When it comes to using beta software, it doesn’t matter what the software is used in. You always expect the software to not work as expected at some point. While having a computer crash or a smartphone not make calls isn’t catastrophic, beta testing software for fully self-driving vehicles by the public is somewhat concerning. Tesla is reportedly rolling out an early access program for the Full Self-Driving Beta 9.0 software.
Images of the software screens have surfaced via Twitter, noting that the 9.0 beta is in early limited access and has to be used with “additional caution.” The warning says the software “may do the wrong thing at the worst time, so you must always keep your hands on the wheel and pay extra attention to the road.” Many Tesla drivers have difficulty maintaining their hands on the wheel and staying awake with the more limited self-driving software available right now.
With Full Self-Driving enabled, the vehicle can make lane changes off-highway, select forks to follow a route entered in the navigation system, navigate around other vehicles and objects, and make left or right turns. However, Tesla says that people should use the beta software only if they pay constant attention to the road and are prepared to act immediately, particularly around blind corners, crossing intersections, and other narrow driving situations.
Other updates in the beta software include improved driver visualization software. When Full Self-Driving is engaged, and apps aren’t displayed, the driving visualization expands to show additional surrounding information. Tesla is also enabling the Cabin Camera above the rearview mirror to determine if the driver is paying attention and provide them with audible alerts.
The alerts are meant to remind drivers to keep their eyes on the road when Autopilot is engaged. However, Tesla notes that camera images don’t leave the vehicle, so the system can’t save or transmit information unless data sharing is enabled.