Tesla Autopilot system is the most advanced driver-assist software available in any production car today. By combining cameras, ultrasonic sensors, and artificial intelligence software, Tesla’s autonomous technology provides the ability for drivers to operate their vehicles hands-free for extended periods of time.
Once updated, the new Enhanced Autopilot or “Full Self-Driving Capability” will allow Tesla vehicles to drive on the highway, change lanes, and even exit and re-enter a parking lot with no driver interaction.
However, until then we have compiled this ultimate guide to help you understand what it is, how it works, and its limitations. Read on…
What is Autopilot?
The word autopilot actually dates back to the early 20th century. The term was used to describe a system for controlling airplanes that were completely self-sufficient. It did not need a human pilot to monitor it. Autopilot has become a buzzword over the years, and it is used to describe any system that is meant to assist a driver without completely taking control of the vehicle.
Most modern cars are equipped with some level of autopilot functionality, such as cruise control or automatic braking. However, Tesla Autopilot is unique in a few ways. An autopilot is a form of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), but Tesla uses integrated software to create a more advanced system that is comparable to the technology used in airplanes and helicopters.
How does it work?
Tesla Autopilot system is made up of cameras, ultrasonic sensors, and artificial intelligence software. The system uses these tools to “see” the road, identify obstacles, and road signs and markers. Autopilot uses information from the ultrasonic sensors to detect nearby cars, and it reads road signs and markers with the cameras. This information is then uploaded to Tesla’s cloud servers and analyzed using a neural network. Tesla’s neural network uses artificial intelligence to identify patterns in the data collected by the Autopilot system. It is constantly learning, and as more data is added, the neural network becomes more accurate.
Limitations of Tesla’s Autopilot system
One of the biggest misconceptions about the Tesla Autopilot system is that it is completely hands-off. This is not true, and as a Tesla owner, you should be wary of anyone who says otherwise.
The Autopilot system is always on, but it only takes control of the vehicle at certain speeds and when certain conditions are met. While driving on the highway, the system will engage after a few seconds.
Once engaged, Autopilot will steer the vehicle, maintain a safe distance between you and the car in front of you, and change lanes when necessary. When driving on city streets, Autopilot will not engage.
However, the system will monitor conditions and automatically apply the brakes if it senses an imminent collision.
How to use Autopilot safely
The first thing to know is that Tesla’s Autopilot is not a fully autonomous system. While it can be used hands-free while driving on the highway, it is not designed to be used hands-free while driving in city streets.
When using Autopilot on the highway, keep your hands on the wheel. Tesla’s system will let you know if it needs your attention, and it will automatically disengage if you don’t respond. While Autopilot is engaged, you should be prepared to take control of the wheel if the system requests it.
In the end, Autopilot is a driver-assist system, which means that it is not a fully autonomous system that can drive your car for you. It is important to note that driving on the highway with Autopilot engaged is much safer than driving without it. However, it should not be used as a substitute for a fully autonomous system like Waymo or Uber. If you have questions about Autopilot, or you would like to schedule a test drive in a Tesla, contact us today.