- Tesla is allowing fans to try out the latest upgrades to its “full self-driving” (FSD) technology in its Early Access program.
- Seattle YouTuber ‘HyperChange’ posted trying to FSD under city’s monorail
- At one point, the steering wheel spins hard to the right, driving the car toward pedestrians in the crosswalk.
- One expert called FSDs ‘particularly a safety hazard to pedestrians and cyclists’.
- The self-driving system is only Level 2 autonomous and requires drivers to be aware and in control at all times
Tesla is being criticized by motor-safety experts for using YouTubers to beta test its self-driving technology instead of trained safety drivers.
After signing non-disclosure agreements, these influencers film their experiences on the road, vice president First reported using Tesla’s full self-driving (FSD) beta to navigate busy roads.
Urban policy expert David Zipper criticized the FSD in a tweet, posting a clip in which a Seattle beta tester’s steering wheel suddenly spins right and the car veers toward a crosswalk.
The driver announced with an apologetic wave to pedestrians, ‘Wow, s–t!, sorry – it left it there.’ ‘Not a move.’
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Galileo Russell, aka Seattle YouTuber ‘Hyperchange’, posted a video of him trying out v.10 of Tesla’s fully self-driving beta. In the clip, the steering wheel suddenly spins to the right and the car slams into pedestrians until Russell grasps the wheel.
Zipper, a visiting fellow at Harvard Kennedy School, called the clip proof of why Tesla’s FSD is dangerous.
‘Not sure why FSDs are such a safety hazard – especially for pedestrians and cyclists?’ He has written. ‘Watch this video.’
In February, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) slammed the automaker for using its drivers as ‘guinea pigs’ to test its autonomous driving technology before it was officially approved.
The clip is actually a snippet of a longer video posted by Seattle YouTuber Galileo Russell, who posted it on his channel Hyperchange on Sunday.
Russell, who has more than 155,000 followers on YouTube, is involved in the Early Access program, which gets the chance to try an FSD upgrade for free instead of paying a $200 monthly fee.
Russell tried version 10.1, what he called the ‘monorail test’, weaving between the pillars of Seattle’s tram system, and later riding the bumpy cobblestone streets of Pikes Place Market.
According to Vice, both YouTubers and Tesla are interested in ‘edge cases’, unusual scenarios that put FSDs to the test.
Tesla courted controversy by giving 2,000 people unfinished technology to use on public roads since October, but CEO Elon Musk claims there have been no accidents.
‘FSD Beta Systems Can Sometimes Feel So Cool That Vigilance Isn’t Necessary, But It Is,’ Musk tweeted on September 17. ‘Plus, any beta user who isn’t super careful will get booted,’
DailyMail.com reached out to Musk on Twitter for comment. Tesla doesn’t have a traditional media relations department.
The beta offers features that allow vehicles to navigate public roads and change lanes and enable left and right turns.
Tesla said the FSB also warns beta drivers that it can ‘do the wrong thing at the worst of times, so you should always keep your hand at the wheel’.
‘I drive around downtown Seattle, testing the monorail’ [three times], where it outperformed before… and driving right by Pike Place Market,’ Russell, who has 155,000 followers on YouTube, wrote in the description of the video.
“Overall, I would say that 10.1 is a mild improvement over the previous version, mostly due to monorail testing,” he said.
Although the video is titled ‘Epic Monorail Success’, at various points, Russell comments on how the car wants to turn without request and even proceed at a red light.
Full Self-Driving Beta Isn’t Really Autonomous Driving, According To US Department of Transportation’s six-level definition.
This is Level 2 driving, which requires drivers to be aware and in control at all times.
As Vice points out, Russell and other EAP YouTubers have agreed to be part of an experiment — and have been filmed doing it — but not to endanger pedestrians, cyclists, and other motorists. .
According to Vice, to get free access to v.10 of Tesla’s fully self-driving AI, drivers must sign a non-disclosure agreement promising not to speak to the media.
According to the site, non-disclosure agreements signed by beta testers like Russell prevent them from talking to the media or giving test rides.
In exchange for being part of the Early Access program, testers get free access to pre-release version 10.1 of Tesla’s FSD software, which typically costs $200 per month.
There is also press to paint a positive picture of his experience with FSD and Tesla.
“Remember that there are a lot of people who want Tesla to fail,” the contract reads. ‘Don’t let them misinterpret your reaction and media posts.’
How does Tesla’s Autopilot work?
Autopilot uses cameras, ultrasonic sensors and radar to see and understand the environment around the car.
The sensor and camera suite provide an awareness of the surroundings that a driver alone would not have.
The company says a powerful onboard computer processes these inputs in a matter of milliseconds to help make driving “safer and less stressful.”
The autopilot is only intended to be used with a fully attentive driver—it Doesn’t turn Tesla into a truly self-driving car.
Before autopilot is enabled, drivers must agree to ‘keep their hands on the steering wheel at all times’ and to always ‘retain control and responsibility for their car’.
If insufficient torque is applied, the autopilot will also provide an increased range of visual and audible…