Tesla started rolling out FSD Beta v11.4.6 (2023.7.26) last weekend with very minimal release notes. But Elon Musk said that this release basically focuses on ‘unnecessary slowdowns’.
Due to its slow distribution, FSD Beta v11.4.6 reached late to beta testers, even the early ones. Tesla did not push the v11.4.6 update to the majority of non-employee beta testers, just to some select ones.
According to Tesla software tracking websites TeslaFi and TeslaScope, only 72 and 36 users have received the FSD Beta 11.4.6 (2023.26) update, respectively. That brings the total to only 108 known Tesla cars that have downloaded FSD Beta v11.4.6.
Tesla FSD Beta tester and YouTuber Chuck Cook discovered a new feature ‘Traffic Flow’ while testing the FSD Beta build 11.4.6. Tesla Autopilot was driving his Tesla Model 3 using FSD Beta v11.4.6 on the Interstate 95 highway in Florida when a message popped on the center display echoing “Maintaining speed for traffic flow”.
Tesla Autopilot kept the uniform speed of 69 mph for a while on a max speed limit zone of 60 mph. Autopilot did this on purpose to match the car’s speed with the rest of the traffic around the car.
Traffic Flow is an interesting feature as it helps maintain vehicle speed according to the majority of traffic around it. This helps increase road safety as driving slower in contrast to the rest of the traffic can cause an accident on a busy highway.
But it is possible that NHTSA raises questions about Tesla Autopilot breaking the speed limits. But it was actually trying to match speed with the rest of the cars on the road.
As we can observe in the screenshot above (taken from Chuck’s video), although Tesla Autopilot has detected the speed limit sign that says 60 Max, the vehicle is still driving at 69 mph. The screen shows the reason that the car is matching speed to the live traffic flow (circled in red).
“When it says ‘maintaining speed for traffic flow’, it effectively selects a new speed,” Chuck Cook said during the FSD Beta v11.4.6 test drive. “It doesn’t seem like it’s moderating that 69 at all now that it selected it”.
However, at a later stage in the recording Autopilot FSD Beta did decrease the traffic flow speed to 60 mph. So, the system actually moderates the speed but seems to have kept the 69 mph for a while.
Further, into the drive, Traffic Flow did activate at a 55 mph speed limit sign. This time though, FSD Beta kept driving at 59 mph for a while due to the traffic flow but later adjusted the speed to 55 mph. However, from here, it did not increase the speed of the vehicle since most of the traffic was going fairly above the speed limit, Chuck had to move up the scroll wheel this time to set the max speed to 65 mph (+10 mph above the posted speed limit on this portion of the highway).
Here are more of Chuck’s thoughts that he expressed during the review of the FSD Beta 11.4.6 Traffic Flow feature:
It’s actually unsafe to go that much slower than the traffic flow in some situations. So, traffic flow is a very very important part of any driver’s toolkit to maintain safety. It is almost impossible to merge into traffic if you’re not going the same speed as that traffic. You know you can’t be black and white about speed when interacting with other vehicles.
I am going to need to do some more but most of the speeds seem to be about preventing it from going too slow. I didn’t ever see it recognize it needed to speed up.
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