Getting Our Model 3 Approved for Tesla’s FSD Beta Requires a Passing Safety Score
Tesla CEO Elon Musk says drivers who requested Full Self-Driving Beta will be granted access on October 9 if their Safety Score checks out.
We leased a 2019 Tesla Model 3 two years ago so we could test Tesla’s Full Self-Driving system, but we’re still waiting for the software to be released to the public. We’ve been checking Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s Twitter feed to hear the latest about the full release of the software, and now we might be getting a few steps closer to getting access to the FSD Beta thanks to a new request feature.
As part of a recent software update, Tesla added a feature that allows owners to request early access to Full Self-Driving Beta, which some Tesla owners have been using for months now. This is only available on cars that are equipped with the Full-Self Driving package, which now costs $10,000 or either $99 or $199 a month depending on which Autopilot variant you have. We requested access on our long-term test car, and Tesla will now take into account our standing in its new Safety Score before (hopefully) granting us access to the Beta software. However, Tesla has not yet said what constitutes a passing score. Musk says Beta version 10.2 will be released on Friday, October 8, and we’re hoping our score is enough to get access.
A driver’s Safety Score is based on five factors: forward collision warnings, hard braking, aggressive turning, unsafe following, and forced Autopilot disengagement. Tesla says the forward collision warnings, captured based on the medium setting, are recorded per 1000 miles. Anything in excess of 0.3 g, or a decrease in speed greater than 6.7 mph in one second, counts as hard braking. Aggressive turning is measured in excess of 0.4 g, something we regularly exceed. Unsafe following distances are only being factored into the Safety Score at speeds greater than 50 mph.
The last factor, Autopilot disengagement, seems to be Tesla’s response to numerous regulatory investigations regarding Tesla vehicle crashes involved with Autopilot. Autopilot stays engaged for 25 seconds before a visual and auditory warning, and it will shut down after three warnings. We tested the system alongside 16 other cars from different automakers and found that all of them can be tricked into engaging with no driver in the seat.
Our Safety Score was off to a rough start initially, as we received the update just before our car left for its 40,000-mile testing regimen at the track. Acceleration runs, high-speed braking, and skidpad testing aren’t ideal for a passing Safety Score. That left us at a score of 60 out of 100. After more than 100 miles of driving, we’re currently at a score of 73 out of 100 (80 for the day), but we’re working on getting a passing score so we can test FSD Beta.
We set up a 70-mile loop around our Ann Arbor, Michigan, headquarters to test the system, and we’ll run it as soon as we get the Beta. In the meantime, you can see the results of our first test run, using Tesla’s Autopilot Driver-Assist System