Tesla’s quest to develop
self-driving carshit a minor bump in the road recently, after drivers who had been selected to test the “Full Self Driving” 10.3 beta version, complained about some pretty serious bugs.
Tesla, keen to avoid further scrutiny for testing advanced driver assistance software on public roads, quickly rolled back to version 10.2.
Tesla’s ‘Full Self Driving’ doesn’t mean what you think it does
Full Self Driving” package is the evolution of Tesla’s “Autopilot” driver assistance software.
While it doesn’t offer a fully autonomous self-driving experience, like you might see in a futuristic movie, it’s probably the closest thing we have.
Drivers must sit in the front seat, and be ready to assume control at all times. The technology uses cameras and sensors to maintain the car's position between the lines on the road, and keep a safe distance from other vehicles.
Assuming Tesla’s maps cover your geographical area, you can program in your destination, and the “Full Self Driving” software can get you there, obeying the rules of the road at all times.
The system is far from perfect though, and unpredictable encounters with cyclists, pedestrians, potholes, and other cars, often expose its weak spots.
The latest version, “Full Self Driving 10.3,” promised to improve the car’s autonomic responses to some of these variables, with better detection of turn signals, brake lights, and hazard lights, in addition to improved manoeuvres for avoiding pedestrians.
So what's the problem with the latest release from Tesla?
The Vergereports that Tesla decided to pull the beta version 10.3 after multiple complaints from testers.
Reported issues include a vanishing Autosteer option, faulty adaptive cruise control, and most seriously, phantom collision warnings. In fast-moving traffic, a car suddenly braking hard for no apparent reason could cause a serious accident.
The Verge explains that Tesla’s test drivers were also upset because these false collision warnings lower their safety score, which can jeopardize eligibility for future beta testing.
Fortunately for them, and for anyone concerned about road safety, Tesla has acted quickly to roll back the software.
It’s not unusual for beta testing to expose these bugs, but 10.3 will need serious attention from Tesla’s engineers and software developers before being tested in public again.