What is the Tesla Autopilot capable of today in France?

VIDEO // We hear everything and the opposite about Autopilot, which can end up being confusing. So what is it really possible to do today with Tesla’s autonomous driving system in France?

The autopilot has certainly been talked about lately, many wondering in particular about the possibilities offered by a closed beta launched across the Atlantic. So much so that we would almost forget what he is capable of even today in Europe and France.

During our testing of the Performance version of the Tesla Model 3 (tested with software version 2022.8.2 383989fadeea), we therefore suggest that you take stock of the current options in Autopilot. As a reminder, this is an SAE level 2 autonomous driving system. Teslas are therefore not 100% autonomous cars.

Autopilot can be activated on motorways and two tracks with central reservation and requires constant monitoring by the driver. The car also checks via a sensor that the latter is holding hands on the steering wheel. Unlike some competitors, it is therefore necessary to give an impulse in the direction from time to time, which the car may demand at irregular intervals.

The Teslas are equipped with cameras, eight in number, twelve ultrasonic sensors and a radar in the front bumper. If the latter is no longer used in the United States, it is still in France, for the time being at least.

A serial version already very effective

By default, all Teslas now include Autopilot in its base version, as well as an anthology of driving aids. One press of the drive lever activates the adaptive cruise control, while two presses activate the autopilot. The display then adapts.

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The system centers the car in the lane very efficiently and without jumping between the lines, as may be the case with other manufacturers. It is possible to adjust the distance between the car and the vehicle in front. However, one of the Autopilot’s shortcomings may prove to be restrictive. These are “phantom” brakes that make the car thump when it detects a suspected danger, even if it does not have to be. The car automatically adjusts its speed to limit signs and weather conditions. However, it may happen for him to miss a panel.

Improved autopilot: some bonus features

As an option, for € 3,800 to be added to the vehicle invoice or subsequently, the improved Autopilot offers, in addition to the basic features, navigation in Autopilot, which makes it possible to automatically take the right motorway exit. The automatic lane change makes it possible to overtake a slower vehicle automatically or almost, as it is still necessary to activate the turn signal yourself to validate the maneuver.

The other features of the enhanced Autopilot include parking with an automatic parking mode, a feature that allows you to move the car forwards or backwards from your smartphone to narrow spaces, or the famous Smart Summon feature. It is thus possible to call his car from his smartphone so that it joins its owner in a parking lot. Still, in Europe it requires to be less than about 5 m from your car, which makes this feature lose much of its interest.

The ability to drive completely autonomously, which (at the moment) is not one

Finally, for € 7,500, Tesla offers the option of fully autonomous driving. In the US, subscriptions are also available, but this is not yet the case with us. Contrary to what the name suggests, it is still not 100% autonomous driving. In Europe, for example, it adds to the aforementioned features recognition and response to traffic lights and stop signs and … that’s it. This feature allows the car to stop automatically at red lights and stop signs, which are still rare on autopilot-activated roads, and requires driver confirmation to drive away. The advantage of this option therefore does not derive from its current functionalities: Those customers who benefit from it will above all be able to benefit from the next advances in Autopilot. It is especially planned to make it usable in the city, as is already the case in the US via a closed beta.

If this last option does not bring much today, Tesla plans to raise the price as the autopilot’s capabilities expand. It may therefore still be interesting to acquire it today.

Even without this option, the autopilot is constantly evolving and improving with updates. The mentioned defects can therefore be corrected in the future, and the autopilot has already made significant progress.

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