Tesla Autopilot Now Adheres To Speed Limits On Roads

Tesla Autopilot


Updates to Tesla Autopilot software imposes speed limit restrictions on roads and non-divided highways

Updates to Tesla Autopilot software imposes speed limit restrictions on roads and non-divided highways

As Tesla continues to apply incremental updates to its Autopilot software, safety is the number one priority. Some owners may feel a sense of security knowing that Tesla is enhancing safety features, while others may be concerned that the car is too “controlling.” Nonetheless, the Tesla Autopilot software is now being updated to follow speed limit signs on roads and non-divided highways.

The new Tesla Autopilot speed limit "governor" doesn't apply to highways speeds, although the 90 mph top speed is still in place

The new Tesla Autopilot speed limit “governor” doesn’t apply to highways speeds, although the 90 mph top speed is still in place

Prior to the update, drivers were free to set the speed of the vehicles’ Traffic-Aware Cruise Control to exceed the speed limit by 5 mph. Now, except on major highways, the feature will not exceed the posted speed limit. When on the highway, drivers can set the speed at whatever they choose, however, the 90 mph Autopilot maximum speed is still in place.

Following the rules of the road is critical to the success and to regulators support of systems like Tesla’s Autopilot. It will be hard to argue that an autonomous driving system is safer than a human driver, if a human can set it to break the law.

People that are bothered by updates such as this, should keep in mind that breaking the law is no different whether or not the person is fully in control, and if Tesla doesn’t address issues like this now, regulators will likely enforce it down the road. It won’t come as a surprise if companies are forced to “govern” highway speeds as well, since most fatal crashes occur at said speeds.

The version 8.0 software update, that began back in September, also includes speed-based alerts related to holding the steering wheel. If the car is traveling under 45 mph, alerts occur every five minutes. At speeds in excess of 45 mph, the alerts will happen every minute, unless you are following another vehicle, in which case it will remind you after 3 minutes. Added to this, curved roads cause the alert system to automatically adjust to the 1-3 minute prompts, regardless of speed.

However apparently all is not perfect, as Jason Hughes points out on Twitter (@wko57 via Electrek) that a sudden deceleration can occur when the EV is  anticipating a change of zones (real or imagined), which could be unnecessarily dangerous – especially in high speed/close moving traffic, adding that the “Car shouldn’t unexpectedly decelerate in traffic on a freeway due to a restriction that shouldnt even exist”.

Source: Electrek

Categories: Tesla

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60 Comments on "Tesla Autopilot Now Adheres To Speed Limits On Roads"

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What a novel idea…not breaking the law. Kind of blows his whole sales model, so far.

The “Sales Model” was never based on “Breaking the Law”, so your comment is completely irrelevant.

Saving Human Lives was, so please Troll again…

“Saving” didn’t worked well though. Couple of fatalities most likely due to “saving lives” Autopilot and several others with unclear causes already well exceed IIHS driver fatality statistics for newer and bigger cars – which is at zero for many other comparable car models.

Stupid argument, and the very same one people used to use about why they refused to wear seat belts.

In both cases, you’re safer with it on than with it off.

Not at all. A seat belt is very different. The Autopilot will need to be safer than the driver it’s replacing and so far that has not been the case.

Seat belts were safer than without from the start. Autopilot is less safe than without it so far.

But since it’s just a matter of time until it’s as safe as the driver it’s replacing and will only grow safer and safer we should accept this reduced safety for a limited period of time. For the greater good.

Please site these interesting facts about cars with zero fatalities.

Go to IIHS.org or google the IIHS fatality study.

There is a long list of models that have zero fatality… Most of them are SUVs. Volvo XC90 is one of them.

I appreciate this comment isn’t 100% related but what the heck… What your accident stats *don’t* show is how many fatalities those SUVs caused whilst, at the same time, saving the lives of their occupants…

“The Audi A4, Kia Sorento, Lexus RX 350, Subaru Legacy, Toyota Highlander (hybrid) and Volvo XC90, among midsize vehicles, scored an overall death rate of zero for the years examined by the study.

The Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sequoia and Mercedes-Benz GL class were the large or very large vehicles that also had zero deaths during the study period.”

Forget it, I did the search job for you.

Elon Musk clearly made a decision, long ago, to promote his electric cars with the same bad boy/outlaw marketing used by BMW. It was brilliant marketing, promoting something that an EV could excel at, rapid acceleration. But claiming that irresponsible stuff like ludicrous mode, insane mode, etc. were about “saving lives” is pure nonsense.

You only have to look at every fourth piece on EV sites to see a Tesla racing against some exotic exotic muscle car. The weak minded who buy cars based on this stuff, aren’t buying them to go to the track. They are a risk to other road users.

Deal breaker, for this here law breaker! Thanks, but no thanks!

Country roads where I live they are all 80kph zones, and everyone goes 90 to 100kph…going 80 would keep the AP turned off, and make me think twice about paying for that feature.

In my area when you drive the limit everyone will whip around you and get really aggressive.


I predict this won’t last long. Customers will vote with their feet if Tesla won’t let them chose to make their own car exceed the speed limit by at least 5 MPH on any road.

Manufacturers of autonomous passenger cars are going to have to deal with a dilemma: What is safest for driving, and what customers actually want and will pay for, will often not be exactly the same things.

On a related subject, Wikipedia says “Iyad Rahwan, an associate professor in the MIT Media lab said, ‘Most people want to live in a world where cars will minimize causalities, but everyone wants their own car to protect them at all costs’.” (link below)

This is the same thing as the attitude of some people to driving SUVs: Far too many people (especially women… sorry to be politically incorrect, but it’s true) want to drive a big heavy car because it’s safer to be in one in case of an two-vehicle accident, even though that may make it far worse for anyone in the other car.


It’s not hard to guess the real reason why Tesla put in this limitation on non-divided highways. The data must have showed that AP was doing a poor job of keeping the car in its lane on windy roads, even when traveling at the speed limit, and Tesla wants to limit its liability. There must have been many close calls and a number actual accidents, some of which were reported on IEVs, like the Model X that crashed into a guard rail.

AutoPilot also performed poorly at slow speeds (30 mph) on a windy road when Kman tested it.

sven said:

“It’s not hard to guess the real reason why Tesla put in this limitation… Tesla wants to limit its liability.”

You know, if sven had left it at that, without adding his usual smear campaign against Tesla, it probably would have actually been true. 🙄

It’s probably exactly why they are doing it. If it can exceed the speed limit then ipso facto it is breaking the law, and possible claims could proceed from that.

FYI, I was just illustrating my point with examples that were on point. The truth can never be a smear campaign, despite what you and Hillary might think.

The truth in the KmanAuto video is that the Tesla Autopilot drove worse than the town drunk on pay day. It is what it is.


“Truth”? Dude, you can’t even recognize truth anymore.

It’s nonsense, completely illogical, to claim that Tesla decided to reduce the maximum speed available under AutoSteer because their cars are — according to your FUD — having trouble keeping centered in a traffic lane. Reducing speed by 5 MPH isn’t going to improve that.

As I understand it, tests have shown that semi-autonomous cars, including Tesla cars, actually do better than human drivers at maintaining an average position in the middle of the lane. It’s just that the lane-centering activity by semi-autonomous cars doesn’t “feel” the same as when people do it, which makes some people nervous.

Not, of course, that this will at all stop you from using the same B.S. argument in the future, now will it sven?

And how would a paid Tesla shill like yourself recognize the truth. Pu-Pu, you’ve lost all credibility and become nothing but a Tesla apologist. Are you trying to pump up Tesla’s stock price to salvage your long position in Tesla stock? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ FYI, not only would a 5 mph slower speed allow AutoPilot to better stay in its lane, but it would also give the driver more time to correct course and avoid an accident when AutoPilot goes astray. The slower the vehicle speed, the slower the data from the camera and radar goes to the Autopilot computer for it to determine the correct path and stay within its lane. Comprende amigo? Tesla says that Autopilot should be used only on a divided highway. But Tesla didn’t disable Autopilot when it’s driven on other types of roads (even though it easily could have), and instead limited Autopilot to 5 mph over the speed limit. Forward to the present time. Tesla doesn’t want to outright disable Autopilot on roads that aren’t divided highways, because of the backlash from owners and bad PR that would result. Instead, Tesla now puts a restriction on the AutoPilot (can’t exceed speed limit) that will cause… Read more »

sven said:

