 10-20% of the time it tries to kill me. :) Because of that, you cannot let your guard down for a moment. Many testers have their foot hovering or ready to engage, as the car could suddenly slow down in the middle of a turn, or approaching a flashing yellow caution sign. It might mistake an angled traffic light that's not meant for your lane and suddenly attempt to run a red light. It could make a sudden lane change, or try to make a turn from the wrong lane. I've had it try to go straight through an intersection while in a right turn-only lane.

Constant Engagement and Disengagement - And Reporting
----------------------------------
You will be engaging the system and disengaging it constantly. Is it getting too close to that parked car? Coming too fast at a speed bump? Did it become paralyzed at a 4-way stop where pedestrians are crossing? Is it in the wrong lane for the exit you need to take, and going to miss it? In many cases you will need to disengage FSD, perform a maneuver yourself and then re-engage FSD - and report it to Tesla. It's also important that you report everything to Tesla so they can improve the system. That can be difficult, if your car just freaked out and you had to disengage FSD and take over instantly to avoid something bad from happening. Your first reaction isn't usually to find and press a little camera button to report it - but you have to get into that habit.

Passengers
----------------------------------
I do most of my FSD Beta driving alone, as the system can really freak out passengers - and in many cases cause motion sickness in those susceptible to it. I've read many posts from people who say their BF/GF or spouse simply will not let them use FSD Beta while they are in the car.

Final Thoughts
----------------------------------
Some people might read the above and think, "I just won't use FSD Beta that much." If you're thinking you'll use FSD Beta a little, perhaps setting aside time to do a small trip with it from time to time, but otherwise driving the car yourself, then I think FSD Beta is not for you. You're committing to help Tesla improve a system, and with limited Beta participants (currently ~60K), your casual attitude towards the program could be negatively affecting it. There may be someone like me who is ready to totally commit to it, but cannot get into the program because someone else took a spot who really doesn't care that much. Also, if you've read all this and thought "Tesla should be paying me to do all this!", then the FSD Beta is not for you.

So be careful what you wish for... FSD Beta is not all fun and games.
It needs people who are serious like you, and people that are casual. Period.

It needs to learn from both sets of people. Diversity is important for AI learning.
 

S4WRXTTCS

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2015
6,647
8,096
Snohomish, WA
Most of the complaints I've seen aren't so much that they didn't get the FSD Beta, but this frustration with keeping their Safety Score up.

I can relate as it forces people to drive their car differently.

I believe the entire FSD Beta, and the Safety Score were abusive things to do to customers.

Someone already mentioned that the real problem with the FSD Beta is the lack of Customer Engagement. If we they had customer Engagement the whole entire thing would be a lot more rewarding.

My recommendation to people waiting to get in is to opt out until there are signs that they're letting more people in. None of the driving while opted out will count against the safety score. They don't seem to be doing any FIFO type thing.

My other suggestion is to IGNORE all the videos proclaiming zero disengagement. I have to take over at a 4 way stop because it doesn't get going fast enough. This is the most elementary of things, and I have the most aggressive setting selected.

It does NOT work.

I wish Tesla allowed people to sell FSD Beta, and then we could see the actual value of it. Of course the person buying the FSD Beta would have to own FSD.
 

S4WRXTTCS

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2015
6,647
8,096
Snohomish, WA
I have one sticker on the left side that says:

Please Be Patient
Self-Driving Test Vehicle
Use Caution

The other sticker on the right side says:

CAUTION
Autopilot Training
Sudden Braking May Occur

I have no stickers so when I see someone pull up behind me at a stop light for a turn I curse at them for existing. :p

It does mean I have to take over because I know FSD Beta will try to do something dumb or won't be fast enough.

I really need to partner up with another FSD Beta tester in my region so we swap places. We'll just go in a group to mask the idiocy.
 
Gone are the times when your brain goes into autopilot when you're driving, listening to music, or talking on the phone. Instead, you're hyper focused on the drive.
"Hyper focused" is a good description of driving with the FSD Beta. But I have to push back a little because there is no FSD Beta on the highway; the car is still driving the same Enhanced Autopilot / Public FSD software whether you have the beta or not, and really, if you're not on a stretch of controlled-access highway / interstate / expressway / freeway, you should be hyper focused anyway and not on your phone or zoned out -- with FSD Beta, FSD, Enhanced Autopilot, Autopilot or no pilot at all.
 

