FSD … To many Tesla owners it’s much more than just “Full-Self-Driving” as it forms the basis for many future products. It will affect Tesla robotics as it will all of their trucks and cars by automating the actual driving process. So, it’s a big deal for Tesla, and Musk views it as essential for the future of almost everything.

I’ve been described as being a Tesla fanboy for my deep appreciation of everything Musk is doing. That’s really incorrect as I’m a geek, and proper geekdom demands honesty as you can’t improve/go forward by supporting bad tech/bad decisions or obvious poor judgement. Good “stuff” needs to be hailed and not-so-good stuff appropriately critiqued. I applaud Tesla cars because they are the best vehicles I’ve ever driven. That includes even Porsches and Ferraris. That’s why no more Mercedes or BMW’s for my family … they feel like antiques now. Time has passed them by like when the first cars chugged past horses and buggies on the nasty roads of yesteryear. So, in proper geek etiquette I am duty-bound to point out failures of tech when I experience it, regardless of the interminable hype heaped upon it. That’s why this particular tech failure is so glaring.

I had a Tesla loaner for about five days that had the vaunted FSD package, so I was EXCITED to try it, to say the least. This however, was not to be a pleasant experience … our very first use had the “Model 3” pull in front of another car … with NO exaggeration, we could very probably could have killed in that T-bone accident. The other car, fifty feet away, was in full view of the cameras … had the loaner not had the “acceleration boost” option activated, we definitely would have been in a serious accident. When I floored it, I couldn’t see any of the hood of the approaching car. We avoided a collision by inches at best. We had to stop and collect ourselves after that huge scare. But that was the only the first act in FSD hell. It consistently pulled in front of other cars in parallel lanes on the freeway … even at 75 mph and the other car only two of three car-lengths away. Phantom braking is still an unwanted passenger as well. The FSD literally freaked out at a busy intersection and hit the brakes and begin to weave about in the middle of a turn much to the surprise of the cars behind me. In one short drive, it failed FOUR times … this route was chosen specifically because of its uncomplicated routing! I went through two FSD updates and one of those was the biggest change in four years … Tesla went to lengths to explain the monumental alterations. Did it make any difference? Absolutely not … It still drove worse than a drunk. Now, here’s the truly baffling part … While FSD well and truly sucks, Tesla “Autopilot” is nothing less than amazing. It’s notable that the loaner, in Autopilot, worked perfect. And here’s the best part … Autopilot is included at no extra cost in all Teslas … FSD is currently $15,000.

One final observation … FSD car is relentless in nagging about anything the driver is doing. I looked down for a tissue for quite literally a second and FSD flashed a warning and threatened to turn off if I looked down again. So, I jammed that offending tissue in front the camera and it went crazy … it demanded to see me with the internal camera or it would turn off. You’d think that FSD would be pleased just to collect data from my driving, but it actually scolded me saying that three more times of me ignoring its’ demands and it would shut off FSD until my next drive.

So, to Mr. Musk I say:  FSD is still a dream. Keep trying, but it shouldn’t be a public-street rolling experiment when it can literally kill people. The failures I witnessed were shocking and unexpected … the Tesla haters in the press, who always grasp at anything they can to try to tear down Musk and Tesla, may actually be correct about FSD at this point. While I believe the personal potential usefulness of FSD in cars is limited, it could be a help for the elderly/disabled or as a distant-future automated taxi service. Although Elon thinks we would be excited to make a few bucks by our cars leaving our homes and driving around and picking up passengers, I can assure him, even if it could work perfectly, I fail to see how cleaning out trash/vomit/spills and interior damage will make us desire it. Leave it to a proper taxi service with vinyl seats that can hosed off.

Tesla made a poor decision in the acronym naming of this tech.

In my humble opinion, FSD could easily stand for Freakin’ Scary Decision.