“…not only would a 5 mph slower speed allow AutoPilot to better stay in its lane…”

Good luck finding evidence for that. The only time Tesla Autopilot has trouble keeping a car in its lane is when the lane markings are either too faded to be clear, or when multiple lane markings — to put it in anthropomorphic terms — confuse the poor idiot computer “brain”. In either case, driving slower ain’t gonna help with that at all.

Put down the crack pipe Pu-Pu. In the KmanAuto video, the lane markings were very clear and there were absolutely no multiple lane markings, yet the Autopilot repeatedly caused the Tesla to veer to the left and cross over the double yellow line into oncoming traffic. Your lame excuse is BS.

Are you still pretending not to be short-selling Tesla stock, dude?

Regurgitating all that FUD B.S. you’ve swallowed doesn’t make it smell any better than it did the first time around.

So you can’t explain why Autopilot crossed clearly marked double yellow lines into oncoming traffic in the KmanAuto video, and instead resort to personally attacking me. Got it. You’re nothing but troll and a loser.

You don’t need to smear it, Mr. Pravda from Tesla party line department. It is already too greasy and dark in color.

This change is pretty annoying to me. I travel on rural straight mid-west roads where the speedlimit is often 55 MPH and letting autosteer/pilot go at +5 over (60) was pretty decent. Now however, I’ve found more tailgating , more passing, more annoyed looks as they whiz by. Not sure how this is safer. Certainly +5 is pretty common and is not a safety problem. After all Tesla lets you go 20 MPH or whatever on highways so they are not worried about the speed limit!

I don’t think this is all a legal exercise. Autopilot, while very usable, has a tough time on double-yellows. Of course, they don’t talk that up. What’s bothersome, that Steven Loveday falls right into, is the idea cars should be governed to observe the law. The car’s judgement being better than the human’s, at all times.

We could have had much more integrated use of speed governors decades ago, but OEMs never did it. Like I say, Tesla are scapegoating pro-safety in the name of their own inability. I am not going to call myself stupid because their system is, at times, incapable. Attitudes that cars should all be governed, because that’s what Tesla is effectively saying, will be met with the correct response.

pjwood1 said:

“Autopilot, while very usable, has a tough time on double-yellows.”

I presume you mean AutoSteer, not Autopilot.

Certainly there were early problems with Tesla cars controlled by AutoSteer crossing over double yellow lines in the middle of roads with two-way traffic… where AutoSteer was initially never intended to be used.

But hasn’t that problem been fixed? The most recent Autopilot/AutoSteer video from Tesla shows the car being driven on ordinary streets with two-way traffic (see link below), and lanes separated by double yellow lines, so it seems pretty clear that the usefulness of AutoSteer has been greatly improved.


PP, The benchmark test would be cresting a turning hill, where no camera system is going to work because there is almost nothing to see. AP may be getting marginally better at extrapolating forward from shorter painted lines, but most of the times it creeps off path have been under this scenario, in my experience.

“AutoSteer/AutoPilot” are semantics, to me. I’m not sure what there is to distinguish from them. Probably better to say AP, as the speed the car needs to calculate its path increases as it experiences fewer inputs immediately in front. Note, with a car in front the radar input helps, but with or without, human judgement is safer than AP/AS/ACC from Tesla, when you are traveling a double-yellow road. Capping the speed at which it even attempts to cope with more complex inputs is a result of system limits.

Again, I think the more scary thing is Tesla’s comfort at pointing to human failing. It makes them appear pro-regulation, and pro-automation to a level that ultimately heads toward taking away the liberty of driving.

If the car is so smart, then it should adapt to prevailing traffic conditions, not just blindly follow signs.

