Your Tesla could drive like a jerk
Tesla's latest assisted-driving software lets car owners decide how aggressively they want their car to behave in traffic — even to the point of bending rules.
What's happening: The latest release of Tesla's "Full Self-Driving" (FSD) beta software lets owners choose among three driving profiles — Chill, Average or Assertive — that dictate how the car will behave in different scenarios, The Verge reports.
Why it matters: Assertive Teslas are programmed to allow rolling stops, follow other cars more closely and swap lanes more frequently — behaviors that tend to be more dangerous no matter who's driving.
- The vehicle will also "not exit passing lanes" — meaning it'll just cruise in the left lane even though that's prohibited on most highways.
Critics say it's another example of Tesla's "irresponsible" approach to automated driving.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating a series of crashes involving Tesla's Autopilot feature.
- In December, Tesla agreed to modify its cars' software to prevent drivers from playing video games on the dashboard screen while the vehicle is in motion, after a New York Times report prompted a federal safety investigation.
- Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.
The big picture: Drivers have different personalities, and automated driving systems do too.
- All self-driving technology companies are wrestling with how to make their cars blend into local traffic patterns, without being overly cautious or aggressive.
- Argo AI, for instance, aims to perfect what it calls "naturalistic driving" — the combination of safe, defensive and "socially appropriate driving."
- Tesla's range of driver profiles appears to offer a choice of what's socially appropriate.
The bottom line: Despite its name, Tesla's FSD system is not fully autonomous, and Teslas cannot drive themselves. Drivers need to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road — whether they're feeling chill or assertive.