Watch Tesla Full Self-Driving beta 9 in action after Musk warns drivers to stay 'paranoid'

Video of the software's latest update in action shows it's very much still in beta.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
2 min read

This weekend, Tesla owners' long-awaited update to the "Full Self-Driving" system landed, referred to by the company as beta 9. In update speak, that's 2021.4.18.12 if you're keeping tabs, and it's supposed to iron out a lot of kinks from earlier versions of the FSD beta. In the meantime, FSD 9 also opens the beta door to many more Tesla owners who paid a lot of cash for the functions. How's it perform? It's a mixed bag, judging by video of the system in action.

Chuck Cook, who posts FSD updates on his YouTube channel, headed out at nearly 4 a.m. ET after his Model 3 downloaded the latest update this weekend to see what changed and what felt better with the new iteration of the software. Right away, he noticed smoother graphics that are easier on the eye compared to the old version, though many of the alerts telling drivers what FSD plans to do remain the same.

While Cook lets FSD do its thing on local streets, the system performs well overall, with only a couple of hesitancies. An unprotected right-hand turn takes a hot minute and the car treats a flashing yellow signal like a stop sign. The latter could certainly cause a problem if there were vehicles behind the Tesla.

However, Cook's latest two updates (the video at the top of this story) include the car attempting unprotected left-hand turns across a six-way divided highway. This is a tough maneuver for a human driver, so it presents a real challenge for FSD 9. And it flunks hard. Only the first time the Tesla attempts the left turn does it get to the median, and then the human driver needs to finish the job. Every other time is, honestly, a fail. Attempting the same maneuver in rush-hour traffic led the car to make a right-hand turn instead before it became stuck in what appears to be a loop pattern as it motored around the block multiple times.

With each update, it's important to remind any user the software comes with a warning that "it may do the wrong thing at the worst time." Those are Tesla's words, not mine. Tesla CEO Elon Musk also took to Twitter last week to tell those running FSD 9 this new beta "addresses most known issues, but there will be unknown issues." 

"Please be paranoid," Musk added, before affirming safety is the automaker's top priority with these releases. Tesla does not operate a public-relations department to field requests for comment.

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