My 2018 Model 3 was manufactured about 8 months before Tesla started including the Full Self-Driving (FSD) computer in all its cars. Those of us who bought the FSD Capability option are entitled to an upgrade. My car came up on the list and Tesla called to schedule the installation. It will happen on February 3, and they say it will take most of the day. This should be interesting.
I’ve published a few “transition” articles here at Blog Or Die, and I’m going to chronicle this upgrade because it’s part of the transition from “not full self-driving” to “full self-driving.” I’ve found very little content on the Internet on the transition. There are YouTube videos about the upgrade process, but not about how the car behaves differently later. One video talks about the differences a little, bit it’s an old one (before Beach Buggy Racing 2) and the things he tested were totally uninteresting to me.
What I know now is that my current Hardware 2.5 computer is not capable of handling video from all 8 cameras; it only supports 4. The FSD computer is capable of adding two front-facing cameras and two side cameras also front facing. Cars with the FSD computer today have additional visualizations on the touch screen for traffic cones and traffic signals. I should start seeing those immediately. My first big question will be how well the FSD computer and the new neural net handle curvy two-lane highways, which represent half of my daily driving. Is it what I need to handle a few rough spots, or is that something I’ll have to wait for?
The upgrade has been finished. When I picked up the car the service person started to explain to me that the new computer had to be calibrated. I interrupted to say that I knew about that, that the car calibrated when it was new, and that it recalibrated when I replaced the windshield. He explained that this would take longer because more cameras had to be calibrated. I have read that the process requires driving 50-100 miles. Mine calibrated in about 10 miles.
I expected to be able to write a nice article on the new computer, but really there wasn’t much to say. Maybe auto lane change was a little better, but I’m not sure. It drives pretty much the same. I turned on visualization preview and the car displays stop signs, turn lanes, traffic lights, traffic cones and trash cans–lots of trash cans. I also got error messages: One said the left front fender camera was blocked, another said multiple cameras were blocked. Both went away. Tesla says not to worry, that the car is really OK. The message doesn’t necessarily mean that the camera is blocked, but that it could be blinded by bright lights.
One thing was different today. I drove a road segment that I drive frequently, and consistently, the car fails to make a sharp turn at one spot. Today the car made the turn, just running over the line into the oncoming lane a little bit, and then corrected. This bears further experimentation. Perhaps the car was just following the car in front this time.
So now, I’ll just have to wait for “feature complete” full self-driving and the rewrite of the neural network.