First FSD Beta V12.1.2 Driving Impressions and Why This Version Is So Important

Tesla rolls FSD Beta V12.1.2 to customers 7 photos
Photo: @WholeMarsBlog, @niccruzpatane via X
Tesla rolls FSD Beta V12.1.2 to customersTesla rolls FSD Beta V12.1.2 to customersTesla rolls FSD Beta V12.1.2 to customersTesla rolls FSD Beta V12.1.2 to customersTesla rolls FSD Beta V12.1.2 to customersTesla rolls FSD Beta V12.1.2 to customers
Tesla rolled out the first FSD Beta update of the year to some of its customers, and the initial feedback is favorable. FSD Beta V12.1.2 is the first V12 build offered to Hardware-4 equipped vehicles and comes with functional and visualization improvements.
Tesla released the first test builds of the FSD V12 to select employees last November, and roughly one month later, more than 15,000 Wave1 beta testers were also included in the program. By then, the end-to-end AI software had been bumped to V12.1, and we've seen the first driving video shared online (albeit briefly). The short video clearly showed that the new FSD version was much smoother than the V11, almost human-like in certain situations. It was also better at merging with traffic, changing lanes, and maintaining proximity to the cars in front.

But it wasn't all perfect, which was actually expected, given the Beta software's inherent nature. In the video mentioned above, we've seen that the car hadn't slowed down enough for speed bumps, if at all. Toward the end of the video, the vehicle stops in the right lane. Then, it turns left abruptly to enter the Tesla Fremont parking area, crossing the lanes. That was certainly not the intended behavior, but we forgave these mistakes since it was an early test build.

Since then, Tesla bumped the build number to V12.1.2 and is confident enough to allow even some customers to test it. For the first time, V12 was also pushed to Hardware 4 vehicles. This shows that the upgraded hardware fine-tuning is complete, and HW4 cars will join the rest of the fleet regarding FSD software. Until this build, V12 software was only compatible with HW3 vehicles.

This is still not a full rollout, but only an invitation-only offer to select customers who have been helping Tesla test FSD builds in the past. Among the chosen ones was Omar from the Whole Mars Catalog X account, who had already shared many driving videos. That being said, a wide rollout to Tesla customers could happen by the end of this week if no nasty bugs are discovered to bring everything back to the drawing board.

Omar has tested the FSD Beta V12.1.2 in the city and highways and admitted he was blown away by how good it was. That's not very hard, considering that he is almost as easily blown away by an FSD build as Elon Musk. His FSD driving videos also focus on the positive parts, so take his experience with a grain of salt. Even so, the FSD Beta V12.1.2 looks a lot more polished than in the previous video, showing the essential improvements Tesla made with the latest update.

In city driving, the FSD Beta V12.1.2 is much better at dealing with speed bumps, lowering the speed to 8 mph (13 kph). This enhances the comfort and limits the suspension shocks. Overall, everyone who tested the new build testified it feels way more natural than before. Starting from a standstill and pulling over at the destination are also more human-like, silencing critics who complained about these issues before. The software also nailed tricky situations where it messed things up in the past.

As a downside, the software doesn't always drive at the maximum allowed top speed on highways. The rainy weather might have caused this, though, so we'll have to see more videos before concluding. Overall, it's a very polished build, by all accounts. As a nice touch in the FSD V12 visualization, the path planner line disappears when the car isn't moving.

Although we'll have to see many more updates before Tesla Full Self-Driving gets production-ready, the V12.1.2 released over the weekend is an important milestone. It's the first V12 build installed on HW4 vehicles and over older 2023.44.30 production builds. Finally, it's a good sign that Tesla remained on the same branch (V12.1) for quite some time, with V12.1.1 and V12.1.2 released sequentially. This is a strong indication that this branch is primed for a broader release to customers in the following days.

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About the author: Cristian Agatie
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After his childhood dream of becoming a "tractor operator" didn't pan out, Cristian turned to journalism, first in print and later moving to online media. His top interests are electric vehicles and new energy solutions.
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