In a live stream, Tesla boss Elon Musk wanted to demonstrate the capabilities of the latest Tesla software. The upcoming update is a big step, because after several years in the beta phase, Tesla wants to deliver a finished, final software with the twelfth version for the first time. The car manufacturer is currently testing the package called “FSD v12” internally – including the boss himself.
The video of a ride with the software is 45 minutes long. Musk published the ride on his social network X (formerly Twitter). Apparently, Musk was so sure of himself that he filmed the drive as a driver, which has been illegal in California to date - even at the wheel of supposedly autonomous cars. The only reason the police won't issue him a ticket is because they didn't notice the offense themselves. An official confirmed this to The Verge.
The video is generally quite tiring to watch as the video quality is unbearably poor in places. It is therefore difficult to get an accurate picture of the software. But it is enough to be able to roughly understand the largely smooth ride.
Probably the most striking point is at minute 19:58. After driving quite relaxed through California, Musk's Model S comes to a stop at a conventional intersection. Shortly before, Musk explains that the car stops safely at traffic lights and stop signs and even follows the rules more consistently than people do. Admittedly, most people keep rolling when they see a stop sign.
But just as Musk and his passenger were speaking about human error, it happened: although his traffic light was still red and he was only allowed to drive in the left-turn lane, his Model S began to accelerate. Only when the car has already reached 12 km/h and has driven a little into the intersection does Musk step on the brakes. "Oh, engagement," he laughs. A few meters in front of him, the opposite left turn crosses, which his car almost got in the way.
The passenger, thought to be Ashok Elluswamy, Tesla's director of autopilot software, says that "this version has a slight hiccup at traffic lights." The journey continues without further incident and ends somewhere in California.
While much of the journey is uneventful, as far as one can tell, traffic light misinterpretation is a major problem. Because it's not the first time that a Tesla misbehaves at an intersection. In January, the "New York Times Magazine" author Christopher Cox reported how many mistakes such a system actually still makes - and with what strange leap of faith Tesla drivers make themselves test objects.
The ride, which Musk broadcast live, also took place in ideal conditions. So it wasn't an endurance test. Also, in the course of the video, there was no situation that often leads to accidents in connection with self-driving Teslas - stationary and illuminated emergency vehicles.
As a level 2 system, i.e. for partially automated driving, the Tesla is already very well prepared. As long as the driver has a constant eye on the traffic and is in constant control of the vehicle, Autopilot (or FSD) can make driving much easier. Musk's goal of finally being able to market his software with the Level 3 label (highly automated driving) does not seem to have been achieved yet.