Is Tesla Autopilot for The Elderly or Not?

Is Tesla Autopilot for The Elderly or Not?

For many, the Autopilot function on Tesla is what drew them to the car. It’s an advanced piece of technology that permits easier and safer driving on the road. With all that it can do for those who drive, you might wonder if this function could be useful to those in the older population who have a hard time driving. It can be tricky to discover the answer online.

In theory, the Tesla Autopilot is great for the elderly. It permits them to:

  • Stay within the lines
  • Not drift back and forth
  • Remain alert on the road

However, many nuances can impact an elderly individual’s experience with Autopilot. It is critical to acknowledge these.

Keep on reading to learn about Tesla Autopilot and how it impacts the elderly. There is so much good about it, but there are a few bad qualities within the technology that could hinder the safety of elders. By the end of this article, you’ll have a solid understanding of how Tesla Autopilot stands with the senior community.

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Autopilot Features That Make it Appealing to the Elderly

Tesla Autopilot is a feature that makes your car safer when you are on the road. In general, this feature makes it something that’s helpful to the elderly. In the Tesla, this technology gives your car control but allows you to drive when you want. This cooperation between man and machine makes for the safest driving conditions to date.

Some of Autopilot’s features that are helpful, especially to older adults, are:

  • Autosteer: The Autosteer feature will help your car navigate the lane that you are in. It will sense turns in the road, stop signs, and lights to help prevent you from moving out of your lane.
  • Acceleration: If needed, the Tesla Autopilot permits acceleration to prevent collisions with obstacles or cars that might be merging into your lane.
  • Braking: As with acceleration, the Tesla Autopilot permits braking in the case of an emergency. Braking can help to avoid a merging car, prevent an accident, and stop in a location you may have missed.
  • Navigation: For a higher fee, Tesla Autopilot provides advanced navigation that can get you through crowded areas such as parking lots or busy roads. It will change lanes and move around cars to keep you safe.
  • Autosteer: Autosteer also costs a little bit more. It permits your Tesla to navigate tighter and more complex roads using an array of technology and power.
  • Smart Summon: This is another bonus that costs extra. With Smart Summon, your car will navigate on Autopilot and pick you up. If you’re in a parking lot, you don’t need to spend hours searching for your car. It will come to you.

All of these features are intended to make driving on the road safer and easier. Tesla Autopilot simplifies the driving process so that drivers can be less worried about obstacles that they may face on the road.

These features work well for a younger audience of working-class citizens. How do they fare for the older population? Is Tesla Autopilot meant for the elderly to use? Let’s take a look at the problems that they face on the road to get a better idea of how Tesla Autopilot can help.

What Problems Do the Elderly Face On The Road?

As people age, they naturally start to lose abilities that they once had in younger bodies. The older you get, the more problems you can face with driving. This makes the task dangerous for older individuals. Eventually, they may lose the ability to drive altogether the worse things get.

Some of the issues that the elderly may face with their driving include:

  • Reaction time: As a person ages, their reaction time may slow down. This can be scary on the roads. In an emergency, a driver may need to react within a second. An elderly person cannot do this.
  • Vision: Sight gets worse with age. This is detrimental to driving and can lead to accidents on the road.
  • Hearing: Honking and sirens are warning signs on the road. If an elderly person cannot hear, they may not be able to react to these warnings.
  • Dementia: Dementia, whether severe or minor, affects a large amount of the older population. Those with severe dementia should not drive. Those with minor dementia might not even realize it. This can pose a danger to them and others on the road.
  • Stiff joints and muscles: Stiff joints and muscles occur as the body ages. These go hand in hand with reaction time. Elderly people may not be able to move their bodies in response to situations on the road.
  • Medications: Some medications have side effects that can impair an older person’s abilities on the road.

Tesla Autopilot seems to possess some abilities that might make driving safer for older drivers. However, some items seem to prove the opposite. We will break down the benefits and disadvantages of Tesla Autopilot for the elderly to see if it will improve their driving freedom or put them in danger.

