The Tail of the Dragon is one of the most famous roads in the United States. Its 11 miles are home to 318 tight, twisty, blind corners that make it a thrill for drivers and motorcyclists alike — but an incredible risk for the unprepared. So, where on that spectrum does Tesla’s FSD or what we here at Jalopnik refer to as Tesla’s Level 2 driver-assist system fall? YouTuber CGP Grey risked his own skin to find out.
CGP Grey is known for obsessively researched, incredibly detailed explanatory videos that discuss topics like machine learning, politics, and hexagons. For his most recent video, however, Grey abandoned the safety of animation for a dip into the real world, testing his dad’s Tesla Model 3 on the Tail of the Dragon and filming the entire adventure. Watch the video here:
For the particularly interested (or particularly bored), Grey also posted a full, uncut video of the drive.
The Tesla, to its credit, managed the entire route without a single disengagement. It slowed to about half the speed limit for many corners, and stopped to pose for photos on the return trip, but the car didn’t require human intervention for a single one of those 318 corners.
Impressive though that achievement is, however, it also doesn’t say much about the driver-assist system capabilities broadly. This Tail of the Dragon drive was a fairly ideal situation for Tesla’s level two system: low traffic, clear roads, no obstructions, and a well-maintained road surface with crisp painted lines. The car’s computer never had to deal with pedestrian crossings, blinding light, crossing traffic, or any of the more “edge” cases a future autonomous vehicle would need to handle.
While CGP Grey’s commitment to knowledge in the face of unsafe situations is admirable, the resulting video isn’t much of a data point for or against the Tesla’s system. Had the drive been attempted during a time of busy traffic on Deals Gap, with other cars and motorcycles behaving unpredictably, the decision the car made would have been incredibly interesting to see. With this clear, open road, however, we haven’t learned much about the system.