- Credit: Drive Tesla Canada

Should beta self-driving software be allowed on the road?

No, I'm seriously asking each and everyone of you!

Of course, it's Tesla

You have to give it to them - Tesla basically pioneered software updates for your car, so you'll have everything new that works with your existing hardware. This absolutely adds value and in a way helps to retain a Tesla's value over the years. At least to a point. Think of it like what Apple does to their iPhone range. But what about Beta versions?

Well, first of all we should define Beta - the second letter in the Greek alphabet and for software it means it's feature-complete, but there are existing and known faults. It's called Beta, because it's not fully ready! And this might not be a huge issue for a phone, but it can have some enormous implications for a car. Now when it comes to self-driving, it's not just an incredibly risky move, but it's outright dangerous, especially because of all claims that follow such a software release. Yet this is exactly what Tesla did.

Credit: Tesla Image Gallery

Credit: Tesla Image Gallery

Needless rush

So why is the rush to release something that's not ready? It's a Beta version, so there is no argument for any rush. But it begs the question - should this be allowed? Regulators don't mind that, apparently. And this is an issue! Self driving Teslas have a bad reputation already and this incomplete software release may (and probably will) do even more damage. What's worse, there was never any discussion among the general public about such risky moves. Do you really need the latest version before it is complete?

There are two sides of the story. Firstly, this Beta version enables drivers to use many of Autopilot’s advanced driver-assist features on local, non-highway streets, which is great. But the real question is whether it’s ready for primetime. And the answer is definitive - NO! It's called Beta for a reason! As always, Elon Musk gave his usual Twitter blessing, telling all how much he cares.

β€œSafety is always top priority at Tesla.”

Yeah, right... The same Tesla release notes included with the update warn people that the particular update "may do the wrong thing at the worst time"! Being aware of this warning makes me wonder - why would you release to the general public something like that? This doesn't sound like safety is a top priority, does it?! Of course, every company likes to claim bragging rights, but to do it while knowingly putting human lives in danger is . . words cannot describe what I really think of that!

Credit: Electrek

Credit: Electrek

Should it be allowed?

No! Ok, let me rephrase that - HELL NO!!! No matter how much warnings would you put in those release notes, there is the "Elon Factor" who's driving the hype, so much so, that it's just a matter of time before the next Autopilot accident hits the news. And because this Beta version is advertised as a non-highway thing, there is the real possibility for more innocent people to get hurt on our busy city streets. Now it's time to ask the difficult question:

If the manufacturer warns you that your car only has a Beta version brakes, would you drive it?

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Comments (70)

  • Not yet...more testing needs to be done...LIKE LOTS

      21 days ago
  • I think the problem with self-driving cars is that there’s no way to anticipate moves from other drivers around. This means that either a) all cars would have to be self-driving and communicate with each other via some kind of signal, or b) there needs to be much more progress made with self-driving cars before any company starts claiming that their cars can do it. We don’t want that first option.

      20 days ago
    • And you're spot-on, Ben! Absolute gold here! But then there's the issue of not being able to anticipate pedestrians. And they will cross the road wherever they fancy sometimes. And while the pedestrian emergency stop works well at low...

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        20 days ago
    • You are correct, but you also miss another difference: a computer can react much more quickly than a human, so anticipation is not required as much.

        14 days ago
  • I say no, until it is at stage 5 fully autonomous. But that’s not to say humans are perfect when it comes to driving.

      21 days ago
    • 21 days ago
  • Except Tesla’s Autopilot IS NOT SELF-DRIVING. It is autopilot, similar to an aircraft. Tesla even says how you need to always pay attention and stuff, no matter if the car is driving or not. The driver is still responsible, nothing is keeping them from paying attention except themselves.

      21 days ago
    • Sure, but than they should build I'm more control features. Plenty of stories/experiences out there about police trying to pull s car over and the driver is sleeping behind the wheel. This should not be possible at al! The computer geeks at...

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        21 days ago
    • There are more features now that were made to combat this, the cars now use the inside camera to make sure the driver is paying attention

        20 days ago
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