Benefits of Autopilot for the Elderly

Tesla Autopilot was made to help all with their driving, but it can prove especially beneficial for the elderly. The features can often take over for abilities that they have lost due to age.

We will go over a few of the benefits that Tesla Autopilot holds for the elderly. Many are easy for them to use and might even allow them a freedom that they otherwise would not have.

Autopilot Allows New Freedom

With Tesla Autopilot, elderly drivers can experience a freedom that they would not have otherwise. Driving a car prevents many seniors from going where they would like to. A Tesla with Autopilot would allow them to regain control.

With Tesla Autopilot, a senior citizen can:

  • Take themselves to doctor, hair, and dental appointments
  • Go to the grocery store by themselves and head back home
  • Visit family and friends without trouble or need to ask for help

With Tesla Autopilot, elderly citizens can go where they want to, when they want to. There is no need to ask for assistance. This technology permits movement without the danger that comes with driving oneself. Tesla Autopilot, for many, means freedom.

Autopilot Watches the Road

Above, we discussed eyesight and reaction time as two large problems for the aging population. They cannot watch the road as well as they once we’re able to in their youth. Tesla Autopilot solves this by watching the road for them and acting accordingly.

Without the fear of being injured by a car they cannot see, seniors can drive without paranoia or hesitation. Tesla Autopilot will ensure that they are aware of threats. It will also protect them from those that appear in their lane. Elders can scan the road ahead without fear of missing what is on the side and back of the car.

Autopilot Reacts for Them

Not only does Autopilot do all of the monitoring for the driver, but it also reacts. For elders, it is critical to possess that fast reaction speed on the road. Tesla Autopilot takes on this task for them to prevent any mishaps due to an individual’s slow movements.

Tesla Autopilot’s reactions can come in handy for seniors if:

  • A car decides to swerve in front of their car on the freeway
  • An obstacle makes a sudden appearance on the road
  • A child runs into the middle of the street

Tesla Autopilot can keep senior citizens safe and prevent a catastrophe on the road. For those with slow reactions, this feature is a must. It is so critical that a lack of reaction speed may result in a loss of the ability to drive. This is a great reason why Tesla Autopilot seems tailored for seniors to use.

Autopilot Can Remove the Confusion of Directions

Directions can be confusing for the elderly population to follow. The older they get, the more difficult getting places can be. Tesla Autopilot can navigate for them, steering around cars and heading towards the routes to get them to where they are going much faster.

Rather than remain confused by directions, a senior can simply plug their route into the car to receive optimized instructions. They can say goodbye to getting lost on the highway again. Tesla Autopilot’s navigation features are simple enough for seniors to use all by themselves, making it ideal for this age range.

Autopilot Reduces Walking Time

If a senior chooses to pay a little bit extra and get the auto to summon feature, walking time is reduced. This is great for seniors who have joint pain. Rather than scouring the parking lot for their car after a meal, they can simply call the vehicle to them.

 Reduced walking time can also apply:

  • When they are being dropped off at an appointment
  • When they are leaving their house
  • When they are going grocery shopping

The car will navigate on Autopilot and meet them, regardless of where they are in the lot. This can spare a lot of unnecessary joint damage and pain as their bodies get older. The less the body is worn down, the more places a senior citizen can go. Exercise is good, but at this age, it is best in moderation.

Disadvantages for the Elderly

There are also some disadvantages about Tesla Autopilot that make it unsuited for an elderly population. These are critical to consider, as they may make Tesla Autopilot inaccessible for a large chunk of the senior population.

Though the disadvantages may seem large, most of them depend on an individual situation. You should note all of these when helping a loved one or senior that you know to decide if they should get Tesla Autopilot.

The Features Can Be Confusing

For elders who have not grown up with technology, using a Tesla can already be confusing. Using the Autopilot feature with a mind that is starting to forget can prove to be impossible. Trying to remember how to utilize the feature every single time that they get in the car can be exhausting.