S4WRXTTCS

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2015
6,647
8,096
Snohomish, WA
"Hyper focused" is a good description of driving with the FSD Beta. But I have to push back a little because there is no FSD Beta on the highway; the car is still driving the same Enhanced Autopilot / Public FSD software whether you have the beta or not, and really, if you're not on a stretch of controlled-access highway / interstate / expressway / freeway, you should be hyper focused anyway and not on your phone or zoned out -- with FSD Beta, FSD, Enhanced Autopilot, Autopilot or no pilot at all.

FSD Beta - Hyper focused and both hands on the steering wheel and foot ready to hit the brake.
Tesla Vision AP -> Good focus, one hand on the steering wheel and ready to hit the go pedal
Tesla Radar + Vision -> Normal focus, one hand on the steering wheel. No hovering foot needed.
Tesla AP1 -> Normal focus, one hand on the steering wheel. Make sure to do some foot exercises or it will fall asleep.
Manual -> One hand on the steering wheel, and one hand on the cell phone. Make sure to differentiate your speed by in 10mph intervals so TACC/AP people can amuse themselves by passing you 10 times in an hour. :p
 

mswlogo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
7,927
7,385
MA, NH
I agree with most of what OP said. Except you can use it a “a little”.

I never use AutoPilot on city streets before FSD Beta, even though many do. Because it was never designed for it. Hence FSD Beta (city streets) is a new optional feature. I never used Nav on AutoPilot. Because it sucked, but many use that Pre and Post -FSD beta. Nav on AutoPilot hasn’t seemed to change much at all since getting on FSD Beta since before Xmas.

So when enabling FSD Beta and trying it on City Streets it’s a new option I don’t have to use. On straight Highway with Nav on AutoPilot disabled it bahaves 99% the same as having no FSD Beta. Pretty safe to use. Yes it occasionally phantom brakes like it has for the last 2.5 years.

So I can use FSD Beta as little or as much as I want. Currently I try it on city streets once for each release. And it doesn’t take long to put it back in the toy box until the next release.

I am tempted to Opt out so I get Radar safety back. I would if I was sure I could easily get back on.
 
One persons torture chamber is another persons fun house.
Yep, use it as a curiosity and not as something that will take the stress off. Once you use it on a common route more than a few times you’ll start to see the types of situations that may require input from you and be adequately prepared for most quirks.
 
You’re pretty damn judgmental and “holier than thou” about all this. I’d back up a little and see that not everyone thinks like you, and Tesla doesn’t think exactly like you.
Forgive me. We're not talking about a beta for a video game or new version of MacOS. We're talking about a huge, incredible heavy and dangerous vehicle. What testers do or don't do on the Beta can cause real accidents, damage property, or cause injury. As others have said, we signed up for Beta, but other drivers on the road did not. So we must be serious about our commitment to further the technology and be responsible to society at the same time.

It's not something that should be casually entered, but done so with understanding, research, and responsibility. TLDR is not the type of response I'd expect from someone who takes the matter seriously. If the post was legitimately too long for someone to read, they would just move on and not reply at all.
 
So I can use FSD Beta as little or as much as I want. Currently I try it on city streets once for each release. And it doesn’t take long to put it back in the toy box until the next release.
I can appreciate that view. But it appears you're interested in the final product, once FSD is safe and ready to roll out to all who purchase/subscribe. I for one can't wait for that day, as it seems you are excited for as well. However, the point of the Beta is to help get us to that goal. If you're not going to use Beta, which you pointed out is for City Streets, taking different routes, putting the car into different situations and then reporting issues to Tesla for improvement in the next firmware, then why did you actively request to join and prove yourself as a safe driver to be invited into the Beta?
 

aronth5

Long Time Follower
Supporting Member
May 8, 2010
3,358
2,993
Boston Suburb
Any stress related to FSD beta testing is based on the car(s) behind me since that greatly affects when an intervention or even a disengagement is needed or if I can just let the car take it's time.

The few times I've driven late at night with very few cars on the road FSD has been a pretty pleasant experience but add lots of traffic and it can get very stressful.

I also agree with the OP that having zero feedback from the FSD Beta team is a real drawback and reflects poorly on Tesla. Wouldn't it be great to know how to handle mapping errors. Does Tesla want us editing 3rd party databases like TomTom or is that just a waste of our time?
 
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