Even human drivers are capable of this.

How many human drivers actually do?

In moderate to heavy traffic, the vast majority of human drivers match the speed of their car to those around them, even if that means driving above the speed limit.

I would think that nearly everyone who is living in a modern society (everyone with access to an Internet-connected computer) already knows this, so I find your question odd.

Or below the speed limit.

For example, when it’s raining, or icy, or some other driver seems to be acting strangely or distracted, or clearly hasn’t noticed you.

How will auto-pilot ever successfully deal with those subtleties that a (good) human driver is able to easily.

You’re asking the wrong question. Computer programs don’t perceive the world on the human level; they have no conception of reality. Computers can’t build up anything like our mental picture of the world around us. I think it’s better to consider a self-driving program as similar to a software routine inside one of those video games involving driving a car. The software routine will use 3D vector analysis and collision avoidance, just as video games do. The software doesn’t need to try to predict what a human driver will do, or figure out what he’s thinking, or even decide if the other driver is drunk or not. The self-driving program just has to control the car in such a way that it operates within certain parameters (i.e., staying within a traffic lane, obeying traffic signs and stoplights, and driving at an appropriate speed) and doesn’t collide with anything. Other cars are moving obstacles that the self-driving car must avoid colliding with, but otherwise can be ignored. Don’t make the mistake of believing the mythology built up in movies and TV shows of computers being “smarter” than people. Computers are just very fast idiots. Complete idiots. Your other questions are more… Read more »

So the song is “I can drive 55?”

I’ve tried to keep the speed limits in Sweden as a little experiment. It’s like doing a bull run in Pamplona on crutches.

It makes the Autopilot totally unusable and unwanted here.

Does Autopilot use the speed limit signs to set this speed? Or is it based on a database?

If it’s based on a database – it could be wrong.

If it’s based on signs – sometimes, the speed limit isn’t posted, but implied by the location.

Tesla Autopilot/AutoSteer does notice and observe posted speed limit signs, as shown in a recent video. But Tesla also maintains a database of such conditions, based on GPS location.

So which data set any particular Tesla car’s Autopilot is using at any time, is probably not something that can be definitely answered except by those with access to Tesla’s data.

Speaking as a computer programmer, I would hope that autonomous cars would give priority to observing and (within a certain margin) following posted speed limits, because a temporary speed limit sign at a construction zone could pop up unexpectedly at any time.

This is already well covered by existing laws.

It is against the law to “impede the flow of traffic”, by going at a lower speed in a given lane than what the average rate of traffic speed is. Thus, going in the fast lane, even at the legal maximum, if you are blocking traffic is illegal. You are supposed to move right. People have got tickets for this, even if they are not exceeding the speed limit.

If you are on the freeway, even at the extreme right, and are blocking traffic, you can get a ticket. This isn’t going to happen unless you are going significantly slower than other traffic, for example 30 miles an hour on a 65 MPH freeway.

Thus the autopilot is going to need to be able to move right if there is traffic passing it (and the AP wants to stay within the speed limit).

“Thus, going in the fast lane, even at the legal maximum, if you are blocking traffic is illegal.”

That is absolutely not true in every State in the USA. State laws vary quite a bit on this, as shown here:


I believe I said that.

As i understand it in Germany the car manufacturers agreed with the government many years to make the speedometer read 7% more, i.e. if it reads 100 kmh you are actually only travelling at 93 kmh.
The reason being was that manufacturers could then use a cheaper not so accurate speedometer.
This was have a mild safety effect.

this is so funny – 80% of the complainers don’t own a tesla and never will.

15% complaining about the reduced speed will also complain if the car “almost” hits something – which is why it was slowing down in the first place.

100% of the complainers wouldn’t use autopilot if it was built the same as the BMW, Lexus or MB systems.
If Tesla want to get full regulatory approval be prepared for zero speeding. Live with it and quit whining.

EV4Life said:

“If Tesla want to get full regulatory approval be prepared for zero speeding. Live with it and quit whining.”

