If you have been living under a rock, in late 2020, Tesla released the next generation of the company’s full self-driving software called FSD Beta.
This software version is a significant architectural rewrite of Tesla’s Autopilot software and unlike previous iterations of Autopilot, requires merging all images coming from 8 cameras into a vector space that the vehicle uses to execute driving in the real world.
In simple terms, the new software creates a representation of the real world by piecing together images coming from the 8 cameras, and the vehicle uses this virtual representation of the real world to make driving decisions.
The new approach has allowed Tesla to enable vehicles to tackle more complex driving settings such as surface streets, roundabouts, and unprotected left turns, which are currently impossible for Tesla’s previous Autopilot software.
Tesla initially released FSD Beta to the 3000 or so individuals in the company’s Early Access Program. However, that number has currently grown to more than 100,000 vehicles and Elon Musk has recently said by the end of this year FSD Beta will be running on 1 million Teslas.
Since FSD Beta’s initial rollout in late 2020, the software has seen several upgrades which have improved the smoothness and capabilities of the self-driving software.
Tesla’s last FSD update was FSD Beta 10.12. This iteration of FSD Beta was released at the end of May and has brought with it several improvements getting Tesla one step closer to the goal of having the software completely take over the driving task.
Having said that, FSD Beta 10.12 is still far from a level 5 fully autonomous solution and the software still needs a lot of work to make it fully self-driving.
And a couple of weeks back Elon Musk had said “the 3 am oil is being burned” to get the next iteration of FSD Beta out.
And today, all that hard work has paid off and Tesla has started releasing FSD Beta 10.3 to its fleet of vehicles. The release note for FSD Beta lists all the improvements Tesla has made over the last couple of months. And some of the improvements Tesla lists are…
- Improved decision-making for unprotected left turns using better estimation of ego’s interaction with other objects through the maneuver.
- Improved stopping pose while yielding for crossing objects at “Chuck Cook style” unprotected left turns by utilizing the median safety regions.
- Made speed profile more comfortable when creeping for visibility, to allow for smoother stops when protecting for potentially occluded objects.
- Enabled creeping for visibility at any intersection where objects might cross ego’s path, regardless of the presence of traffic controls.
You can read the full list of improvements in the Whole Mars Catalog tweet embedded below.
But, one improvement worthy of further explanation is “improved stopping pose while yielding for crossing objects at “Chuck Cook style” unprotected left turns by utilizing the median safety regions.”
If you happen to be unfamiliar, Chuck Cook is a YouTuber and FSD Beta tester who has been meticulously recording and sharing FSD Beta’s improvements in various scenarios.
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And “Chuck Cook style unprotected left turn” is a wide highway intersection with multiple lanes. When making this left turn, the vehicle needs to make a left turn navigating across traffic going as fast as 60mph.
Due to the width and speed at which vehicles are driving on the highway, making an unprotected left turn at this particular stretch of the road requires the vehicle to traverse oncoming traffic from left to right; stop at the wide highway divider; then wait for the traffic going from right to left to clear, and finally make the left turn.
In previous iterations of FSD Beta, since the vehicle could not stop in the middle of the highway at the divider, then FSD Beta had to wait for traffic coming from both directions to clear before making the turn.
To better understand the situation, you can watch Chuck Cook’s video embedded below showcasing said road and what the latest improvements mean.
All the improvements Tesla listed on the FSD Beta 10.13 release note are certainly exciting, but, since the software update is just rolling out, we have yet to see the software in action in the real world.
However, we will be sure to keep you posted once FSD Beta 10.13 drives start being shared. Until then, make sure to visit our site torquenews.com/Tesla regularly for the latest updates.
So what do you think? Excited about all the improvements coming with FSD Beta 10.13? Also, how long do you think it will take Tesla to make FSD a fully self-driving system? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
Image: Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.
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Tinsae Aregay has been following Tesla and The evolution of the EV space on a daily basis for several years. He covers everything about Tesla from the cars to Elon Musk, the energy business, and autonomy. Follow Tinsae on Twitter at @TinsaeAregay for daily Tesla news.