Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) beta lets you choose from three driving “profiles” that determine how the car will respond to certain situations on the road. Each mode, “Chill”, “Medium” and “Assertive”, varies in terms of aggressiveness (and possibly safety).
The feature is included in the October 2021 Version 10.3 Update, which was withdrawn two days after it started rolling out due to a problem with left turns at traffic lights. Tesla released version 10.3.1 a day later, which still contains FSD profiles as shown in the release notes on No Tesla app. Based on these comments, FSD profiles are described as a way “to control behaviors such as roll stops, speed-based lane changes, headway distance and yellow light headway.”
A separate image posted to Twitter gives us a more detailed look at what this actually means. In the description under the “Assertive” option, Tesla notes that the vehicle will “have a shorter following distance” and “change lanes more often.” The vehicle will also “not leave through lanes” and “may perform rolling stops,” and it’s not entirely clear if this means cars won’t come to a complete stop at stop signs.
A YouTube video shows all three modes in action and towards the end it shows how Tesla describes each FSD profile. In “Chill” mode, the vehicle has “greater headway and performs fewer lane changes,” while “Average” mode means the car has “average headway and may perform rolling stops.” That said, it’s a little hard to tell the difference between these modes from this video alone, as it doesn’t test the vehicle’s behavior in heavy traffic or harsh weather conditions.
It’s hard to say how much these FSD profiles change the way the vehicle drives and whether they push the boundaries of safety, especially when traveling in the rain or snow. If the descriptions of these profiles are correct, it means that a Tesla in “Assertive” mode can track cars better, come to a stop more often and change lanes more often – behavior that is usually more dangerous, regardless of the car you are driving . in.
It’s important to note that Tesla’s FSD feature doesn’t make the car fully autonomous — a “complete function” version would ideally allow users to drive to and from work without intervention. Tesla’s controversial FSD beta was rolled out to more users last September based on a “Safety Score” system that prioritizes drivers for safer driving, something the National Transportation Safety Board warned about. In November, what appears to be the first-ever crash involving Tesla’s FSD mode, severely damaged a Tesla.