The long-awaited Full Self-Driving Beta v9 software update from Tesla has now arrived.
It had been a long time coming, but when Tesla CEO Elon Musk sent a firm date for the launch of the Full Self-Driving Beta v9, we knew it was close at hand.
Tesla FSD Beta v9, the latest software upgrade for Tesla’s ‘feature complete’ version of its self-driving software package, was released last night.
Tesla Vision, a computer vision system that solely uses optical imaging rather than signals from the radar sensor that was formerly an essential element of Tesla’s sensor suite, is now used in the latest version.

Musk has hailed the new upgrade as “mind-blowing” and a crucial step toward Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Beta v9 pack actually delivering a real fully autonomous vehicle.

Release Notes for the Tesla Full Self-Driving Beta v9

In the release notes, Tesla didn’t go into great depth regarding the enhancements to the driving system.

Instead, the carmaker focused on reiterating critical cautionary statements about the feature’s use:

“Full Self-Driving 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. 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 the left and right turn. 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.”

The release notes also offer some remarks on “driving visibility improvements,” or what Musk recently referred to as the “mind of the car” perspective.

In the Model S and Model X, which include an instrument cluster screen, Tesla wrote in the notes about the improved driving visualization:

“The driving visualization has been improved to better support Full Self-Driving capabilities. When Full Self-Driving is engaged, the instrument panel will display an expanded visualization to show additional surrounding information. The apps on the left and right side of the instrument panel will be temporarily dismissed and the driving speed, Autopilot availability, Autopilot set speed, and detected speed limit will move to the bottom of the instrument panel.”

On a Model S/X instrument panel, it appears like this:

Self-Driving Beta v9
Full Self-Driving Beta v9

The modification is less noticeable in Model 3 and Model Y automobiles, which lack an independent instrument panel and instead display the information mentioned above it on the middle monitor.

Meanwhile, all cars, including the Model 3 and Model Y, the actual depiction of the visuals has improved.

First Drives of the Tesla Full Self-Driving Beta v9

For the time being, the recent update is only being released to Tesla’s early access program. According to Tesla’s most recent information, the program includes roughly 2,000 Tesla owners, the bulk of whom are Tesla workers.

A few of them have even started sharing footage of their first drives with the updated software.

Here are a few examples:

From our humble perspective, the driving visualization appears to be a significant improvement. The lines are considerably crisper, the crossings are well-represented, and the object recognition appears to be accurate.

In terms of real driving behavior, the testers appear to be noticing some improvements, but the testing has so far been conducted primarily at night and in low-traffic areas.
In the coming days, we should see a lot more traffic and more complicated junction testing to assess how the system has progressed.
Tesla is also employing neural nets and machine learning algorithms to improve the Full Self-Driving Beta v9, and the speeding of the improvement rate is a key selling feature of this vision-only v9 upgrade.

What will be more fascinating to see in the following weeks as even more customers use it is how it develops.