Tesla FSD Beta is starting to save lives

A Tesla Model 3 driving at night. (Photo: Andres GE)

Tesla’s Autopilot and Full Self-Driving Beta are, at their core, safety systems. They may be advanced enough to make driving tasks extremely easy and convenient, but ultimately, CEO Elon Musk has been consistent with the idea that Tesla’s advanced driver-assist technologies are being developed to make the world’s roads as safe as possible. 

This is something that seems to be happening now among some members of the FSD Beta group, which is currently being expanded even to drivers with a Safety Score of 99. As the company expands its fleet of vehicles that are equipped with FSD beta, some testers have started sharing stories about how the advanced driver-assist system helped them avoid potential accidents on the road. 

FSD Beta tester @FrenchieEAP, for example, recently shared a story about a moment when his Model 3 was sitting at a red light with the Full Self-Driving Beta engaged. When the light turned green, the all-electric sedan started moving forward — before braking suddenly. The driver initially thought that the FSD Beta was stopping for no reason, but a second later, the Model 3 owner realized that a cyclist had actually jumped a red light. The FSD Beta just saw the cyclist before he did. 

Fellow FSD Beta tester Geoff Coffelt, who also drives a Model 3, shared a somewhat similar experience. According to the Tesla owner, his Model 3 initially refused to go at a green light, and he later realized that this was because another motorist was coming the wrong way up a one-way road that it was turning on to. The Model 3 driver noted that he actually had no idea about the impending danger since he was solely focused on looking for other vehicles that were coming from the proper direction. 

This particular FSD Beta experience is quite impressive since the advanced driver-assist system effectively prevented an accident that could very well have happened if the Tesla owner was driving manually. Very rarely does a driver assume and check for other motorists that may be counterflowing in a one-way street, after all. In such scenarios, it is far more common for drivers to pay attention to other vehicles that are following the proper flow of traffic. 

What is rarely discussed in the Tesla Autopilot and FSD Beta debate is the fact that humans are not really very good drivers at all. And most of the time, incidents happen because of human error. The 3,142 fatalities recorded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2019 due to distracted driving are proof that humans are hardly the most careful on the road. If Tesla could effectively refine its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving systems to the point where they could effectively navigate inner-city streets and highways with the utmost safety, then the roads could truly become a much safer place. 

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Simon Alvarez: Simon is a reporter with a passion for electric cars and clean energy. Fascinated by the world envisioned by Elon Musk, he hopes to make it to Mars (at least as a tourist) someday.
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