Michael's Tesla Model S and Autopilot 0.5 Reveiw
We often hear about Tesla's Autopilot as the next technological achievement that will eventually provide full autonomy in our daily drive. But since we have to wait a little while before AP2.0 gathers the strength to do that, there is another version of Autopilot (lets call it AP0.5) that is really neglected as a tech marvel. No it is not some prototype vehicle that was accidentally sold to the public and got listed on eBay.
Every Tesla with either AP1.0 or AP2.0 hardware has it. Tesla calls it: Traffic Aware Cruise Control (TACC).
I recently took a trip from Atlanta, Georgia to Biltmore Estate in North Carolina and although Tesla's Nav was suggesting going through South Carolina and doing a Super Charge, I made a decision to cut through with the use my CHAdeMO adapter and save some miles.
The road required going through few Georgia Mountains and not on really divided highways. I am confident in certain aspects of AP's abilities, but my personal rule is not to engage it on non-divided highways. So instead of moving the AP stalk twice I did it once and thought I would be in a normal Active Cruise Control (or however else it is called) as I have had it on other cars. If there is a car in front of you, the vehicle slows down, if it there is space it vehicle accelerates to a desired speed. Well, I was wrong. TACC or AP0.5 is a very close cousin of what traditional AP can do. Here are the many factors that impressed me:
- The vehicle still continues to monitor lanes and if it sees a sharp curve in front, and lets say you are going 75, it will slow down the vehicle to ensure you are maintaining a safe speed. Once you come out of the turn, the vehicle returns back to a designated speed.
- You can actually tell it to follow the speed limit or as it is called: Speed Assist. First of all, you set in the Settings Menu lets say to 10 miles above speed limit. If you hold the stalk toward yourself for a few second after engaging TACC (actually it works on regular AP too), it will find the current speed limit and add your designated extra MPH to it. However, if there is a drop of speed limit lets say from 65 to 45 MPH, you will need to hold it again and the car will decrease the speed
- Should a vehicle in front stop at a red light, the TACC will reengage once the front vehicle beings moving without pressing additional buttons or accelerator pedal compared to other manufacturers.
I think TACC can be helpful in certain City situation when you want the vehicle to provide some assistance while you maintain full control of the steering.
This could be handy in some traffic situations or like in my cause, should you find yourself on a non-divided highway.
Bottom line: read the manual and enjoy your Tesla.