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According to Dirty Tesla, who has uploaded several videos of his Model 3 during the FSD Beta release period, the roundabout in question is located at State and Ellsworth in Ann Arbor, home of the University of Michigan. Upon further examination of the notoriously difficult roundabout, it is evident that the roadway has been challenging for many drivers, so a test with Tesla’s FSD Beta would be quite the hurdle to overcome.
The Ann Arbor Observer has labeled the roundabout as one that drivers hate in an article from September 2020. The local newspaper reported that the roundabout opened in 2013 and was installed with the hopes of decreasing the amount of time that the intersection takes to get through during rush hour. “It could take twenty minutes to get through the intersection” before the installation of the roundabout, Observer writer James Leonard said in the article. The intersection was responsible for 149 accidents in the five years prior to the roundabout’s first appearance. But the strategy to alleviate traffic time and avoid accidents didn’t go according to plan. In the five years after the roundabout’s establishment, 650 accidents had occurred.
“We as engineers thought we are getting such great results with single-lane roundabouts when it came to crash statistics and capacity analysis that we just thought automatically it was going to translate over into the multilane roundabouts,” Washtenaw County Road Commission engineer Mark McCulloch said about the roundabout. “That’s just not the case. None of us, me included or the design engineers, had any idea [that] people were going to have complications with it.”
The roundabout was evidently going to be a tall task for Tesla’s not-wide-released version of the Full Self-Driving suite. It is relatively new and timid, and it is still learning. CEO Elon Musk told FSD users that new features are expected to act slowly until the characteristic gains more confidence. Drivers are required to keep their hands on the wheel at all times and pay attention to their surroundings.
The FSD-equipped Model 3 certainly did a reasonable job. Dirty Tesla did intervene several times during the multiple trials through the roundabout. Still, it managed to go through the difficult stretch of roadway twice, with only minor adjustments being needed.
To watch Dirty Tesla’s Model 3 navigate through the roundabout located at State and Ellsworth, watch his video below.