Tesla FSD v9 Beta
Jeremy Johnson's picture

Tesla FSD v9 Beta Is Slick and Smooth

We have breaking news of Tesla's first day of its release of its full self-driving (FSD) version 9 Beta software. It's looking pretty amazing. Let's take a look at the YouTube user, DirtyTesla, and see what his results with it are (from a dark 3:30 AM drive):

Full Self-Driving (Beta v9)

The FSD v9 Beta is looking very smooth and impressive. The car seems to react more quickly in real time and it is going to be exciting to see other users use this over time and see what improvements get made to the software to make it even better as times goes on.

Let's take a look at some of the information on the Tesla Dashboard and then we'll follow the Tesla FSD v9 Beta adventure of the YouTube user, DirtyTesla.

From the Tesla Dashboard:

"Full Self-Driving is in early limited access Beta and must be used with additional caution. It may do the wrong thing at the worst time, so you must always keep your hands on the wheel and pay extra attention to the road. Do not become complacent. When Full Self-Driving is enabled your vehicle will make lange changes off highway, select forks to follow your navigation route, navigate around other vehicles and objects, and make left and right turns. Use Full Self-Driving in limited Beta only if you will pay constant attention to the road, and be prepared to act immediately, especially around blind corners, crossing intersections, and in narrow driving situations."

Driving Visualization Improvements

From the Tesla Dashboard:

"The driving visualization has been improved to better support Full Self-Driving capabilities. When Full Self-Driving is engaged and apps are not displayed, the driving visualization will expand to show additional surrounding information. To disable the Expanded Full Self-Driving Visualization, tap Controls > Autopilot. With the larger visualization, select items have slightly moved but will continue to look and behave the same."

Cabin Camera

From Tesla's dashboard:

"The cabin camera above your rearview mirror can now determine driver inattentiveness and provide you with audible alerts, to remind you to keep your eyes on the road when Autopilot is engaged. Camera images do not leave the vehicle itself, which means the system cannot save or transmit information unless you enable data sharing. To change your data settings, tap Controls > Safety & Security > Data Sharing on your car's touchscreen."

You still need your hands on the wheel at all times.

Related News: What will FSD need to do to awaken the robotaxi fleet?

Dirt Road Driving Testing

It was around 3:30 AM when DirtyTesla began his drive exiting his driveway on a dirt road. On the left was the visualization and on the right was the satellite map view of where he is.

The road was being shown and there was a dirty road round about that the car went around. The road was narrow and grass is on the sides, yet the car was able to stay on the road.

Autopilot was enabled on the dirt road and there are no lane lines at all. The car stayed on the road, but there were some overhanging plants on the side that hit the car. There was a left turn on the dirt road and the car made the turn at night on a dirt road. The car then drove through a puddle of water without moving around it :).

Side Streets Driving Testing

The car left the dirt road to drive on some side streets and crept forward to make its first right turn. The car was very cautious and made the turn. The look of the road is very smooth and bright. It's very clear and easy to see where all the lane lines are and the colors are very distinct.

DirtyTesla likes the new visualization. One thing that would be interesting to put on the visualization is the dotted yellow lines in the middle of the road. The line in the middle of the visualization didn't update whether there was a solid yellow line in the middle of the road or dotted lines - it was always just a solid yellow line. Tesla turned off its Auto Bright lights when other cars approached and then turned them back on again.

There was a left turn that the car needed to make and it turned on its signal ahead of time. It crept up to the turn and gave the message that it wanted the driver to make the turn, which DirtyTesla did. It's good that the car put safety first. The car made the turn and it was very smooth and natural. The remaining driving on the side roads was very smooth without any incidents or interventions.

Downtown City Driving Testing

Approaching cars are on the display and show in the visualization. You can see the different car types on the side and the crosswalk displayed on the UI. Some of the road signs show up on the UI, but others were not. The crosswalk visualizations are very nice looking.

There was a no stop sign crosswalk that the car stopped for, which was wrong and was reported to Tesla by DirtyTesla. There is a blinking red light that was stopped at by the car and it didn't drive through it, it stayed stopped. DirtyTesla had to drive through himself. There was a parking lot and the view of the vehicles and markings was very nice and smooth.

Left and Right Turns

The car tried to make a left turn and had an issue, which was taken over by DirtyTesla. It looks like the car was confused by the median in the middle of the road. On another left turn, the car got in the lane, at a stop sign, a little aggressively, but did the left turn without incident. It then did a right turn very smoothly and confidently.

At a dead end from a right turn, the car made the right turn and then approached the dead end and stopped. The car then drove into a dirt parking lot and started driving, going "rogue". But once the car was pointed in the right direction, it was good to go.

First Impressions of FSD v9 Beta Day 1

The car is very confident when it knows what to do. It drives straight, makes turns, and it is a smooth ride. This is similar to a human driver who knows what to do when driving conditions are well known.

When there are intersections, the car proceeds cautiously which is smart because other vehicles and run red lights and the car needs to be prepared for all situations. The car cautiously went through a blinking yellow light intersection, which most other people do not do.

The most challenging part about getting full self-driving out of beta will be handling all the cases where things aren't as clear and the car has to make decisions, such as construction, median's, odd lane markings, weird lane's, etc.

To sum up:

  • The UI is much better and easier to understand
  • The car is more confident overall and cautious when it needs to be
  • The overall experience is much better than the v8.2 beta before
  • Breaking is way smoother than it used to be, especially for stop signs
  • It's still Beta and needs to be tested and bugs fixed

It was also funny to hear about DirtyTesla being pulled over. The Beta stopped at a blinking red light, but there was a police officer at a blinking yellow light on the other side of the intersection. DirtyTesla drove through the blinking red, overriding the full self-driving beta and was pulled over. He explained to the officer what happened and the officer joked that the car knew better than he did!

Lastly, here's another YouTube video of a very nice drive with FSD v9 Beta:

The main changes found at the end of this video are:

  • Acceleration and deceleration feel more natural
  • Other cars are rendered as actual vehicles instead of boxes
  • The jittery steering wheel is significantly reduced to almost nothing
  • Smoother turning (left and right)
  • Dotted lines replaced with solid blurry lines

Looking forward to more videos and progress being made!

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Jeremy Johnson is a Tesla investor and supporter. He first invested in Tesla in 2017 after years of following Elon Musk and admiring his work ethic and intelligence. Since then, he's become a Tesla bull, covering anything about Tesla he can find, while also dabbling in other electric vehicle companies. Jeremy covers Tesla developments at Torque News. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram to stay in touch and follow his Tesla news coverage on Torque News.

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