Tesla FSD Beta (Full Self-Driving) Explained
Elon Musk recently announced that Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) Beta program will be available to “all full self-driving customers in North America this year.” Are you ready to be part of this great experiment?
In this post, we’ll talk about what Tesla FSD Beta is and how to join the Tesla FSD Beta tester program. Then, we’ll discuss how to stay in the Beta program or how to opt out, and where you can go to find a used Tesla that’s FSD Beta compatible.
What is the FSD Beta?
At the most basic level, FSD Beta is the live-testing phase of the newest additions to Tesla’s Full Self-Driving software. Currently, the non-Beta version of FSD is composed of several autonomous driving functions, but FSD does not complete a full trip on its own. The programs currently in Beta are the next step in making safe, fully-autonomous Tesla drives possible in the future.
We think it’s important to note here that neither FSD nor FSD Beta is currently capable of driving safely without human supervision and occasional intervention. Tesla very specifically states that both standard Autopilot functions and Full Self-Driving “require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous.” While the future intent is for Teslas to drive without need for intervention and active human monitoring, FSD and FSD Beta are not there yet.
Briefly, the current non-Beta FSD functions are:
- Traffic-Aware Cruise Control (also available in standard Autopilot): adjusts your speed to the traffic around you
- Autosteer (standard Autopilot): steering assistance in clearly marked lanes while using Traffic-Aware Cruise Control
- Auto Lane Change: while on Autosteer, moves your Tesla to an adjacent lane
- Autopark: parking assistance for parallel or perpendicular spaces
- Summon: moves your Tesla into and out of tight spaces
- Smart Summon: moves your Tesla from a parking space to you using obstacle avoidance (cars, shopping carts, etc.)
Functions that are available for FSD Beta testing:
- Traffic and Stop Sign Control: identifies traffic lights and stop signs, slows your Tesla to a stop (with supervision)
- Autosteer on city streets: makes turns and navigates within cities (with supervision)
For these last two functions (Traffic and Stop Sign Control and Autosteer on City Streets), Tesla opened its Beta test version for use by Tesla customers who meet certain safety and monitoring requirements. Anyone who owns Full Self-Driving in full or by subscription on an eligible Tesla can apply, but only those who have met the current standard for driver safety are able to download the FSD Beta software.
FSD Version History and Updates
In this section, we’re going to take a quick dive into FSD Beta software releases: If version histories aren’t your thing, feel free to skip ahead to the next section: “How to Get FSD Beta.”
The following is a short summary of Tesla’s FSD Beta rollout from FSD Beta v9 to FSD Beta v10.12:
FSD Beta 9
- After switching from radar-assisted programming models to visually-based models (Tesla’s Pure Vision), FSD Beta adds improvements to real-time touchscreen traffic visualizations
- In-cabin cameras begin monitoring driver attentiveness (Model 3, Model Y)
- Version 9 of Beta only available to select individuals, mostly Tesla employees
FSD Beta 10.2 (2021.32.25)
- Releases October 11th to 1000 drivers who got 100/100 Safety scores
FSD Beta 10.3 (2021.36.5.2)
- Begins adding detailed release notes regarding improvements in object identifications, added user controls / sensitivities, screen refresh rates, etc.
FSD Beta 10.3.1 (2021.36.5.3)
- Rolling stop functionality added
FSD Beta 10.4 (2021.36.8.5)
- Better detection of emergency vehicles
- Touchscreen “Video Record” feature added to capture short video feedback for Tesla
FSD Beta 10.6 (2021.36.8.9)
- Improved object detection / recognition, stopping positions, and merging calculations
FSD Beta 10.7 (2021.44.5.5)
- Marked reduction in phantom braking (or braking applied in unnecessary situations)
FSD Beta 10.8 (2021.44.25.5)
- Navigation waypoints added
FSD Beta 10.8.1 (2021.44.25.5)
- Number of Forced Autopilot Disengagement strikes goes from 3 to 5 before FSD Beta is disabled
FSD Beta 10.9 (2021.44.30.10)
- Improved unprotected left turns (corrects for starting an unprotected left before a space opened up)
- General object and environment recognition improvements
- Better discernment of slowdown situations when accelerating from a stop (i.e., left turn from an intersection into a lane with a stopped car)
FSD Beta 10.10 (2021.44.30.15)
- Rolling stop functionality removed due to NHTSA objections
- Oncoming lane changes to avoid obstructions active
- Flashing red light, right-of-way situational awareness improved
FSD Beta 10.11 (2022.4.5.15)
- Improved modeling for lane crossing predictions
- Reduction in the use of maps to determine right of way, more reliance on rules and situational recognition
- Improvements in recognizing and reacting to open car doors
FSD Beta 10.12 (upcoming)
- Expected to add improvements to live traffic visualization
FSD Beta Tester Requirements
Though the Beta test pool may be open to all FSD users later this year, the current requirements for the Beta test include getting a 98-100 Safety Score over a monitoring period of seven days. We’ll talk about the safety score in more detail in the following section. For now, it’s important to note that while the driver requirements for downloading Beta may change, the Safety Score monitoring system will likely affect your continued access to the program.
