It seems that Tesla is having a lot of issues with its FSD (Full Self Drive) and Autopilot features, setting it far apart from its goals of being the industry’s leader within these technologies. Leading to angry drivers and unsafe driving experiences
What was supposed to be industry-changing technology has experienced a heck of a roller coaster ride over the years as it got a little better, back-tracked, got a little better, back-tracked, and so on. The latest update making things so bad that many drivers have chosen to avoid using these features completely.
These experiences can be backed by my colleagues and friends who own Tesla vehicles currently (I say currently since some have already traded out for alternative vehicles).
The latest updates that rolled out as a part of a digital recall sought to enhance the driver awareness demands of regulators who felt that drivers could too easily trick the car into thinking they were paying attention. Meanwhile, drivers have been found sleeping or even performing sexual acts in the vehicle as it drove itself.
Since the rollout of these updates, it seems experiences overall have gotten a lot worse. Including valid driving experiences resulting in all sorts of false alerts, errors, and other issues that distract the driver (or what one of my colleagues describes as creating overly inflated levels of anxiety). Making for an unsafe driving experience.
Many have reported random errors that flash across the screen telling the driver to take over, even though nothing is occurring on the road to justify it (ie, driving straight ahead on a fully open road). Others have described various forms of false alerts, such as random braking (known as ghost breaking) in the middle of the rod for no reason, or random FCWs (frontal collision warning).
That last one has been a huge grievance for one of my colleagues who has Tesla Insurance, since the company prices drivers based on their driving score. I have witnessed it myself with him receiving an FCW while driving on an open road when there are large vehicles (ie, Semis) parked close on the shoulder. You can watch them jump around on the screen as the computer is having trouble deciding on their location. You can see the look on his face as he is clearly angry at the fact that these false alerts artificially inflate his insurance premium for no reason.
I have also witnessed it go off when a car in front starts to brake from a great distance ahead. The FCW going off within just milliseconds of it happening, not giving him enough time to respond reasonably and usually in situations that don’t even require him to take any action outside of slowing down at a relaxed pace. It’s as though FCWs have been set to an insane level of sensitivity and distance between vehicles doesn’t apply anymore.
Tesla Insurance gives no way to talk to someone about it and Tesla doesn’t seem to be working on any fix to the issue as it has only gotten worse (they probably love the extra profit). He told me once that he normally sees around 1-2 false alerts every few weeks. That has since turned into 1-5 a week.
He should be working on sharing his full story on it here in the coming weeks. So you can expect to read more about this when he is ready to share.
Like him, many Tesla owners have been sharing that they have opted to avoid using these features in an attempt to avoid added stress during their drive. And many have been leaving Tesla Insurance to avoid it because of the trouble these features have been causing there. These technologies seem to be causing more stress than not, including “random fight or flight reactions” caused by false alerts (per my colleague).
I have also watched as a friend of mine had to pull over just to look at her map while it was guiding her. All because if she looked down at it for more than a quick second, it would start nagging her to pay attention to the road. Or it would very loudly alert to something and then complain that she needs to pay attention when she looks over to read what it says. Offering two blows in one and making her angry. Sometimes an error would pop up and vanish so quickly that it was impossible to know what it said (and it wouldn’t show anything within the notifications screen so you are left wondering what it was about).
It just seems that the software on Teslas is in a complete state of mess and instability. Causing alerts and notifications that make the driver jumpy or angry during their trip. Justified if they are driving unsafely, but not so much if it is due to false alerts or errors.
The company has a long way to go to clean this up and achieve the roadmap it has promised time and time again. Meanwhile, the competition is given a huge window of opportunity to press ahead.