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Story Time! Day 3 Experience Of a New FSD Beta Tester.

2101Guy

Active Member
Jan 6, 2020
3,653
5,791
USA
I'm saying that people who have no experience with FSD cannot give an objective, honest criticism.
Sure they can. They look at the numerous 2017/2018/2019/2021/2022 FSD/robotaxi promises and timelines made by the very hands on CEO and then contrast that to YouTube videos showing FSD run into curbs, ignore school bus stop signs, hit green poles, and go the wrong way down one way streets. (All in the past 90 days.)

Voila.
 
Sure they can. They look at the numerous 2017/2018/2019/2021/2022 FSD/robotaxi promises and timelines made by the very hands on CEO and then contrast that to YouTube videos showing FSD run into curbs, ignore school bus stop signs, hit green poles, and go the wrong way down one way streets. (All in the past 90 days.)

Voila.
Don't forget the one that changed lanes to try to drive straight into an oncoming light rail train!
 
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This is a long read, but I wanted to share with people who can know and understand my experience.

I’ll preface this with info about my typical commute. I drive a 2022 MYP (Dec ’21), with 24,000 miles on it. I live in Capitola, CA and drive everywhere between San Jose and Sacramento daily, stopping at 3-5 locations scattered between San Jose and Sacramento that change every day. I average about 150-340 miles a day, 6 days a week. Doing around 4,500 miles a month. Every day starts with driving Hwy-17 to San Jose to Supercharge for my day, and ends on Hwy-17 back to Capitola. This is a map of my drives over the last 3 months.


Before I got the beta, and was in safety score purgatory for 23,000 miles with a 100 score since opting in 1/4/22, I LOVED reading about testers successes and failures. This stuff is exciting. It was well worth the wait. Today was MY turn to test it in real world commute situations. Long time beta testers might not remember that feeling...

I’ve did the basic tests, such as purposefully finding difficult large intersections, unprotected left turns, busy stop sign intersections, and yeah, it has its issues… It hesitates too much which makes me press the accelerator 90% of the time because I don’t want to impede traffic, the wheel gets jerky quite often, etc… You know, the usual stuff we all know or expected..

Personally, I don’t see those edge cases being as important as every day use, commuting cases. Full Self Driving despite its name is not 100% autonomous, not SAE Lvl 5, and it’s not supposed to be. You’re supposed to let it drive the majority of the time in your everyday life, and take over in situations where you know it might struggle. If you have to drive manually 5% of the time, thats a success! And over time, you should remember where those times are, and just disengage before that intersection, make the turn, and re-engage. You did your job, and the car did its job. Those are my beliefs at least…

So today, I had 3 great experiences, that maybe someone out there will enjoy reading, like I did!

Morning commute:

Tourists are idiots. If you live in the Bay Area and have ever driven to Santa Cruz, you know Hwy-17. Its windy mountain roads at 60MPH. There’s a crash on it MULTIPLE times a day, which leads to hellish traffic, because there are only a couple ways around it. If youre too far along going either direction, and you hit traffic, congratulations! You just added an hour to your drive, and there's no way around it.

Another fun fact. Despite hwy17 being a 4 lane highway with a speed limit of 50MPH, NoA doesnt kick on for 90% of it. So FSD Beta gets to drive the whole thing for me, when before it was just normal AP.

I got lucky and my wonderful car “Dhalgren,” rerouted me around completely stopped traffic because I hadn’t gone to far yet.




No one else had realized how screwed they were yet thankfully, but my car did, and it ended up taking the exit on it’s own, and thats when I disengaged FSD. It was only me, and an Audi RS8 ahead of me for the entire detour. Let me tell you… Not worrying about my safety score was fracking invigorating. I got to drive my car like a performance vehicle instead of a Prius for the first time in 5 months. The Audi and I FLEW around corners, going well above the speed limit on narrow, banked curves, and blind corners. It was amazing. The most fun I’ve had driving in a LOOOOONG time. I had to call my girlfriend and tell her about it after because I was so excited.

Mid Day Between Jobs - Downtown Berkeley to Downtown Milpitas:

I started FSD in the Berkeley parking lot, and ended in a parking lot in Milpitas with zero disengagements. There was about 3 miles of city streets before getting on the freeway (NoA stack) for 43 miles, and about 2 miles of city streets to the Milpitas parking lot. 47 miles in total. All I did was give it a nudge with the accelerator a few times because I like to actually move when the light turns green… Other than that, it handled everything truly flawlessly, and the only time I disengaged was when I saw a parking spot I wanted at the end.

THAT is a real world example of FSD doing its job. Point A to point B. Not “Looking for edge cases.” Edge cases can always be found if you're looking.

End of the day - Cupertino Supercharger to Capitola via HWY-17:

This drive always sucks after 4PM because HWY-1 (or PCH, or The 1… whatever you wanna call it) ALWAYS has stop and go traffic from 4pm to 6pm between Santa Cruz and Capitola. Its 30 minutes to go 7 miles. When there’s zero traffic, San Jose to Capitola takes 35 minutes.

So Dhalgren rerouted me to take Summit Dr, which is this really awesome 2 lane road through the mountains, that takes about 45 minutes, compared the the hour it would take if I took just the 17 and the 1.

View attachment 814003

THIS is a challenge, and an edge case. It doesnt show well on the map, but its WINDY. Production AP slows to 15-20MPH for most of the curves, which are constant, despite the speed limit being 40. Every turn has yellow speed suggestion signs of 25mph or 30mph. Every turn is a blind turn, there’s no shoulder on either side for the majority of it, and its about 15 miles long.

FSD took EVERY, SINGLE, TURN at the speed limit, or 10mph over. Never crossed over the yellow line, never braked harshly, and was a Fracking dream. It was like riding a rollercoaster. My hands were hovering a centimeter over the wheel, and my foot on the brake pedal ready to take over the entire time. Dhalgren FLEW, and did it brilliantly.

This to me was the real “Holy Sh*t… FSD really is almost here…” moment.

Thoughts:

Despite all the complaints, all the people who call it “vaporware,” and all the people who have no faith in Elon, FSD IS almost there.

Even though I was waiting patiently to get into the beta, I was shocked at how big of a new batch of testers they were adding. And people with a 93 score got in!? With like 150 miles since opting in!? I truly thought that was a TERRIBLE idea… all it takes is a couple stupid people getting in accidents to pump the brakes on the entire concept of FSD being accepted by the public. But now, I truly believe this version was a good version to spread more widely, to get more and more data from. It’s not perfect, it keeps you on your toes, but it is doing a great job.

I’m not saying its ready for the public. Not by a long shot. I wouldn’t want someone who just bought and picked up their brand new Tesla to get in, peel off the screen protector, and engage FSD with no respect for what they are getting themselves into. It really takes understanding what you car can AND CANT do in the state it is… If they require EVERY single person to drive 1000 miles minimum of using regular AP/NoA before being able to engage FSD, I’d be really happy.

Bottom line is, I couldn’t be happier to finally be a part of the Beta crew, and get to contribute what I can to the process. This is a step forward that only people who own and regularly drive a Tesla can understand. It will get better. We will get there.

If you actually read this whole thing, thank you. Just wanted to share my thoughts and experience today. It was truly eye opening.

Thank you for coming to my TED talk.
Great post, I really hope we get FSD beta in Europe this year. Feels like this sets the right expectations and mindset for new users.
 

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