Tesla Moves Forward With Full Self-Driving Beta Tests

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Tesla has moved forward with its plan to offer its Full Self-Driving feature as a semi-public beta to people who meet certain requirements, despite concerns about the safety of the software.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced on Sept. 1 that his company plans to expand the availability of its FSD software via a "public opt in request button" sometime this month. It was previously offered to just a portion of its customers as an increasingly expensive add-on.

But there are some concerns about the safety of FSD and the Autopilot feature it's based upon. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said just weeks before Musk's announcement that it was investigating Autopilot, for example, in response to 11 crashes.

US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) chair Jennifer Homendy also told The Wall Street Journal that "basic safety issues have to be addressed" before FSD's expansion and said that Tesla had "clearly misled numerous people to misuse and abuse technology."

The problem is that neither FSD nor Autopilot do what most people would expect—offer autonomous driving capabilities—based on their names. This has led some Tesla owners to overestimate the system's ability to drive itself, with some disastrous consequences.

That hasn't stopped Tesla's rollout of FSD's more public beta, however, with The Washington Post reporting that drivers were able to start requesting access to the feature on Sept. 25. Those requests aren't guaranteed to be granted, but it's clear that Tesla plans to move forward.

Tesla says it plans to assess drivers on five different factors to gauge their eligibility for FSD: the number of forward collision warnings they've received per 1,000 miles they've driven, hard braking, aggressive turning, unsafe following, and forced Autopilot disengagement.

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The company says it uses "the Predicted Collision Frequency (PCF) formula" to "predict how many collisions may occur per 1 million miles driven" based on the metrics associated with each of those factors. The PCF formula is then used to determine the driver's Safety Score.

"The current formula was derived based on statistical modeling using 6 billion miles of fleet data," Tesla says. "We expect to make changes to the formula in the future as we gain more customer and data insights."

It's not clear what Safety Score is required to gain access to the FSD public beta. Nor did the company say if it will revoke access to the FSD beta if a driver's Safety Score dips below the minimum, but Musk claimed the company has done that in the past, so it seems like a possibility.

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Source:  pcmag.com

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