Hmmm, I don’t think it’s that clear-cut. I can certainly see that lawmakers would refuse approval for any autonomous car which could be set to drive above the posted, legal speed limit. On the other hand, I can also see the argument — in fact, you can already see the beginnings of it here — that refusing to allow that just means human drivers will shut off the system and drive their cars without it, which will eliminate the safety advantage for everyone on the road of having an autonomous vehicle. I think there’s a reasonable argument to be made that allowing driving 5 MPH over the speed limit — which is an extremely common habit for human drivers, in the USA if not elsewhere — would be safer than making the actual speed limit an absolute limit for self-driving cars.

Both sides of this issue seem to have reasonable arguments.

No thanks on the semi-autopilot.

I prefer a car without it.
I hope Tesla changes their minds on this “every car” they sell will have autopilot…….boooooooo

I believe the law includes a speed of prevailing traffic or some such language in Texas.

Autopilot was meant for divided roads only!

Didn’t that Chinese dude crashed using autopilot in a undivided road and people were bitching and moaning. So why are Tesla owners bitching and moaning about something that’s not even allowed.

Yup. It is a system that was primarily created to make long distance travel on divided highways safer and less exhausting. This is entirely inline with that reality.

“Didn’t that Chinese dude crashed using autopilot in a undivided road…”

It’s unknown whether or not the car was actually being controlled by Autopilot at the time of that fatal accident. The surviving relatives of the “Chinese dude” merely claimed that his car was being controlled by Autopilot, without any evidence, and they refused to allow Tesla to examine the vehicle to determine if it was or not. So that appears to be an attempt at legal extortion.

Of course, the anti-Tesla FUDsters happily took that up the unfounded claim and are now repeating it as if it’s true. FUDsters really like doing that; repeat a lie often enough, and people will believe it’s true!

“I demand that you remove these broken and ridiculous restrictions that unsafely limit speed erroneously. Now”

Just take it off autopilot and drive yourself if you don’t like what it is doing.

Just like autopilot in airplanes, as the pilot of your vehicle, you are always in charge and responsible for the safe operation of your vehicle. Just like autopilot in an airplane, if you believe the autopilot is making an unsafe decision, it is entirely your responsibility to take back full control at anytime it is operating unsafely.

The FAA guide for autopilot on aircrafts repeatedly states that it is your responsibility to step in anytime the autopilot is doing something the pilot (driver) feels is unsafe. If you aren’t ready to take control of the aircraft at any time, you should not be operating in autopilot. The same goes for driving a car with autopilot.

If you think autopilot is driving too slow, put down the damn pedal using your own damn foot.


Does that system know
– the difference between speed limit signs on vehicles and real signs? (currently not all system know the difference)
– signs that “limit” the speed limit, e.g. “only for x tons/trucks”, “only when wet”, “only from x to y hour”, “except x to y hour” (also with x>y), etc.?
– what to do if there’re different speed limits (had that a while ago in a construction side on the street – the workers made the speed limit signs wrong -> on boths sides (2 lanes in that direction) metall speed limit signs of 60km/h and directly in front of the right one a bright blinking trailor with a big electronic display showing 80km/h :-() or minimum speeds for each lane? (already saw that in Germany)

The problem is, that the EU wants to make such systems obligatory…


Long story short, people who are offended by their car being a “nanny” to them won’t buy this feature. People who don’t mind it, might.

IIRC, full A/P is an option that you have to pay extra for. If the parameters bother you, don’t buy it. Vote with your checkbook.

However, if it works within the law and you aren’t willing to drive within the limits of the law, that is not a Tesla A/P problem.

It won’t come as a surprise if companies are forced to “govern” highway speeds as well, since most fatal crashes occur at said speeds.

Nonsense. WHY produce vehicles that can exceed 250 mph if rules are set to limit them?
Surely logic says the rules be applied to the manufacturers??

In case that does not seem obvious, what I mean is that if a National speed limit is 70 mph, then it would be incumbent on the Gov’t to ban the sale or import of anything that can exceed that speed?

How many people drive 55 mph on freeways? maybe 1%

Oh many hypocrites here apparently. Speed kills …. You know?