Tesla Model S Autopilot In Action – Video


Model S With Autopilot

Model S With Autopilot

A video has surfaced on YouTube (via Steven Xu) that shows a Tesla Model S equipped with Autopilot (Firmware 7.0).

The features seen in the video include automatic lane keeping, traffic-aware cruise control and automatic lane changing.

Video description:

“Tesla v7 autopilot running on the road.”

Later today, we’ll hear from Tesla Motors (via conference call) exactly what will be included with Firmware 7.0, which moves to widespread release starting tomorrow.

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19 Comments on "Tesla Model S Autopilot In Action – Video"

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What’s exactly new here that other brands in the same price class don’t offer already?

Also, all Model S buyers before September 2014 won’t get this and can’t upgrade, right?

So which other brands offering this do offer a retrofit for older models?

Please list one available model that offers this autopilot feature. Lane departure warning and lane keeping assistance are NOT the same as what you are seeing here. Those systems issue warnings and make corrections. They do not steer the car persistently and make lane changes on request. For example, according to the Mercedes website, “Active Lane Keeping Assist can detect if you’re straying from your lane. The system can warn you by vibrating the steering wheel, and then, if necessary, it can apply the brakes to help bring you safely back into your lane.”.

Not the same thing!

tftf asked:

“What’s exactly new here that other brands in the same price class don’t offer already?”

Do any other car models offer automated lane-changing ability, with just a touch on a lever?

Mind you, I don’t think that’s really all that wonderful, since (so far as I know) you must still manually check for any car approaching from the rear/side before you tell the car to change lanes. But you asked, and I think that is Something New.

I’m also not sure that the lane-keeping ability from other car makers works as well as this. I remember reading a complaint from one person which said it worked so poorly on his car that he shut it off. Of course, one anecdote is a long way from statistical proof.

We need to find out a lot more about what driver assist features are available in other cars, and how well they work, before we render judgement on how Tesla’s “Autopilot” compares. No doubt that will be one focus of car reviews of the new Model X.

BWM and others have similar tech in their new models…

Active cruise control with stop & go function
Front crossing traffic warning
Traffic jam assistant (paces the car in front at up to 37 mph (60 kph) and also maintains the correct lane)
Active lane keeping assistant (LDW warns when you drive, LKA keeps you in lane automatically)
Side collision protection (warnings during lane change, OK signal when it’s safe)
Speed limit obedience (our term, not BMW’s). If you’re doing 70 with adaptive cruise and the car sees a 55 mph sign, you’re given the option to press a button and comply with the new limit. It’s not clear if you can cut a deal with the car to set the limit to five over the posted sign.


I still don’t see the big difference from a user’s perspective.

BMW also offers…

Self-parking from outside the car

Something that Tesla only announced for a future release.

And yes, most brands (also) offer no retrofits, but Tesla added this hardware overnight in September 2014 with no warnings to prior customers or reservation holders.

We will see how the resale values of pre-Sept 14 Tesla cars develop in the future.

Sorry, no. The BMW system will not allow you to continue without hands on the wheel. From BMW.com:

“Although the system is capable of driving the vehicle independently, the driver is still legally required to continue driving with both hands on the wheel. If the driver does not comply with this requirement, the system sensors will recognize this fact and warn the driver acoustically after a certain period of time. Then it will enter stand-by mode. This is also the case if the indicator is activated for changing lanes or if the system requirements are no longer met, e.g. the lane is too narrow.”

If there are legal requirements, isn’t Tesla bound by them too? Also, it’s probably different from country to country and even state to state.


tftf was correct in his original statement. Not much new here, except perhaps the lane change feature. Looks like the regulators hobbled all of these systems equally. However, the name autopilot seems to be better marketing than active driver assistant.

Does anyone know how the Teala handles passing a slow moving car in front of it on a two lane highway with oncoming traffic?

I don’t think any car handles that situation. passing a slow car (or truck) on a two lane highway is one of the most dangerous maneuvers there is and requires very long range sensing, with significant blockage of the view.

Yeah. The term “Autopilot” suggests far more capability than these driver assist features have.

I have no doubt the lane-keeping and semi-automated lane-changing features work well in the conditions you see in the video: Limited access highway, all traffic moving in one direction, light traffic conditions, no road hazards.

As I understand it, Autopilot is not, repeat not, intended to function on roads with two-way traffic.

The rear scanning (the yellow shaded area) does not appear to have the range to check for fast moving vehicles overtaking from behind. If you’ve ever driven on an autobahn you know how important it is to check this before changing into the fast lane. How does the lane chanbe manoeuvre account for this possibility?

The lane change is initiated by the driver, so I would suggest the driver look in their rear view mirror before doing so.

I would suggest not using that feature at all on the autobahn. Not only do you need to change lanes, you need to accelerate, a LOT, while doing so. The Germans are all crazy. You can drive at 140 km/h and feel like you are standing still next to the fast lane.

kdawg said:

“The lane change is initiated by the driver, so I would suggest the driver look in their rear view mirror before doing so.”


I think Tesla will almost certainly have strong warnings in the instructions about using the semi-automated lane changing feature, warning the driver that he must check to make sure traffic is clear behind and to the sides, and warning that he is responsible for any accident which might occur when using this feature… which is, after all, a driver assist feature, and not actually the “Autopilot” it’s touted to be.

Actual fully automated lane changing will require rear-facing radar (or lidar) with as good a range as the current front-facing radar. The very limited range of the ultrasonic sensors are not adequate for a safe fully automated lane change.

Thank you all for sharing these thoughts. I do feel that this is a bit of a “blind spot” in the design of the scanning system, and I hope it is one that tesla will remedy in the future hardware versions. It will need to do so if it has asperations towards fuller autonomy. As Alonso mentioned, it is common on autobahns to be doing already fast highway speeds (120-140kph) and yet have passing lane vehicles travelling at 250kph or more. There is no speed limit on autobahns. Even a 110kph differential equates to 30 meters per second closing speed. Given that it might take 10-20 seconds to pull out and pass a fast truck in a comfortable manner, 400 or 500 meter rear scanning range would not be overkill for autobahn conditions.

Nice update. 🙂

I’d love to know what the music is playing in the video.