21st July 2024

By Frank O. Clark, Ph.D.

Saturday I took supply of a listing Mannequin S with “{Hardware} Model 4.” I particularly needed {Hardware} V4. (The automobile is, ahem, “Extremely-red,” and nearly wants sun shades to gaze upon. 🙂 It was what they’d in stock with {Hardware} 4.) I additionally needed to make the most of Elon’s one-time supply to switch my FSD from the outdated automobile to the brand new one. Tesla has beforehand acknowledged that FSD stays with the automobile, not the human.

No Autopilot Even??

Instant observations:

The central display tilts. I undoubtedly like this!

That is my third Mannequin S, and there was undoubtedly significantly extra leg room on this one, one thing I’ve not seen talked about. I normally run the seat as excessive as potential and way back to potential. Not this time. (I’m 5’10,” not exceptionally tall.) I didn’t take a look at the boundaries. It is a way more comfy match, though it isn’t but clear to me what was modified.

Though I efficiently “transferred my FSD” to this automobile, and it exhibits on display, amazingly, whereas sitting within the automobile at Tesla Dedham, earlier than I drove off, and whereas driving:

  1. Adaptive Cruise management was not obtainable.
  2. Autosteer was not obtainable.
  3. Not one of the superior Autopilot options had been obtainable.
  4. Visitors Mild and Cease Signal Management (Beta) weren’t obtainable.
  5. FSD couldn’t be activated!

I believed this was a bit bizarre. I requested earlier than I left and was informed the “cameras needed to calibrate.” I’ve a number of ideas about this. One is that American tradition desires it NOW, and this isn’t going to play properly in Peoria. I additionally suspect that is non permanent. I broaden on this under, because it seems to me that there are attention-grabbing implications based mostly on what I simply skilled. [Editor’s notice: That is commonplace with any new Tesla. The cameras must “watch” a bit earlier than these driver-assist programs are in a position to work correctly. It was the identical with my model new 2019 Tesla Mannequin three once I acquired it Four years in the past.]

Summon Ye — What?

One other statement, there is no such thing as a Summon to be discovered. It has disappeared. I’ve been utilizing that since 2016, principally to heart the automobile higher in parking areas (keep in mind, I’m an outdated fossil). Once I seemed it up, evidently Summon has been disabled on vehicles with no ultrasound and imaginative and prescient programs solely, pending software program updates. [Editor’s notice: WHAT?!?!? I had not heard this, and it’s fairly wild. I’m curious to see how this evolves.]

You Can, However You Might Not (Switch & Use FSD)

I drove as much as a pal’s storage to get the requisite state inspection sticker (34 miles), and positive sufficient, FSD turned un-grayed out sufficient for me to learn what it was saying: “Full Self Driving (Beta). Full Self Driving (Beta) will likely be obtainable in an upcoming software program launch!!!!”

So, I used to be certainly in a position to switch my FSD from the outdated automobile to the brand new one. I’ve the best to make use of it. However I’ll not use it till the software program catches up. Argh! This confirms that there are some main adjustments in {Hardware} 4, past simply bettering the cameras and (I hope) including the SAR (see under) on the entrance. I don’t suppose it’s calibration restricted, as this factor is clearly calibrating itself domestically, so there should have been some actually main adjustments to the FSD software program stack for this {hardware}. I’m not comfortable about this in any respect — I used FSD continuously, warts and all. However I do know that is how Tesla does issues, and I’ll simply must be tremendous cautious till I get this again. I actually hope I don’t have to attend till subsequent yr, however I’ve a sneaking suspicion that this clear self-calibration that I’m seeing is simply step one within the rewrite of the FSD software program stack that’s described in additional element under, and I believe confirms what Ashok Elluswamy stated in his presentation under.

SAR What?

This {hardware} model is meant to have an Arbe Phoenix SAR (artificial aperture radar). Elon has acknowledged quite a few instances that the vision-only system is all we have to exceed human security, so why is that this not talked about, and who cares? (Observe: I’m not but satisfied it’s actually there, and I’m not going to drag the bumper off to see!) I think it isn’t talked about as a result of Elon has an enormous ego, clearly required to perform all that he has carried out, and prefers to not say something about it. An enormous ego just isn’t a destructive on this case in any respect. Why do I care? A 72 GHz SAR can see higher at evening, and additional in rain, fog, and snow, plain and easy. It will probably detect an individual in black garments in pitch black darkish. Whereas thermal infrared can try this too, the SAR may additionally detect a stray chunk of concrete in a like method! A SAR will make the entire self-driving expertise a lot safer than a human may ever be. You may examine it on the Arbe web site.

We have now been utilizing imaging methods like this in astrophysics for many years. It’s only due to miniaturization and mass manufacturing that decreased the dimensions and worth that makes such a widget potential for an vehicle. Observe that there are different SARs obtainable for vehicles, however this one is a really intelligent design with actually superior skills, and notice particularly that it’s programmable! This implies a future software program replace can change the way in which it really works. Assuming it’s actually there, that is going to make Tesla FSD safer than people in an enormous number of unhealthy climate circumstances and at evening.

Be Gone Ultrasound, We Hardly Knew Ye!

Once I was maneuvering the automobile round to again into my very tight storage, the automobile bleeped (like ultrasound used to do) once I was too shut, however now the close to proximity of all the periphery of the automobile is displayed all the way in which across the automobile, and nearer factors on that periphery are highlighted in purple. That is very neat!

Don’t let the textual content put you off. Already the indicated distance of shut proximity is excellent! The older ultrasound sensors displayed their particular areas. This has no gaps. That is fairly cool! No extra clean spots, and also you get an overview with coloration exhibiting proximity throughout the automobile, coloration adjustments indicating proximity distance, and bleeps of accelerating depth as you strategy what the automobile views as an obstruction at any given location. That is all software program, so this reduces manufacturing value. Ultrasound, oh ultrasound, thou shall not be missed!

