People often get confused between Autopilot and FSD. What is and isn’t included in the car.
There is a distinction to be made between (Basic) Autopilot and FSD. Autopilot is a system that is installed on every modern Tesla and comes standard on all Teslas with no extra cost. You can buy the Full Self-Driving (Autopilot) capability as a software upgrade, during or after purchase.
Check out the rest of this article for any questions you might have. I know, it can be somewhat confusing! Hope this helps.
Comparing Tesla Autopilot Features
Although all new Teslas are equipped with autopilot capabilities, not every Tesla is equipped with autopilot. Below is a table of Teslas that have autopilot technology.
|Type Of Car||Autopilot Capabilities||Further Information|
|Tesla Model 3||Yes||Basic Autopilot is standard in all newly sold Tesla Model 3 vehicles. Upgrades are available, but Model 3 cars now use camera systems, not radar.|
|Tesla Model S||Yes||Basic Autopilot is standard in all newly sold Tesla Model S vehicles. Upgrades are available, but they’re not necessarily included in the old Model 3 cars|
|Tesla Model X||Yes||Basic Autopilot is standard in all newly sold Tesla Model X vehicles. |
Upgrades are available, but some Model X cars need to be updated to include autopilot as seen in this YouTube video:
|Tesla Model Y||Yes||Basic Autopilot is standard in all Tesla Model Y vehicles. Upgrades are available, but both technology and hardware updates are needed.|
|All Other Tesla Models||No||Autopilot can only be added to vehicles still currently in production. Cars not currently manufactured by Tesla cannot be upgraded to include autopilot.|
Did You Know: Creating Autopilot Took Only a Few Hundred People
You may have heard that Autopilot came out sometime around 2014. But did you know that only around 150 people worked on Tesla’s flagship feature? According to Elon Musk himself, 50 people worked on the software, while 100 people worked on the hardware.
Tesla Autopilot Features Explained
The term “autopilot” doesn’t necessarily mean a car is entirely self-driving. While Tesla does have a self-driving feature, Tesla Autopilot also has features to help you drive where you’re still completely in control of the vehicle.
Let’s dive a little bit deeper into what each of the Tesla Autopilot features are.
Adaptive Cruise Control
Tesla’s adaptive cruise control is a relatively new technology that allows cars to maintain a speed not only based on the speed limit but also based on the speed of other cars.
With normal cruise control, you decide the speed you want to go and stay at that speed until you break. Adaptive cruise control allows you to set the distance between your car and the car in front of you, and maintain that distance as the other vehicle changes speed.
Fun Fact: The Power of Tesla’s FSD Hardware
Considering how critical the Autopilot feature is to Tesla’s vehicles, it’s no surprise that the company uses extraordinarily powerful AI technology to run its cars. If you believe one tweet by user Model3Owners, their AI chip is 150 million times more powerful than the one used on the Apollo 11. (Yes, that Apollo 11.)
Another feature Tesla has nearly perfected with their Autopilot is the automatic emergency braking. Teslas are installed with either a radar or camera that allows the car to sense objects in front of it.
Once the camera or radar detects the object, it will engage the brake, often before the driver does. Emergency braking makes the car much safer and is beginning to be used by other companies.
I wrote a related article about this topic called: “Tesla’s Enhanced Autopilot (EAP) vs. Full Self Driving (FSD)“. This will give you some additional context.
Blind Spot Monitoring
Blind Spot Monitoring, now a common feature in most cars, uses radar or camera technology (as well as the shape of the car) to identify where blind spots are and use either lights or a camera to alert the driver when a car is in the blind spot.
It also shows the blind spot on a monitor near the center console.
Statistic: Tesla Autopilot Crash Report Q4 2021
In the fourth quarter of 2021, Tesla reported one accident per 4.31 million miles (6.93 km) driven when their Autopilot is turned on, as opposed to one accident per 1.59 million miles (2.56 km) driven without Autopilot and its accompanying safety features.
Lane Keeping Assistance
Lane Keeping Assistance is a newer technology that uses radars and information on the size of the car to identify when a car is drifting outside of the lane and moves the steering system so the car stays within the lane.
While some drivers who tend to hug the curves find this assistance annoying, lane-keeping assistance helps to reduce accidents caused by drowsy driving and makes the car much safer, especially when a driver is struggling to stay in control of the vehicle.
Tesla AP1 vs AP2 – Which is Actually Better? Check it out in this article that I wrote.
If you ever get thrown out of Autopilot you don’t have to be stuck there and not be able to use it again on your current trip. You can simply park your Tesla somewhere safe, put it in Park, press the Lock icon, then Drive, and then you can go again. Autopilot will automatically be available again. All newer Teslas with Vision-Only Autopilot and owners in the FSD Beta with Vision-Only have a 90mph cap on Autopilot. So be aware to stick to those speed limits so you don’t get thrown out of AP.Check out all my Tesla Pro Tips
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Do Some Teslas Have Autopilot While Others Don’t?
Older models don’t have autopilot and can’t be upgraded. All four Tesla models currently manufactured can be updated to include autopilot.
What is the difference between Autopilot and FSD?
Autopilot comes with no extra costs. FSD costs $12 000. Autopilot does not have Navigate On Autopilot, Autopark, Summon, or Auto Lane Change. Both have Traffic-Aware Cruise Control and Autosteer.
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