Watch Updated Autopilot On Tesla Model S Handle Construction Zone
Autopilot is one of Tesla owners’ favorite features. It can really take a lot of the work out of divided-highway cruising (the type of road it’s meant to be used on), keeping the car within its lane with autosteer and slowing down if it’s following a vehicle that slows down. It’s not a perfect driver, but as many Model S drivers are documenting, it’s gotten much better with this latest update: version 10.4. At least for owners who have the 2nd version of Autopilot hardware installed in their vehicle, typically referred to as HW2.
Now, before going further, we’d just like to point out that the Autopilot icon is just to the right of the current speed on the vehicle’s information display. It appears in white when the car senses it can be used, and turns blue when it’s engaged. There are several videos in this post, so that should help inform you what state Autopilot is in at any given time.
So if you check out the video above, you’ll see a good example of the autopilot improvement. Previously, the Autopilot system would have required the driver to take over as it approached the construction zone and the lane markings became uncertain. Now, as you can see, it stays engaged as the driver approaches, then passes through the short construction zone.
Not bad, right? Perhaps more impressive, though, is the video directly below. Here, the driver puts a Model S to the S-curve test, which includes some crests. Previously, when a Tesla approached the crest of a hill, it would briefly run into some difficulty. It wouldn’t disengage, but with its cameras pointed upward and unable to see the road, there was a noticeable, and slightly disconcerting amount of back-and-forth movement within the lane for one or two seconds, a motion typically referred to as ping-ponging. As we can see in this video, not only does his vehicle handle this curves without handing off steering, but it goes over the crests while staying exactly where it ought to. This is a great improvement.
As we mentioned, there are a number of videos from owners testing the Autopilot function post-10.4 update, so we’ve included a few more below. As you will see, the conditions range from secondary roads with poor lane markings to divided highways to small roads with no lane markings. For the most part, Autopilot holds up much better than previous versions, and, in most situations, may be at least on par with the cars with the first generation of Autopilot hardware. Maybe even better, save for a couple of instances. Let us know how feel about our new Autopilot overlords (which I, for one, welcome) in the Comments.