The New York Times Spends a Full Day with Tesla’s FSD Beta in Florida

Photo: Chuck Cook

The New York Times published a story on Wednesday detailing its experience with Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) beta, after spending a full day with the self-driving software thanks to Chuck Cook, a well-known beta tester in Jacksonville, Florida.

The Times filmed the entire experience with its own cameras and Cook provided the journalists a taste of what beta testing FSD really is like, with journalists Cade Metz and Ian Clontz spending six hours riding in the self-driving Model Y.

“The experiences of beta testers like Mr. Cook are a window into the enormously ambitious and expensive bet that Tesla is making on self-driving technology. It and other companies are investing billions into researching and developing autonomous vehicles — taxis that can ferry us around town, trucks that will deliver our online orders and maybe even one day cars that will take our children to soccer practice,” said the NYT.

“Elon Musk and Tesla did not respond to requests to participate in this story. But Mr. Cook’s Model Y provides a glimpse of the future we are moving toward, which may prove to be safer, more reliable and less stressful — but is still years away from reality,” explains the Times.

The Times did praise Tesla and FSD beta based on its experience. “Tesla’s technology can work remarkably well. It changes lanes on its own, recognizes green lights, and is able to make ordinary turns against oncoming traffic.”

However, it also had some criticism as well, particularly on one drive to lunch, when Cook’s Model Y running FSD beta took a wrong turn into a motel parking look, resulting in a takeover.

“But every so often, it makes a mistake, forcing testers like Chuck to intervene,” said the Times.

“That moment shows that the car can only know what it is trained to know,” said Cook of the car’s decision to turn into the parking lot. “The world is a big place, and there are many corner cases that Tesla may not have trained it for.”

You can check out the full article here (paywalled). The current FSD beta v11 is set to roll out more in the next several weeks.

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