Tesla Releases Safety Score Beta in Apparent Preparation for FSD Release

Elon Musk disclosed a while ago that Tesla would allow all customers to request access to FSD (Full Self-Driving). That made critics of the system’s use on public roads get really worried about the implications. The Tesla CEO then said that only people who proved to be safe drivers would get access to the feature.
Tesla Safety Score Beta 12 photos
Photo: Tesla
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With software update 2021.32.22, the company released the FSD button request and something it calls Safety Score… Beta. Unfortunately, the Tesla page that explains it does not give us any idea what role this new beta software will play in connection with FSD.

The page limits itself to clarifying what the Safety Score Beta is, the criteria it adopts to determine if you drive safely or not, and how you can improve your score. After the software determines that you are not prone to crash your car at every corner – with a score from 0 to 100 – it displays it on the Tesla app. The company believes most drivers will have a score above 80, but it does not state if that is good or bad. Tesla also fails to say what it considers to be a safe driver.

The EV maker informs on that page that the Safety Score is updated after each trip the car makes, with a minimum of 0.1 miles (161 meters) of travel. Each day has a different Safety Score, and only the trips taken on a given day count.

The company established five safety factors: Forward Collision Warnings per 1,000 Miles, Hard Braking, Aggressive Turning, Unsafe Following, and Forced Autopilot Disengagement. Theoretically, the last one would measure how alert the driver is when they engage Autopilot, but multiple tests already showed that Tesla needs to improve driver monitoring.

Tesla Safety Score Beta
Photo: Tesla
This is the one of the main points of criticism around Autopilot and FSD. After Musk and Tesla repeatedly claimed the cars to be more autonomous than they really were (autonowashing), multiple drivers started trusting the systems more than they should. Apart from videos of people sleeping or drunk at the steering wheel of their Teslas, at least three people already died due to overreliance on these Level 2 ADAS (advanced driver-assistance systems) systems.

At this point, it is not clear how the Safety Score Beta will grant access to FSD Beta 10.1. According to Musk’s tweet below, a future OTA update will be released after “another 24 hours of testing.” We wonder what this limited window of testing can help improve in a beta software that can control all functions in a car: it seems Tesla is in a rush.

As Taylor Ogan put it to Bloomberg, “it’s like the CEO of a drug company broadening the test pool of the experimental drug that the FDA is investigating for potentially hurting people.” The Snow Bull Capital CEO referred to the investigation NHTSA is doing on Autopilot for crashing against emergency vehicles. The safety agency also required all accidents with ADAS to be reported.

Tesla Safety Score Beta
Photo: Tesla
With broader access to FSD, autonomous driving specialists fear that we may see many more accidents happening involving these systems. Videos of regular customers trying FSD showed it still presents multiple flaws. Tesla may be trying to speed up things out of fear that it may have to perform AV tests like everyone else: with engineers behind the wheel (or yoke) and legal authorization to do so on public roads.

The company recently tried to fix things up in a somewhat naive way: with an update that claims to detect emergency vehicles. While Tesla fans think that is enough, authorities will probably need more persuasive arguments. What about proof that it finally works as Tesla said it would? That would be a good start.

FSD Beta request button goes live tonight, but FSD 10.1 needs another 24 hours of testing, so out tomorrow night

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 25, 2021
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About the author: Gustavo Henrique Ruffo
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Motoring writer since 1998, Gustavo wants to write relevant stories about cars and their shift to a sustainable future.
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