Tesla Safety Score Beta Shows Its Impact and Raises Doubts a Few Hours After Release

Some people have paid up to $10,000 for Tesla’s Full Self-Driving suite but were not told that it was meant to be a privilege, not a product. In other words, Tesla charged them for the right to be considered, not for actually letting them use a finished software. Despite the company’s lack of transparency about what it meant with the Safety Score Beta, Tesla owners shared the disclaimer for the FSD button. Its first goal is indeed to regulate FSD access and use. Owners are also sharing their struggle to reach a high score, but no one has an answer for what is good enough yet.
Tesla FSB Beta Request Disclaimer 13 photos
Photo: Tesla
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As Elon Musk disclosed on Twitter, Tesla will expand the number of FSD Beta users – despite the NHTSA’s investigations and NTSB stating that Full Self-Driving is a “misleading and irresponsible” way of calling the software. The plan is to allow owners that paid for FSD to request access through a button. It started to show up after the software update 2021.32.22. The same OTA (over-the-air) update also brought the Safety Score Beta.

In our text about it, we mentioned the five “safety” factors Tesla chose to measure. As the screenshot below tells, the company has carefully written its disclaimer to say that “FSD Beta does not make my car autonomous.” It would probably be weird to say that “Full Self-Driving Beta does not make my car autonomous.”

Philip Koopman was quick to correct Tesla on the way it named the factors. According to the autonomous vehicle safety expert and associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University, the metrics are actually risk factors, helpful for determining insurance policies. They would not be as valuable to assess if a person drives safely or not.

Tesla FSB Beta Request Disclaimer
Photo: Tesla
He then shared some concerning screenshots of people discussing if they should break for bicyclists or not. One of them says you shouldn’t brake to do well on the Safety Score, but should also avoid hitting them. Tesla determined that braking forces above 0.3 G lower the score, raising criticism that 0.3 G corresponds to very mild braking.

Missy Cummings agreed with Koopman that these rules might lead to more dangerous driving behavior than without the Safety Score Beta. According to the director of HAL (Humans and Autonomy Lab), the impact of abuse and misuse of these metrics are well documented and “will undoubtedly be revealed via accident investigations or lawsuits.”

Tweets about issues to achieve high metrics are now spreading. One user said he had already received a lot of swearing for the way he was driving. Some others claim that using Autopilot lowers their safety score, which is the mother of all ironies. Tesla’s own Level 2 ADAS makes it harder for people to use another Level 2 ADAS from the company – one that requires even more attention than everyday driving would.

Tesla Autopilot and FSD
Photo: Tesla
The multiples examples of FSD in action that are being shared on Twitter show things can get out of control quickly. Any of the near misses presented by these videos is a potential hit should the driver fail to correct FSD even for a second. Tesla has itself covered with legal disclaimers that state the driver is responsible for everything if that happens. Unfortunately, it seems that this is just a matter of time.

With such implications on the table, it is difficult to understand all the effort people are making to have the beta software. When they paid up to $10,000 for that, they probably expected to own a car that drives by itself – an “appreciating asset,” as Musk put it. If even Tesla makes people recognize that is not the case when they request FSD Beta, the frenzy surrounding such requirements is beyond comprehension. Worse still, it is concerning for everyone around those vehicles to be exposed to them if anything goes wrong.
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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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