The brand new cameras are fairly good. Take a look at this view of my tight storage as I backed in.

I’m additionally now seeing a notification when the curb is near the entrance bumper. That is very new, and I like this too. It’s not but clear if that is simply the pc calculating the gap to the curb or if there’s a digicam down low within the entrance truly detecting the curb. Whichever methodology is getting used, it’s fairly good! I like this one! This additionally seems to be altering and bettering in actual time — as in, each time I park the automobile.

“FSD” Implications

As quickly as I attain the purpose the place I’ll once more use FSD (I’ve been a beta person for a very long time, so it feels actually odd to not have it, nearly like driving bare), I’ll report on that and the way {Hardware} Four appears to be utilizing this and altering our expertise. Primarily based on my automobile instantly recognizing the asphalt–grass interface all by itself, which I discovered startling, and exhibiting proximity throughout the automobile, it appears to me like FSD might now be a solved downside. It solely awaits sufficient Dojo cupboards (and perhaps it doesn’t even want that to exceed us??) to succeed in the purpose the place it’s so significantly better than a human by way of security that it’s apparent to all — however then additionally has to dribble again right down to us and have bugs labored out. In comparison with the place we had been just some months in the past, these are enormous adjustments. Elon stated he was “the little boy who cried FSD,” however perhaps he actually was proper this time! He’s most likely already driving the next-generation Full Self Driving software program stack.

As yet another notice on this matter, within the outdated “FSD,” I additionally overrode the pc very often for lane decisions. Once I overrode it, the pc was proper 100% of the time and I used to be incorrect 100% of the time (embarrassing, however the signage was complicated to the attention — some Tesla had already figured this out, so the pc knew which was right). It simply didn’t deal with building zones safely, and sometimes missed indicators.


For the reason that “Visitors Mild and Cease Signal Management (Beta)” characteristic was additionally grayed out, I went out of my option to discover a cease signal and visitors gentle, and, “lo and behold,” this turned energetic, and I imply it turned energetic proper at that time limit! There’s a clear sample right here. I assume with slightly extra work in Fremont, sooner or later, we won’t must play Sherlock Holmes to get these items to perform. In the meantime, that is so superior in comparison with what we had been fed from Detroit for many years, that I’ll maintain my Sherlock hat on as needed, grin, and bear it.


I’ve in fact not examined the vary but, however I’m an outdated canine at Tesla vary. I’ve pushed a variety of miles in my earlier two Mannequin Ss, all up and down the East Coast, and lots of instances, and certainly one of my most memorable journeys from Georgia again to Massachusetts resulted in me driving as much as the Supercharger in Scranton, PA, with exactly eight miles remaining within the Mannequin S Plaid (and no, I used to be not going slowly, however I used to be watching and calculating every little thing in my head). I used to be by no means involved, as all it’s important to do is decelerate to increase vary. Wind resistance scales with the sq. of pace — fundamental physics. This automobile is rated at 405 miles of vary, which works out to 246.9 watt-hours per mile. Once I drove as much as get the state inspection sticker, I used to be not in an enormous hurry and solely drove 5 mph over the pace restrict (60 mph on this case), and it was raining some and many of the pavement was damp to moist, and all of us who drive these items know that moist pavement and wind cut back vary, however my spherical journey burn fee was 225 Wh/mile, which I believed was fairly spectacular, however actually not a finest case. (If you happen to pay actually shut consideration, this journey concerned a slight elevation distinction of 35 toes, and there was no wind, so it is a spherical journey common.)

That works out to about 444 miles of vary. That is with OEM Continental Procontact RX low-rolling-resistance tires. I’m a kind of individuals who normally exceed the EPA numbers, whether or not ICE or BEV, so take this with a bucket of salt, however beneath cheap circumstances, this automobile ought to simply get the 405 mile rated vary.


I did discover one different change. The ground pan beneath the hatchback space within the Plaid had a decreased quantity beneath the ground to accommodate the Plaid motors, as in comparison with my 2016 common Mannequin S. This “plain” Mannequin S has the identical decreased space beneath the ground because the Plaid, though I assume the motor is way smaller. This makes manufacturing sense, as you actually are not looking for two completely different ground pans for the S and S Plaid. It’s good to see Tesla constantly making manufacturing adjustments to cut back value, whereas the standard of the vehicles simply retains bettering.

Yoke & Flip Indicators

There was an choice to get a spherical steering wheel (which I declined — I like the yoke, took perhaps 20 seconds to adapt, and I’m a yoker for all times now), however having an actual flip sign lever possibility as a substitute of those nitwit, numbskull buttons I’d have jumped at in a heartbeat. I HATE HATE HATE (did I say hate?) the flip sign buttons! They’re horrible, horrible, almost ineffective, annoying, and worsening. Ugh. In my 65 odd years of driving, these items prompted me for the primary time to not give a flip sign a number of instances as a result of I couldn’t discover the (bleeped out) button whereas the yoke was not horizontal! I perceive Elon desires the pc to manage all of this, however generally I need to go someplace with out placing in an tackle, or to a location that solely has coordinates, no fastened avenue tackle — and the pc is, let’s consider, lower than advantageous in these circumstances.

Ultimate Notes

This laptop is meant to be redundant (two impartial CPUs, for fault tolerance), and about 4 instances sooner than what was within the Plaid, however I can’t but converse to that since Autopilot is a distant relative of FSD, and Autopilot efficiency proper now simply stinks in comparison with FSD in my 2021 Plaid (with ultrasound sensors).

Disclosure: I’ve owned inventory on this firm since 2018 and hope to by no means promote it.


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