Tesla’s ‘Full-Self Driving’ Software Doesn’t Understand New York City

Tesla’s ‘Full-Self Driving’ Software Doesn’t Understand New York City

Driving in Manhattan is not difficult. It’s slow, often frustrating, and can put you at risk of horse-related mishaps, but it’s not hard in the way that tourists often describe. There’s a flow to things, a set of rules that — while perhaps unique to the city — make sense with a bit of observation. Unless, of course, you’re a Tesla running FSD — then, you’ll never understand it.

We’ve seen FSD Teslas attempt to tackle Manhattan before, but this new video shows just how far the software has come in navigating our little corner of the automotive world — and how much further it needs to go. While FSD handled much of the city the way any out-of-towner would — reasonably enough, though too slow and leaving too much space — it seems to remain stumped by two things: Taxis and pedestrians.

Throughout the video, the Tesla seems unable to understand the motions of taxis. To a human, yellow cabs are easy enough to understand: You see the cab, then the people on the sidewalk, then the hazard lights, and you know to change lanes and go around. The Tesla, though, doesn’t seem able to put all of those pieces together quite right.

Crosswalks, too, are an issue for the car. New Yorkers are known to stand just off the sidewalk while waiting to cross streets, and the car appears to recognize that as folks actively crossing. It backs off, giving them space to move, which just messes up the flow for drivers and pedestrians alike. It doesn’t get it.

The FSD software’s issues in New York are more frustrating than dangerous, but it makes the car unpredictable out on the road. Still, better some hesitation near a crosswalk than driving straight into a moving train. Or a curb. Or a flood. I for one can’t wait for New York’s robotaxi invasion. Surely this will go well.

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