For FSD Beta testing, drivers should be aware that qualifying and continuing as a tester does require driving cautiously and, often, slowly. If you like driving your Tesla based on how it corners, accelerates, and stops on a dime, Beta testing might not be for you.
On the other hand, if you typically drive very conservatively and love the idea of contributing data to improve FSD, Beta testing may be a great new way to enjoy your Tesla.
With that out of the way, let’s talk about how you can actually join the Full Self-Driving Beta Test pool.
How To Get FSD Beta: Tesla’s FSD Beta Button and Your Tesla Safety Score
As of April 18, 2022, over 100,000 Tesla drivers have enrolled in the FSD Beta test program. If you want to get Tesla FSD Beta, you’ll need to pass Beta tester requirements. Here’s a breakdown of the the process:
- You must be an FSD user (paid in full or by subscription) to request Beta
- Navigate to Autopilot -> “Request Full Self Driving Beta” (the Tesla FSD Beta button), and accept terms and conditions
- Meet Safety Score minimums over a week testing period
- If you receive an invitation to Beta, agree to Beta test conditions and download FSD Beta
We took an in-depth look at the Tesla Safety Score in a previous blog post: “Tesla Safety Score Beta Explained.” But as a quick summary, here are of the Five Safety Factors that are used to calculate your Safety Score:
- Forwards Collision Warnings per 1,000 Miles
- Hard Braking (measured as a function of speed reduction over time and distance)
- Aggressive Turning (measured as a function of left/right acceleration and time)
- Unsafe Following (maintaining a 3 second stopping distance, varies depending on speed)
- Forced Autopilot Disengagement
While it can be fairly easy to avoid negative scoring on some of these factors (Forced Autopilot disengagement, for instance), others require a bit more attention, especially if you tend to be a fairly assertive driver.
Driving to avoid Hard Braking and Aggressive Turning in particular can be difficult to adjust to if you trust your Tesla’s exceptional cornering and braking capabilities. However, simply easing into turns and using regenerative braking whenever possible will help you improve both scores.
Once you get Beta, how do you keep it? We’ll address using (or losing) Beta in the next two sections.
How to Keep Participating in FSD Beta
While the Safety Score is currently unavailable to FSD Beta users once they join the test pool, Tesla still tracks your scores on the Five Safety factors and may use them to boot you from the program.
But what’s the biggest issue that gets drivers removed from FSD Beta?
In a word, inattention.
Tesla currently allows only 5 Forced Autopilot Disengagements before your access to the Beta software is disabled. It still takes real effort (actual inattention) on your part to have this happen, as the program does offer escalating audio and visual attentiveness alerts.
Driving with FSD Beta active should be done with the mindset that your Tesla will make a mistake and you should be ready when that happens. With that in mind, here are some of the best Full Self-Driving practices to help keep you participating in FSD Beta:
- Always remain attentive
- When you are facing traffic that is likely to need intervention, turn off FSD and drive manually
- Complete navigation tasks before activating FSD Beta
- Put away your phone (this is mandatory) and limit your interactions with your Tesla’s touchscreen
- Keep your Tesla under Beta’s maximum speed limit (currently 80mph)
Briefly, keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. As a Beta tester, you are still responsible if your Tesla causes a traffic incident. While being a part of this great experiment may be awesomely entertaining, the stakes are high.
How to Opt Out of FSD Beta
For some Tesla owners, participating in the Beta test causes more stress than enjoyment. Situations with phantom braking, irritation from passengers, and nervousness about the perception of local law enforcement and other drivers when Beta makes mistakes have caused a few owners to ask if they can opt out of FSD Beta altogether.
If you’ve found yourself in the uncomfortable situation of needing to opt out of Tesla’s FSD Beta program, you have two choices: either disable the Beta features in your Autopilot settings or email Tesla and request removal from the program (though we’ve heard that response time may vary).
We absolutely do NOT recommend getting your 5 Forced Autopilot Disengagement strikes on purpose just to remove yourself from the Beta tester pool. That action may create unpleasant consequences for your future access to FSD features.
Find a Used Tesla Eligible for FSD Beta
Looking for a used Tesla so you can sign up for FSD Beta? You can FSD Beta compatible Teslas right here in our listings!
The easiest way is to search all listings and filter for Tesla’s with FSD included. FSD is typically transferable in private sales, so you can often get your hands on fully-purchased FSD at a discount through our listings.
A second way: search our listings for a Tesla with Autopilot hardware 3.0 (yep, we’ve got filters for that, too!) and either purchase a subscription to FSD from Tesla or go all-out and purchase FSD in full yourself.
Either way, good luck on your quest to experience FSD Beta and the future of Tesla software!