Tesla Autopilot


#1

How well does Tesla Autopilot work? We’ve heard of the fatality with a driver using Autopilot, but does anyone have any first hand experience with it? How safe do you feel behind the wheel?

One of the arguments against semi autonomous vehicles is that whilst the driver is still required, because the vehicle almost drives itself it is hard for the driver to stay focused, alert and ready to take controls. Is that something that anyone has noticed with Autopilot or any other highly automated vehicles you have driven?

My understanding is that Autopilot is at level 3 out of 5 levels of autonomy. Is that still the case, and is there a plan (that Tesla we no doubt miss) for Autopilot to reach level 4 (full autonomy)?


#2

I’ve got a very old car that doesn’t even have cruise control but recently I hired a Mercedes SUV with auto lots-of-stuff. Dynamic cruise control, lane assist and a few other things, it made driving a lot easier and I did have to concentrate less but that all made the driving easier because I wasn’t so fatigued from having to pay attention so long. So I think each of these levels upgrading towards self driving cars is great, it just adds to safety. It’s true there was a death ‘caused’ by an autonomous vehicle recently but there have been thousands more caused by humans in that time so I wonder if a human was in the situation where that death occurred if the outcome would have been any different? Either way I’d feel much safer in my car if I knew a computer was controlling the vehicles around me, not some of the drivers I see on the roads!


#3

I hired a Tesla Model 3 recently whilst in the US. There seemed to be three modes of auto-pilot:

  1. Standard cruise control that you see on your everyday car.
  2. TACC - adaptive cruise control where you just steer and it will brake and accelerate by following the car in front. On the screen you see all the cars around you and the one it is currently following.
  3. EAP - enhanced auto-pilot where it will drive itself, although it is recommended that you keep your hands on or near the wheel. It basically sticks to the lane you are in, but if you hit the indicator it will change lanes for you. Basically drives itself watching out for other cars, though if you come to a light and there is nobody stopping in front you can get caught out.
    Moving on they think it will be more than 3 years before its approved for use without a human at the wheel.

#4

Thanks Phil, interesting to hear.

I’m surprised by this, would have thought it would be more advanced.