If you don’t follow this stuff obsessively, here are two quick notes about Tesla’s Autopilot suite:
- Up till now, Tesla Autopilot will keep your car in the lane by itself, automatically change lanes as desired (or based on its own decision making if you are on a highway and engage Navigate on Autopilot), and provide top-of-the-industry adaptive cruise control (stick to a designated speed but also slow down if the car in front slows down).
- Tesla is supposed to be rolling out “Full Self Driving” sometime this year. (It was supposed to happen sometime last year, but that got delayed.) At the early stages, this does not mean you can sleep or watch a movie while driving, but the car should be able to take you from parking space to parking space on its own — with your close supervision. (To emphasize, you may need to take over the wheel and/or the pedals if the car runs into a confusing scenario. And you should always be vigilant and ready to do so.)
Apparently, according to Out of Spec Motoring and a video its Twitter account shared, the next Tesla Autopilot update will provide one huge bridge between those two steps. It will give your car the superpower of stopping at red lights and stop signs by itself.
#Tesla #Autopilot stopping for red lights for the first time. pic.twitter.com/M0zkiqyypl
— Out of Spec Studios (@Out_of_Spec) March 26, 2020
If you got confused and thought this was already a feature, no worries, many people do, but read those two notes at the top again and consider what’s missing between the two stages. Or just read on.
This is perhaps the biggest update needed in order to enable an intro-level Full Self Driving feature. Before I was self-isolating like a mofo, I spent a lot of time driving two little girls around. I could use Tesla Autopilot during most of my driving if desired. The big barriers remaining that kept me from using it all the time, which is presumably what the first iteration of Full Self Driving will solve (except for #4) are:
- Getting out of my parking lot. (The car simply won’t navigate itself out of a parking space if not summoned and definitely not out of a parking lot and onto a public road.)
- Stopping at red lights and stop signs. (This next Autopilot update will apparently leap over that barrier.)
- Turning at intersections where you should turn. (I assume that will not be included in the next update, and I’m concerned about the car’s ability to do this well at this point, but we’ll see.)
- Avoiding potholes. (Ugh. This is the #1 reason I turn off Autopilot aside from #2 and #3 above. Since solving #2 and #3 are absolutely mandatory for Full Self Driving, I’m sure those features are in the works, but I haven’t seen confirmation that Tesla is working on the ability to avoid potholes.)
- Parking itself. (Aside from getting into a parking lot and navigating to a free space, Autopark is not very reliable — it seldom presents itself as an option — and it freaks me the heck out as soon as the steering wheel starts spinning fast, so I don’t use it.)
Assuming #2 does come through soon with the next over-the-air Tesla software update, the big lingering question is: When do #1, #3, and #5 arrive? (I honestly don’t have much hope for #4, but I will be absolutely thrilled if Tesla is more capable than I assume at implementing the ability to avoid potholes.)
I cannot provide an educated guess on which of these remaining features will be implemented next, but I lean toward assuming — oh, never mind, I can’t make a guess. What do you think? Or what do you know if you are much more knowledgable than me on which is easier/more likely?
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