Tesla Warns Full Self-Driving Cars 'May Do the Wrong Thing at the Worst Time' as Beta Rolls Out

Tesla struck a cautious tone during the beta release of Full Self-Driving (FSD) mode this week, warning it "may do the wrong thing at the worst time."

Echoing CEO Elon Musk's Twitter post yesterday which said FSD beta rollout would be "extremely slow and cautious," release notes posted online have shown the electric car giant is taking safety seriously, urging its drivers to pay attention to the road.

"[FSD] is in early limited access Beta and must be used with additional caution. It may do the wrong thing at the worst time, so you must always keep your hands on the wheel and pay extra attention to the road. Do not become complacent," they read.

Dashboard images and videos of the Tesla full self-driving mode being used surfaced on social media this week as the software update rolled out to a limited number of people who were approved for an early access program, Tesmanian reported.

Some of the more detailed glimpses of the system being used in action were posted by Twitter accounts Tesla Owners Silicon Valley and Brandonee916, showing how the car was mapping out surroundings in real-time, turning corners and giving way.

While Tesla vehicles already come with an "autopilot" driver assistance system providing drivers with traffic-aware cruise control and steering aid, the long-awaited FSD mode is designed to open up full self-driving navigation and autonomous capabilities.

According to Tesla, this will include navigating interchanges, autonomous lane changes, summoning, turn signals, auto parking, traffic stops and even auto-steering.

"The future is coming," Brandonee916 tweeted this week. "I hope Tesla makes progress to get this out to more people soon! Full intersection rendering on the DEV UI is incredible. I didn't have any interaction other than modifying my following distance."

Tesla Owners Silicon Valley posted a video showing their reactions on their first journey with the FSD features enabled, writing: "Elon Musk you mad man. You did it. Full self driving is here." A second clip showed the car autonomously turning a corner.

The account also shared an image of the full beta release notes.

They said: "When Full Self-Driving is enabled your vehicle will make lane changes off highway, select forks to follow your navigation route, navigate around other vehicles and objects, and make left and right turns. Use Full Self-Driving in limited Beta only if you will pay constant attention to the road, and be prepared to act immediately, especially around blind corners, crossing intersections, and in narrow driving situations."

When asked about a worldwide beta on Twitter yesterday, Musk said Tesla would have to complete tests and gain regulatory approvals, writing: "So many different traffic signs, rules & languages around world, not to mention driving on left side of road! Also, a long and challenging road lies ahead getting to high... reliability (way beyond human)."

In another post yesterday, the billionaire Tesla boss said that the price of FSD, both new or upgrade, would be increasing by roughly $2,000 from Monday, and reiterated that a wide release by the end of this year would be "dependent on proving high safety."

In a Q3 earnings call yesterday, Musk praised his Autopilot team and said the rollout will be slow and cautious "because the world is a complex and messy place."

He said: "We put it out there last night, and then we'll see how it goes and then probably release it to more people this weekend or early next week.

"Then just gradually step it up until we have, hopefully, a wide release by the end of this year. Of course, as the system collects more data and—it becomes more robust."

"So it's sort of like, how does Google as a search engine get better," Musk continued during the earnings call. "It's because everyone is programming it by asking questions all the time and clicking on particular links. So it's got this great feedback loop, and that makes it an extremely effective search engine. It's the same thing for autonomy."

Tesla car logo
The Tesla Motors Inc. logo is seen on the engine bonnet of a Model Tesla S 85 sedan electric car at a supercharging station on the A6 highway on January 21, 2014 near Bad Rappenau, Germany. The company struck a cautious tone during the beta release of Full Self-Driving mode this week, warning the system “may do the wrong thing at the worst time.” Thomas Niedermueller/Getty