Tesla launches inattentive drivers from the “Full Self Driving” beta test
On March 6, Elon Musk tweeted about adding a “Download Beta” screen button to Tesla car touchscreens “in 10 days”. While the button remains in the flow of EMT (Elon’s Master Time), the Tesla CEO also announced that the next major software version for the automaker’s vehicles will be out soon, so we at least with the expanded availability of FSD Beta Software beyond today’s select group of owner testers and a few employees can count on.
The upcoming Download Beta option for everyone is big news. Customers who paid thousands of dollars for the FSD sensor hardware required to support fully automated driving (and the promise of future fully autonomous driving enabled by a software update) can now review this capability in “Beta” or incomplete give test form. (The system can guide Teslas so equipped along a navigation route, change lanes, make full right and left turns, and pay attention to traffic signals.) The same zealous Teslarati should be aware: It’s not all hands-free, kickback and let the car get to work from here and you can lose your FSD preview if you are not careful.
How? Well, Mr Musk announced that some drivers have had their FSD beta access removed because they were not paying enough attention to the road with the system on.
How did Tesla determine who was naughty? Every Tesla that is equipped with the level 2 autopilot driver assistant already regularly detects the force exerted on the steering wheel in order to switch off the autopilot if a driver does not occasionally make an input on the steering wheel (de facto “check-in” “). On newer models, the in-cab camera can keep an eye on things. For a while, that camera was simply disabled. Recently, Tesla began using the camera in the car to monitor the driver’s attention to avoid abuse.” of the autopilot, which is not intended to be a hands-free and alert system, again it is only a level 2 semi-autonomous setup, a cable for accelerating, braking and steering in certain enclosed environments such as highways.
It appears that exiting the FSD beta test so far requires that this camera go undetected in the car, as does the typical steering input tracking that Tesla has long used.
The Tesla hacker “green”, @greentheonly, was able to collect recordings from the cabin camera (which is mounted directly under the rearview mirror) and find out which aspects the computer detects for driver monitoring. The system mainly tracks the head, eyes and sunglasses. Interestingly, it is also trying to detect “phone use” with a virtual eye on drivers holding and looking at a phone, which is a common cause of distracted driving. The percentage readings in the video indicate the “confidence level” of the system. Tesla is known for using AI for image recognition. In this case, the higher the percentage, the more likely the driver will use a phone. The hacker also attempted to place physical photo printouts (including a photo of Elon Musk) in various locations to trick the system. And yes, it can be tricked. It’s an interesting video, check out the following YouTube clip:
Obviously, the system is still in its infancy and in development. At this point, Tesla has three options for recognizing a driver’s level of awareness: steering force, seat sensor and camera in the cab.
Autonomous driving – and where the responsibility lies in the event of an accident – is an extremely difficult problem. The road to fully autonomous driving, fully self-driving, or otherwise is a very long one, but technology will likely get there. Tesla is definitely pushing the boundaries of testing such setups by releasing an “autonomously adjacent” feature to the public and collecting data on their use of the system. However, it cannot be emphasized enough: regardless of the functionality of the FSD system, an attentive pilot must monitor that the system is actually doing its job. Because of this, tech companies and other automakers are paying trained individuals to keep an eye on prototype self-driving cars and be ready to take control when a situation calls for it.
So, a reminder, Tesla owners. FSD is only in beta with limited cability, and Autopilot is anything but the name. Both settings can make silly decisions and still require the driver’s attention to take control in many situations. All of this means: Tesla owners, when the “Download FSD Beta” button finally appears on your EV’s touchscreen, please use it responsibly and operate the vehicle safely, keeping your eyes on the road. Tesla is watching.