Tesla’s Full Self Driving suite is progressing nicely, and even though it is not without its glitches (that’s why it’s still classed as a beta), it is undeniably impressive to see it in action. Now we’ve seen hundreds of such videos showing Teslas on Autopilot either owning certain situations or falling a bit short, but this one of a Model 3 passing a garbage truck on its own is just so satisfying to watch.
The concept of the uncanny valley I think has to be applied here in order to understand why this is so, even though it usually has to do with aesthetics. In this instance, talking about Tesla FSD, if the computers are driving the car and they don’t quite do a natural and human-like job of it, passengers won’t feel quite at ease riding in the car. If, however, the car reacts very closely to what they predict a human driver would, then they will feel more relaxed.
In other words, even if the car is driving perfectly safely on its own, with no human input, yet the way in which it is doing the driving is not what people have come to expect from a human driver, the experience will be a jarring one. That’s why I think Autopilot needs to react as human-like as possible, and while the overtaking maneuver in this video by Dave Mac is still a bit wonky, the fact that the car passed the garbage truck on its own is actually reassuring and satisfying to watch – it looked like a human who made a decision on the fly.
It shows that even though the system is not quite there yet, progress is being made and with more real world testing, it has the potential to be a system which can be relied upon. This was accomplished with FSD Beta 5, which is no longer the most recent version – the very latest one is FSD Beta 6.