Tesla is giving its driver assists some personality.
The electric carmaker has updated its latest Full Self-Driving Beta (which is not full self-driving, despite its branding) to allow owners to tailor how their cars behave when the software is in charge.
Along with the existing Average drive mode, there are now Chill and Assertive options. The latter will keep a closer gap to cars in front, change lanes more frequently to maintain the speed limit, and will roll through stop signs.
It’ll also stay in the left lane (equivalent to the right lane in Australia) once it’s executed overtakes, rather than slotting back into the middle lane.
Although it’s designed to make Tesla cars feel more human-like when their computer brain is in control, the Assertive drive mode raises questions about the system’s legality. Rolling through a stop sign is common, but it’s also illegal in most circumstances.
Rules vary from state-to-state in the USA where the Beta test is currently taking place, but it’s also illegal in some states to sit in the left lane on the freeway if you’re not overtaking.
Full Self-Driving has been controversial since its launch. Elon Musk publicly said version 9.2 of the software “is actually not great” on the back of user feedback, although he said subsequent versions would be “much better”.
Tesla rolled out the software to a select group of Beta testers, and warned “it may do the wrong thing at the worst time”.
“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.”
The software is now in version 10.7. Since its launch, the pool of drivers with access to the software has grown. Owners are able to sign up and join a queue for the Early Access Program (EAP) by pressing a button in their infotainment systems.
They also need to go pass a series of driving behaviour tests before being able to access the beta feature.
Testers receive a score out of 100 depending on their driving behaviour and the score is made up of different criteria including forward collision warnings, hard braking, aggressive turning, unsafe following and forced Autopilot disengagements.
A report by Vice indicated members of the EAP are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that persuades them to be careful about what they post about the FSD Beta.
“Share on social media responsibility and selectively… consider sharing fewer videos, and only the ones that you think are interesting or worthy of being shared,” the NDA reportedly discloses.
“Do remember that there are a lot of people that want Tesla to fail.”