Tesla Adds Back +5 Over Speed Limit For Model S, X Autopilot – (w/video)

8 months ago by Eric Loveday 9

Tesla Autopilot

Tesla Autopilot Capable Of Going 5 MPH Over Speed Limit, But Not 8 MPH As Shown In Image

Autopilot Engaged

Autopilot Engaged

Tesla is adding back the ability to go up to +5 over the speed limit for Autopilot on Model S and Model X.

A few weeks back, Tesla pushed through a software update that limited Autopilot to the speed limit on all roads except for divided highways. The move was thought to be made so that it’s vehicles would operate more safely under trickier Autopilot conditions.

Tesla owners immediately voiced their concerns and dislike, stressing that in a lot of situations it just made drive unsafe. (who can tolerate persons actually driving the exact speed limit in reality?).

Now, just a few weeks later and without explanation, Tesla has added back in the ability to exceed the speed limit by up to 5 mph while operating on Autopilot on roads and non-divided highways.

The 90 mph maximum highway Autopilot speed is still in place, but Tesla owners are once again able to speed (if they choose to do so) on all roads while operating on Autopilot.

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9 responses to "Tesla Adds Back +5 Over Speed Limit For Model S, X Autopilot – (w/video)"

  1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    I accurately predicted that Tesla would do exactly this. Not that it was any great feat of prognostication; it was obvious that Tesla’s customers would demand it.

    Doesn’t Elon know that it’s a Constitutionally guaranteed right for Americans to drive an average of 5 MPH above the legal speed limit on all roads? I’m sure that’s in the Bill of Rights somewhere. /snark

  2. Nix says:

    I don’t know about Tesls, but typically, the indicated speed on the dash is calibrated based on brand new tires with full tread at full pressure, and is calibrated to read slightly higher than the actual speed.

    In most cars, an indicated speed of +5 over the limit at highway speeds under real world conditions won’t even actually be +5 over the limit.

    Yet somehow, one of the Usual Suspects will somehow end up Concerned!! oh so Concerned!! about this anyways.

    1. TM says:

      My other cars usually register 3% faster than handheld gps speed numbers. The model S was pretty much right on, <0.5% as far as I could tell.

      Not sure of other cars.

    2. Martin Winlow says:

      And this is precisely why (in the UK) the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) decreed, many years ago, that motorists should not be prosecuted unless they were exceeding the posted limit by more than the limit + 10% of the limit + 2 miles per hour. Perhaps the police in the US (and other places) follow this model.

      But this is why I have been lobbying Tesla to give us a proportional offset to the ‘Relative’ Speed Assist setting. Having the existing fixed offset at 7 mph for a 70 mph limit is fine; having the same in a 30 mph may get you a ticket.

      Unfortunately, (or not, depending on your POV) the Tesla, like many modern vehicles, uses GPS (amongst other things) to judge its speed and so, as TM notes, its ‘speedo’ is generally very accurate.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Maybe it’s different where you live but, I can tell you that in Kansas City I’ve seen reports that driving 77 MPH in a 70 MPH zone is precisely the speed that will get you ticketed by police on traffic patrol and/or the Missouri Highway Patrol.

        I’ve never before heard this idea that police will give you more “leeway” in higher speed limit areas. That sounds like the sort of rationalization that all too many people use to justify speeding.

  3. Acevolt says:

    I thought that Autopilot should only be used on highways, it should not even engage in these situations.

  4. Jason says:

    In modern cars speed should be calculated by GPS rather than tyres, which should then be a more true and accurate result.
    In Australia we have a campaign to “wipe off 5”, so basically promoting doing 5km below the speed limit. Suburban driving can be slightly over the speed limit, but most people drive to the speed limit. It is good to know the Tesla can be programmed for this exactly.

  5. guyinacar says:

    Actually, this is real. It’s easy to Google. Americans really do drive 10% over the posted speed limit most places, and there’s a reason. The Federal Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) specifies that “traffic control devices” (esp. speed limit signage) will be at the next 5mph mark over the 85th percentile speed of “free-flowing traffic.” In short: speed limits in the US are generally intuitive. Federal law trumps state/local law every time, though I’ll ignore the discussion about the 10th Amendment. In other words, you really are *LIKELY* to be ticketed by an actual cop at 10% over the speed limit, and you are *UNLIKELY* to be ticketed by an actual cop for just slightly exceeding the posted limit. If you get a ticket at 56mph in a 55, it’s just a signal to the bench that you were an a**hole to the cop when you got pulled over (for example, you uttered the phrase “MUTCD” to a cop standing in the rain.” LOL. 😉 Traffic cameras are a whole different story.

    Canadians obviously have different laws (and are on metric). But they’re not known for driving slower than their southern neighbors.

    So by making Teslas limp along at the nominal speed limit, Elon Musk & Co. made it very likely that Teslas would be consistently rear-ended in North America by human drivers doing what they’ve been doing at least for the past 50 years. Somebody from Tesla Legal probably explained the insurance risk to Tesla Engineering. I’d guess the MUTCD guidance was taken into account, so they bumped it up by 5%. That was the right move. It’s how people really drive.

    @Jason, you’re saying that Australian signs are literal limits. In the US, they’re not. I think you’d find that people drive about the same, regardless.

    BTW, the whole point of the MUTCD is that you can pretty much drive sensibly, and not be speeding. You don’t have to constantly look at the signs, and then look at your speedometer, and keep doing the math in your head over and over. If you just roll along calmly in traffic, taking note of traffic conditions, curves, schools, and big yellow cautionary signs, then you’re probably not speeding. Re: those classic 1950s-era “speed traps” – think old-school motorcycle cop hiding behind the billboard in a sudden 15mph zone – it makes those obsolete. The “speed-trap” zone itself is (usually) illegal.