Some ways that an elder can be assisted in using the Tesla Autopilot feature include:

  • Having someone there who can show them the way until they understand
  • Writing instructions down on a piece of paper

Some will not be able to understand the features. This makes Autopilot unsafe for them to use, as they may not have it activated during their drive. Though these may not seem complicated to a young mind, to others, they can seem like gibberish.

Passenger Interference Is Sometimes Needed

Normally, Tesla Autopilot is capable of handling itself. However, there are some instances where the driver needs to take over the car. These often occur instantly. For an elderly driver, this can be a disaster.

Passenger interference for an elderly driver might lead to:

  • An accident due to slow reaction time
  • A severe injury as a result of the shift

There is no telling why or when passenger interference will be required. In these moments, acting quickly becomes necessary.

The Handles and Buttons Can Prove Tricky

Many of the buttons required for Autopilot can be tricky for older fingers to handle. The words can be small to see, and shaky fingers may have an issue hitting the right spot on the screen.

As with the passenger interference, this can prove dangerous. Sometimes a button is necessary to push when using Autopilot. Not having the ability to do so might result in Autopilot turning off or another dangerous scenario.

Elderly passengers should make sure that they can push buttons, open door handles, and pull levers before investing in a car. This is especially the case if the individual:

  • Has joint/muscle pain
  • Deals with shaky hands
  • Cannot fully extend their fingers or hands

It’s better to double-check than to be faced with this issue in the middle of a drive. Autopilot can make the process safer for elderly people, but it can also prove to be dangerous if used incorrectly.

They Can Add Another Expense

For an elderly individual living off of a certain income a month, the cost of Autopilot might take over other necessary expenses. The software of Autopilot that permits the car to drive by itself is expensive. This self-driving format is the version that elderly folks will benefit the most from, so they must budget accordingly.

Seniors who desperately seek freedom may be willing to sacrifice some of their funds to invest in an advanced format of Autopilot. This can take away from:

  • A weekly grocery store budget
  • Expenses left in their income for fun
  • Money that is needed for bills, insurance, and taxes

Some cannot afford to invest in Tesla Autopilot. As the world continues to change, the elderly will likely have less money while the price of the Tesla Autopilot goes up. This contrast may result in cruel financial exchanges for freedom over an older lifespan.

Freedom is Not Always a Good Thing

Some seniors may not benefit from having an extensive amount of freedom. Certain neurological disorders and diseases could make it dangerous for them to be out and about. Tesla Autopilot might give them a way to get themselves into dangerous positions.

For instance:

  • An individual with growing dementia might find themselves somewhere they do not know
  • They might forget about Autopilot and try to take manual control of the car

If you know a senior considering Tesla Autopilot but should not have it, you should inform them. This feature can make seniors feel younger and give them a new chance at life, but it can also be dangerous to those in a state.

Is Tesla Autopilot for the Elderly?

Though there are some disadvantages for seniors using Tesla Autopilot, the advantages far outweigh the negative aspects. Any elderly individual looking for a way to get around the world in their new body may find relief using this feature.

With Autopilot, a senior can:

  • Visit their families whenever they would like to, rather than waiting for someone to pick them up
  • Take a trip to the grocery store to get necessary food items
  • Travel to the movie theater on a weekend if they want to get out

There is no need to worry about asking a family member or friend to pick them up. Tesla Autopilot can act as a chauffeur and safety barrier all at the same time. Aging seniors should seriously consider investing in this technology if they fear losing the ability to drive.

Of course, if you know a senior in no state to be going places by themselves, Tesla Autopilot is likely not a good option. They should only be driven by people they know to keep them safe as they continue to age.


If you are a senior wondering if you can use Tesla Autopilot, you should feel confident that the answer is yes. Tesla Autopilot can make the road a safer place for aging individuals who still want to go places by themselves.

Tesla Autopilot permits freedom that was once inaccessible to the older population. Now, the world is becoming wide open for those with the Tesla Autopilot function built into their car if they feel brave enough to try something new.


The articles here on are created by Greg, a Tesla vehicle and Tesla solar expert with nearly half a decade of hands-on experience. The information on this site is fact-checked and tested in-person to ensure the best possible level of accuracy.

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