For car enthusiasts across the globe, Tesla has been at the forefront of invention since the debut of its first model of the all-electric car: the Roadster. Since then, Tesla has been pushing boundaries by introducing autopilot in their electric car series in countries worldwide, including Japan.
Despite recent lawsuits concerning the safety of autopilot vehicles, Elon Musk has suggested in a recent online post that Tesla’s Model 3 Series with autopilot and self-steering will soon debut in Japan.
To learn more about Tesla’s self-steering upgrades and cutting-edge autopilot features soon to be released in Japan and elsewhere across the globe, continue reading below.
Autopilot is Expanding to Japan
According to Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk, the complete autonomous driving and autopilot suite in the Tesla Model 3 will soon be available in Japan. Preparing a self-driving all-electric car for release in another country is difficult due to:
- A country’s unique terrain
- A reversal of lane directions
- The complexity of a country’s highway systems
- The country’s driving laws
- The country’s regional driving styles
- The density of a country’s driving infrastructure
The FSD suite, Tesla’s self-driving suite for its vehicles, has now been approved by the Japanese government and its required associations. This, along with Elon Musk’s online correspondence with a Twitter user back on October 3rd, 2020, suggests that Tesla autopilot in Japan will be available shortly.
A Tesla owner in Japan decided to tweet at Elon Musk saying, “Elon, in Japan, we are still waiting for Navigate on Autopilot, Smart Summon, and FSD visualization preview. When will we get all these features?” To this, Elon quickly but pointedly replied, “Coming soon.”
An Unclear Trajectory
Even though Japanese patrons are eager to receive Musk’s new autopilot and safety features on the Model 3 Tesla, some are skeptical that the car will do well in Japan.
Historically, Tesla has not done as well as expected in the Japanese car market. Home to Toyota and its electric hybrid releases, Japanese individuals tend toward Japanese-made cars that come with additional perks and offers like free car-washes and high-quality buyer hospitality. Japanese households also don’t usually own more than one car, making Teslas as a second car a luxury purchase rather than a practical one for everyday use.
Though the demand for foreign and American-made cars has been surprisingly low in Japan during the last few years, the new autopilot on Musk’s Tesla Model 3, combined with the country’s no-tax on foreign autos policy, is leaving the American company with high hopes as they prepare for their Japanese launch.
Tesla’s Global Safety Features
Along with Tesla’s autopilot coming to Japan are updated safety features. As part of an ongoing lawsuit against a man who fell asleep and hit a pedestrian on the side of the road while piloting his automatic Tesla, Tesla has increased its preemptive safety sensors and reaction time with the following:
- Continue blind spot interference warnings
- Continued forward head-on collision warnings
- Increased reaction time on lane departure avoidance
- Updated automatic emergency braking
As the first electric vehicle to be the winner of the Insurance Institute’s highest safety award for Highway Safety, Tesla’s Model 3 was named one of 2019’s safest cars on the road.
Receiving a high rating for all IIHS performance crash tests, Tesla’s autopilot Model 3 set to be released in Japan is expected to receive high safety ratings internationally as well.
Tesla and Driver Data Will Be Recorded
For anyone interested in the Japanese release of Tesla’s autopilot Model 3, it is crucial to recognize that the Japanese Tesla will continue to record and monitor its cars and drivers in the same way that Tesla’s American releases have done.
From Tesla’s autopilot and self-steering technology, Tesla can gather personal data such as:
- Around 4GB of miscellaneous uploaded data that is sent back to Tesla headquarters
- Detecting when a driver intervenes with autopilot
- Home address and work address
- The driver’s past and current locations
It is unclear exactly how Tesla will use their gathered information and share it with any third-party companies in Japan. Still, Tesla ensures that all collected data from autopilot and self-steering drivers will be securely stored and used for auto-intelligence research purposes only.
The Ins and Outs of Tesla’s Autopilot
Self-driving car technology has been a huge talking point and topic of anticipation for anyone into the latest technology and tired of the daily commute or having to parallel park in tricky situations. For any car drivers out there thinking, “I wish my car could just drive itself for me,” you’re in luck, as Tesla continues to delve into the world of accessible self-driving and self-steering automobiles.
In 2015, Tesla took over the electric car category by introducing self-driving and auto-steer capabilities in its all-electric Model S sedan. Since then, Tesla has been working hard to produce an all-electric car that can also function on autopilot. This vehicle’s software technology has been available in the United States and has undergone updates all the way to a version 7.0 that is even closer to offering autonomous driving.
Since the release of the Model 3 in 2021, there has been much talk of introducing autopilot Teslas to countries outside of the United States, namely in Japan. With eight high-tech cameras to offer 360 degrees of available viewing and ultrasonic Tesla sensors, the vehicle can detect objects in the road by the following categories:
- A hard object
- A living person
- A soft object
- Miscellaneous debris
- Traveling objects or crossing animals
These features are what allow the Tesla Model 3 to successfully work and run the following autopilot capabilities:
- Autosteer+: The Tesla Model 3 with Autosteer+ can traverse smaller and windier roads with the additional assistance of its cameras, sensors, and computer updates. This makes it easier and more convenient for drivers who don’t prefer smaller roadways.
- Autopilot Navigate: This Model 3 feature gives lane change suggestions to the driver to have a safer ride. If you’re someone that doesn’t have the patience to wait for slower cars, this feature can also help you avoid being behind any slow cars and trucks.
- Smart Summon: Smart summon allows your Tesla to get around obstacles and corners with ease, allowing faster navigation through parking lots and structures. You can tell your Tesla to take over for you by lightly taking your grip from the wheel after indicating you’d like to activate the feature.
- Total Self-Driving: Short trips can be driven by the Tesla without any interference or inclusion of the driver whatsoever. While the car will be acting entirely on its own, an aware person must be in the Tesla to activate this feature.
For autopilot and self-steering technology skeptics in Japan, Tesla hopes that these safety upgrades and installs will ease some concerns. With software that caters directly towards maneuvering between Japan’s bustling cities and lush countryside on leaner and longer roads, it is likely that utilizing the autopilot features will eventually prove safer than manual driving in that country.
While autopilot features in the Tesla might sound like they require no supervision, it is essential to remember that any individual using the Tesla autopilot or self-steering features must remain awake and alert while the Tesla is in operation.
The Future of Japan is Electric
It appears that while some Japanese individuals are looking forward to receiving the Tesla Model 3 with autopilot and others are indifferent, Elon Musk’s plans to continue into the Japanese all-electric self-driving car market are pushing onward.
Though prices will be high and driver data will be recorded as it is in the United States, the increased safety of the autopilot features and convenient preemptive autopilot features are sure to make Tesla autopilot a hit in Japan when it finally arrives.