Tesla offered a 30 day trial of FSD to all owners with compatible cars. I was excited to get it, and when I saw the software update Mar 31, I wondered if that would be the FSD trial. It was.

This is FSD 12.3, though the software says in the app v11.1 (2024.03.10). I don’t really pay attention to versions, as I’m not making decisions. I just take software updates since I don’t have a good basis for judgement. This post looks at the first week of using FSD.

A Ski Trip

I had a light day the first day, so I took off for the mountains. I initially used it to drive up and tried to record a few spots, but apparently I can’t record while driving.

I did get a short recording coming home, when navigating to lunch, and I posted some thoughts there.

Overall, this worked well, though there is some construction on the highway, and I bailed on FSD in these places, as well as a few places where I was worried about weather. There was a bit of snow coming out the West side of the Eisenhower tunnel, and I didn’t want to risk issues. The road is also a mess there, with potholes, and the Tesla doesn’t do a good job of avoiding those.

Dinner and Back

The next night we went to dinner in town. I was going to try FSD, and I enabled it coming down our private, gravel road. This is a place where Autopilot hasn’t worked, so it was neat to see it recognize the road without lines. It also stopped at the end of the road, where there is a sign, however FSD it slow to stop and get going and my wife wanted me to disable it as we were late.

On the way home from Casa Mariachi, I navigated to home and then activated FSD. The beginning route is shown below, and I was impressed how well this worked. The car navigated out of the parking lot, turned right, stopped at the corner leaving the shopping center parking lot (where blue goes to orange), but not too long. It then managed the stoplight at the main road, got into the left lane, and turned left at the light. (red area).

From there, it was impressive how FSD worked in a few ways. First, it accelerated quickly from stops, which is something Autopilot has struggled with. AP often starts quickly from 0-20mph, but then creeps up slowly. For human drivers, it seems like a tentative teenager letting the cars get too far ahead. FSD was much more aggressive, which was nice.

Second, the AP has a nag about every 20-30s, but on this route home, I went a minute or two before the steering wheel nag asked me to touch the wheel. I purposely fully wasn’t holding the wheel, but I was ready to take over. My wife and son were also impressed with how things worked.

The car managed to get into our neighborhood, which has wide asphalt roads, but no lines. AP doesn’t work there, but FSD handled things. No traffic to pass, but the car stayed on the right side and seemed to navigate well.

Turning onto my road, it’s gravel with no lines. Gravel bordered by grass, but FSD worked well. Slow, about 12-15mph down the road, but this was an experiment so we let it go.

The nav for my house stops just before our driveway, and the car slowed and paused, but them found our driveway and went down it. It navigated down halfway before I disengeged, as our dogs were running up the driveway. The driveway is about 1/4 mile, so I was impressed it handled half of that.

Gym Trip and a Three Way Stop

I navigated to the gym another day, and the car did well leaving the house, getting to town, including a left turn across a semi-busy two lane road and a few stoplights/stop signs.

As I get close to the gym, there is a 3 way intersection with stop signs. It’s busy, so it works by all three directions taking turns. In this case, I’m on the straight through section with a left turn. At this time, the order was: my lane, the cars across from me going straight or right, then the cars coming from the left turning left or right.

The Tesla worked in traffic as a few cars ahead of me went through, but after the car in front turned, the one ahead of me came straight and the Tesla started to turn, which would have cut off the car coming from the left side turning left. Not a great recognition of how traffic flows. I disengaged FSD and drove the other 2 miles to the gym.

That’s about all the testing I did, and I have a bunch of travel this month, but I’ll try to record a few other sessions.

map route home