The capabilities of Tesla’s Autopilot and Full Self-Driving beta are rather easy to dismiss. A look at the ranking of Autopilot from Consumer Reports alone would suggest that the driver-assist system of Tesla is at best pretty average, and that solutions such as the Super Cruise of GM are far more advanced and capable.
With this in mind, the narrative surrounding the self-driving efforts of Tesla largely indicates that while advanced, the driver-assist systems of the company are years away from being a capable autonomous driving solution. And if Tesla achieves autonomy, it would be far ahead of real FSD companies such as Waymo and Cruise.
These preconceptions about Autopilot and the Full Self-Driving suite, however, are a bit questionable, especially if one were to consider the capabilities of the FSD beta today, which is currently being tested by a select group of Tesla owners. Tesla owner and YouTube host Dan Markham of the What’s Inside? Family channel recently experienced this, when he took a drive on a Model S equipped with the FSD beta.
The Model S, which is owned by Tesla and SpaceX enthusiast Eli Burton, was put through several real-world driving scenarios, from left and right inner-city turns to full parking lots. And Markham was very impressed over the course of the test especially as he is himself a Tesla owner who is familiar with the capabilities and behaviors of Autopilot. Markham admitted during the “first drive” demonstration that he was mind-blown by the self-driving abilities exhibited by Burton’s Model S.
When the pair took the FSD beta-equipped Tesla through Las Vegas Boulevard, this became quite noticeable. During the test, Tesla’s Full Self-Driving beta performed very well, changing lanes, adjusting its speed, and doing all the maneuvers necessary to take the pair to a Supercharger station. By the end of the video, both Tesla owners were impressed, and although it may take some time before the FSD beta sees a wider release, it is obvious that the self-driving technology of the company is there, and at this stage it is just getting refined.
This is something that might be lost on those who do not know Tesla’s innovations and vehicles personally. There seems to be a good chance that Tesla’s autonomous driving endgame will emerge more quickly than expected, based on the capabilities of the FSD beta now along with the fact that improvements are being rolled out to the system at an extremely rapid pace. After all, Tesla critics and organizations such as Consumer Reports may consider Autopilot inferior to systems such as GM’s Super Cruise for now but such assumptions will likely be more difficult to justify in the coming year or so.
Watch FSD beta handle inner-city driving and the Las Vegas Boulevard in the video below.
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