(Pocket-lint) - Tesla vehicles have some self-driving or autonomous capabilities through a bundle of features, called Autopilot, which should only be used with a fully attentive driver. If you want to get Autopilot for your Tesla vehicle or want to learn more, including how it works, bookmark this guide.
What is Tesla Autopilot?
Autopilot is an optional driver assistance system for Tesla vehicles that you must purchase separately. It's made up of premium safety and convenience features. You can easily buy Autopilot as one of two packages - Autopilot or Full self-driving capability - purchasable directly through your Tesla Account.
Features include the ability for your Tesla vehicle to steer, accelerate, and brake - all autonomously and automatically - within its lane. Currently, Autopilot requires driver supervision and does not make your vehicle "fully" autonomous. However, as Autopilot's self-driving features will evolve over time, Tesla said your vehicle can be continuously upgraded to newer versions of Autopilot through over-the-air software updates.
Which vehicles have Autopilot?
Since 2016, all new Tesla vehicles come standard with the hardware required to enable Autopilot, including eight 360-degree cameras, 12 ultrasonic sensors, forward-facing radar, vision processing tools, an onboard computer, and more. This system can see in every direction, simultaneously, and it ultimately powers Tesla's self-driving capabilities. (Vehicles built between September 2014 and October 2016 only have one camera and older radar and ultrasonic sensors.)
As we said earlier, you have to purchase one of Tesla's two Autopilot packages in order to actually leverage this hardware and use Autopilot in your vehicle. You can check your vehicle's configuration from the touchscreen: Select Controls > Software >Confirm Autopilot computer type > Press Additional Vehicle Information.
How much is Autopilot?
You can purchase Autopilot either before you buy your Tesla vehicle or after it’s been delivered. Available packages and their prices are as follows:
- Price: $2,000 in the US
Full self-driving capability
- Price: $10,000 in the US
We will update this guide with UK pricing shortly.
Which to get: Autopilot or FSD?
Here are the main features for each of the two Autopilot packages you can purchase for your Tesla vehicle:
- Traffic-Aware Cruise Control: Matches the speed of your Tesla vehicle to traffic.
- Autosteer: Assists in steering within a lane, and uses traffic-aware cruise control.
Full self-driving capability
- Navigate on Autopilot (beta): Actively guides your Tesla vehicle from a highway’s on-ramp to off-ramp, including suggesting lane changes, navigating interchanges, automatically engaging the turn signal, and taking the exit.
- Auto Lane Change: Assists in moving to an adjacent lane on the highway when Autosteer is engaged.
- Autopark: Helps automatically parallel or perpendicular park your Tesla vehicle, with a single touch.
- Summon: Moves your Tesla vehicle in and out of a tight space using the app or key.
- Smart Summon: Your Tesla vehicle will navigate more complex environments and parking spaces, maneuvering around objects to find you in a parking lot.
- Traffic and Stop Sign Control (Beta): Identifies stop signs and traffic lights and slows your Tesla vehicle to a stop on approach, with your active supervision.
How do you buy Tesla Autopilot?
You can purchase Autopilot at any time through your Tesla Account, and then the Autopilot software required will be added to your car.
How do you operate Autopilot?
We recommend you read your vehicle's owner manual for detailed information. But we've outline how to turn on some of Autopilot's core feature below.
Many Autopilot features, like Autosteer, Navigate on Autopilot, and Summon, are disabled by default. To enable them, you must go to the Autopilot Controls menu within the Settings tab. You will need to agree to “keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times” and to always “maintain control and responsibility".
Traffic-Aware Cruise Control
To use Traffic-Aware Cruise Control in Model S and Model X, pull down once on the cruise control stalk on the left of the steering column. In Model 3 and Model Y, pull down once on the gear selector stalk on the right of the column.
To use Autosteer in Model S and Model X, pull toward you twice on the cruise control stalk on the steering column. In Model 3 and Model Y, pull down twice on the gear selector stalk on the right of the steering column.
Note: A steering wheel icon will appear on your display when Autosteer is available. A blue steering wheel icon will appear when it is engaged.
Navigate on Autopilot
To start using this feature, you must first enable Autosteer (Controls > Autopilot > Autosteer) and then enable the Navigate on Autopilot feature. Camera calibration will be required and the latest version of Navigation maps must be downloaded via Wi-Fi. For each route where Navigate on Autopilot is available, you can press the Navigate on Autopilot button in your Navigation Turn List to activate it. (You can also activate Navigate on Autopilot at any time.)
On Model 3 and Model Y, Navigate on Autopilot can be used on most highways by moving the gear lever twice downward. On Model S and Model X, Navigate on Autopilot can be engaged on most highways by pulling the cruise stalk toward you twice.
Auto Lane Change
To initiate an automated lane change, you must enable Auto Lane Changes through the Autopilot Controls menu within the Settings tab. Then, when the car is in Autosteer, a driver must turn on the turn signal.
If your car sees a parking spot, a grey P icon will appear on your instrument panel. Them, to use Autopark, press on the brake, shift the gear selector into Reverse, and keep your foot on the brake. Start Autopark will appear in blue text on your touchscreen. Press it to start the feature, then release the brake and steering wheel. Autopark will begin to control the vehicle. Once Autopark is complete, the car will let you know it is done and shift into Park.
You can override Autopark at any time by taking control of the steering wheel.
To use Summon, open the Tesla app.
Press Summon and then press the forward or reverse buttons. Model S and Model X owners can use Summon with their key fob by holding the center of the key fob for three seconds until the car’s hazard lights come on and then pressing either the frunk or trunk button on the fob to Summon forward and backward.
Smart Summon is designed to allow your car to drive to you or a location of your choosing. It is only intended for use in private parking lots and driveways.
To use Smart Summon, open your Tesla app, then tap Summon, and select the Smart Summon icon. To actually activate the feature, press and hold the Come to Me button. Or, tap the target icon, then set the target destination of your choice by adjusting the map, and press and hold the Go to Target button.
Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control (Beta)
Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control identifies stop signs and traffic lights and slows your car to a stop. To enable it, shift your car into Park and tap Controls > Autopilot > Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control (Beta). Then, engage Traffic-Aware Cruise Control or Autosteer.
Can you try Autopilot before purchasing?
Yes. You can experience Autopilot on a test drive at one of Tesla's store locations.
Want to know more?
We recommend checking out these Tesla webpages for more information: