This is how Tesla Autopilot Operates in the Rain


This is how Tesla Autopilot Operates in the Rain

Have you ever thought how Tesla cars with Autopilot can keep you safe in the rain. Is Autopilot effective in inclement weather? Once you know the facts you can decide if Autopilot can operate safely in the rain.

The Tesla Autopilot has contradictory reviews. It works decently in light rain when traffic is heavy. However, it does not perform as expected when the rain is heavy. It refrains from performing certain functions like Autosteer, and this makes it unusable.

If you are contemplating purchasing Autopilot and curious to find out how it operates in the rain, continue reading. Tests performed on Autopilot will shed some light on whether or not it is a viable system in both good and bad weather.

Tesla Model Y Autopilot Tested in the Rain

The 2021 Tesla model Y does not have radar; it only has cameras called “Tesla Vision.” It was tested at 65 miles per hour in light rain, and it seemed to do well. However, once the rain became heavy, the Tesla autopilot lowered the speed, and the system shut down and turned total control back to the driver.

The car using just “Tesla Vision” saw the lines when the roads were wet and dark. Intermittent slowing of speeds occurred, and the navigation system disabled itself due to heavy rain. The windshield wipers became swift-moving to get the windows cleared. The speed was limited for visibility, a “full kick out” of the auto-drive occurred, and the navigation system was disabled due to weather.

Tesla Vision is the latest version of Autopilot for the 2021 versions Y and 3.  There is no more radar. Instead, there are cameras strategically located to give the vehicle a 360-degree field of vision. However, the cameras are just the beginning, there are also ultrasonic sensors.

Tesla Vision has all of the features of the radar version except for “Emergency Lane Departure Avoidance,” which will come in one of the computer updates. Please keep in mind that the camera lens may be blocked by heavy rain, and the Autosteer function may stop and slow down the speed.

What are Autopilots’ Limitations in Harsh Weather

When it rains the rear camera, which is used only for backing up, becomes inoperative, and the poor visibility of the remaining seven cameras make it difficult to navigate through traffic. When the rain gets heavy, autosteering may not be available for use. The car may not be able to read the yellow and white lines on the road.

The driver must use their best judgment when putting this feature into action. Ultimately it is up to the driver to take the wheel and steer the vehicle, although the Autopilot will disengage if the visibility is compromised.

What happens to Visibility in the Rain

Rain can decrease the accuracy of the laser sensors in Tesla. It can also impede the utilization of onboard cameras, and it can cause an unwanted glare from the sloppy weather.

When driving in the rain, it is crucial to note that the speed may need to be adjusted to meet the requirement for improved visibility. In heavy rain, when visibility is compromised, the car will hand over to the driver, and autosteer is discontinued.

Often, Autopilot will determine when conditions are not safe enough to continue, and it will give over control to the driver. The ideal way to take care of the situation is to pull off the road safely.

What Does Tesla Autopilot do in the Rain

Autopilot drives the car for you with your supervision. It can steer, accelerate, and brake. You can even go from lane to lane, passing slow drivers. However, in heavy rain, you must change lanes on your own.

Navigating Autopilot is a simple task. Autopilot will steer your car and take you on the best possible route for your journey to arrive at your destination safely, which is why Autopilot will defer to you in heavy rain.

The company that makes Tesla has said that they aim to develop full self-driving capabilities once legal and safety conditions are met. This complete hand-off may happen sometime within the near future. Total Autopilot may not be wise to use in inclement weather.

Is Tesla Autopilot Safe in the Rain

The Tesla Autopilot system is safe in the rain unless the cameras’ vision is blocked. Tesla has eight cameras to assist with Autopilot. More than that, the front-loaded radar system helps the cameras see in rain and snow.  

Tesla comes with basic functioning active safety elements, which include computerized safety systems. These features improve the cars’ capability and performance. However, they may not be available due to heavy rain. These features include:

  • Lane Assist provides automatic steering intervention
  • The Lane Assist program helps you stay in your lane, which will keep you from drifting into a lane next to you.
  • Lane Departure Avoidance
  • The car brings itself back in line and warns the driver with certain cues. For example, if your hands are on the steering wheel (which they should be), it will vibrate.

Collision Avoidance Assist

This part of the program depends on the driver taking action and preventing a collision. The driver is warned by sound, and the brakes are applied to slow or stop the vehicle.

Speed Assist

Speed Assist adjusts the cars’ speed and keeps it in line with other vehicles on the road. When the vision of the camera is compromised due to rain, the speed will slow.

What Problems have Occurred with Autopilot Due to Weather

Roads can be unpredictable, and the safety of Autopilot is often called into question. Cameras can miss other vehicles, especially if the sun outside is blindingly bright and evident. If it is raining or foggy and the camera’s lens is blocked, it could miscue the Autopilot.

Many car safety experts have said that adaptive cruise control systems like Autopilot depend on the radar installed to avoid collisions or crashes. Radar is more adept at detecting moving cars on the road, but not stationary ones, which can be especially dangerous when raining or snowing.

Can Teslas Charge in the Rain

You can charge your Tesla in the rain. There are Tesla charge kits available. In addition, you can use your portable convenience charger. There are also stations at which you can charge your Tesla, but they are not free. Tesla can charge in the rain, but not underwater.

It is potentially dangerous if rainwater runs along the length of the cable and enters the charging port. It can damage both the electrical outlet and charging port. Make sure that the cord is sloping down towards the ground, so the rainwater runs off onto the ground instead of going to the car.

The table below for charging times and rain does not inhibit these times; however, when raining, faster charging is ideal.

LEVELVOLTAGETIME NEEDED
Level 1120 volts4 days
Level 2240 volts6 – 30 hours
Level 3480 volts supercharge station30 minutes

Levels 1 and 2 can be completed at home through a regular 120-volt receptacle or a dedicated 240-volt receptacle. For the speedy 480-volt charge, you will have to go to a supercharging station.

Conclusion

Before you purchase your Tesla, take into consideration Autopilots’ performance in the rain. It is practical to consider different weather situations and how they could affect Autopilots’ performance. Although the Autopilot does work in light rain, tests show it is rendered useless when the rain is heavy.

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Greg

Hi, I'm Greg. My daily driver is a Tesla Model 3 Performance. I've learned a ton about Teslas from hands-on experience and this is the site where I share everything I've learned.

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