GreenTheOnly rides in a Tesla for almost 1,000km in ‘Elon Mode’. With nag disabled, experiences the future with driver monitoring

    Twitter user @GreenTheOnly is famous for providing insights into Tesla hardware and software outside of what is officially released to the public.

    In a recent Tweet, Green says he was able to enable something called ‘Elon mode’.

    So what is Elon Mode exactly? This relates to a setting in the vehicle that changes how the vehicle monitors for driver attentiveness. Typically Tesla owners experience something known as ‘the nag’ a visual alter that reminds the driver to pay attention where the driver needs to provide torque to the wheel to communicate to the system that they are indeed paying attention.

    A better technique to ensure drivers are paying attention is to use the internal camera to monitor the driver and ensure they aren’t looking at their phone or are distracted for long periods of time and are safely monitoring the vehicle. This driver monitoring is the future and is key to delivering hands-off driving.

    Other brands like Ford offer this hands-off, eyes-on driving (in limited locations) with their BlueCruise system. The big opportunity here is that Tesla ships their vehicle and ultimately their software to millions of cars across the world, so if Tesla can progress to this, it will have far-reaching benefits to Tesla drivers.

    ‘Elon Mode’ is effectively a change to the car’s driver monitoring system, switching from the steering wheel nag to driver monitoring via computer vision using the internal camera.

    We’ve known this was being worked on for some time, but clearly, Tesla is not yet comfortable with the driver monitoring ability to release it to the public.

    It is not clear how Green managed to enable ‘Elon Mode’, however, this statement suggests he was in a Tesla-owned vehicle, strange that he would be provided access to one, as these are typically only available for employees. Green is famous in the Tesla community so it’s likely he has some friends or contacts that work at the company.

    Impressions after nearly 600 miles on 11.4.3 with Elon mode (could not get a non-Tesla car to try in time).

    Green says he was able to test ‘Elon mode’ over nearly 600 miles or almost 1,000km of driving.

    Green’s experience was done using FSD version 11.4.3 of the software.

    Many contributing factors. I was not as late so I did not mind as much (still ended up 5 minutes late solely because of FSD foolishness). So I was more tolerant towards the constant flow of cars passing me on the right and merging in front of me.

    It also helped that I did not need to watch for the dreaded nag.

    After reflecting on his experience, Green shared his thoughts after driving (or riding) in the Tesla that used Computer Vision to monitor the driver.

    If the car did not need my attention – I’d just plan for late arrival as much as possible and don’t care of many of the current very annoying deficiencies.

    They are only this annoying because I actually have to watch the car and so I notice them, as they greatly diverge from my driving style. This also explains the barrage of people that claim the car works very good and they are happy – perhaps they like to drive slow, content with random lane changes and such.

    If I was just reading some book/website – I’d not notice.

    Every driving experience is going to be different, with dramatic variances in environmental factors like weather, routes, other traffic etc. I think it’s promising that Green is talking about reading books or browsing the week, suggesting that if he was allowed to do that, the mild non-human choices made during the drive virtually go unnoticed, meaning the ride was effectively done by the car, without issue and the monitoring was just that, monitoring, but sounds like its getting really good.

    Green goes on to say:

    the performance on divided highways with this in mind is decent. There’s a very nonzero chance the car can navigate any two points on highway (that don’t need charging) in between with zero input needed.

    Perhaps the biggest compliment to the current FSD progress is this:

    ..if they offer this as L3 where I don’t need to pay attention – it would be a solid deal at $15k.

    Green followed up by saying that the majority of problems were mostly due to the short-sightedness of the stack resulting in unnecessary lane changes. If you let the car do it freely, road rage from others would be a real concern.

    Green shared some video from the drive.

    Jason Cartwright
    Jason Cartwright
    Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

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