Tesla Autopilot Legality In Australia Explained

Tesla Autopilot Legality In Australia Explained

Along with the rise of Tesla, autopilot drifted onto the market along with the brand-new car. In many countries, this feature was and still is widely debated. Understanding the legality that surrounds autopilot can be confusing, particularly in Australia. Searching for the answer online can seem all but impossible.

Tesla Autopilot in Australia is perfectly legal. Though there is always an ongoing debate about autopilot, Tesla has gotten by for the time being. Of course, some intricacies should be considered for the future of Tesla in Australia.

Read on to learn more about the legality of Tesla Autopilot within Australia. There are a few items that you should be familiar with if you intend to dive into the world of self-driving cars.

Is Tesla Autopilot Legal in Australia?

In Australia, Tesla Autopilot is legal. Of course, there are constant debates about it every day. The general population and the governing authorities all seem skittish about this self-driving capability and are rightfully so. It is a new technology and will continue to be new for many years to come.

In Australia, there is one rule about autopilot that can result in large fines if mistreated. The country requires its citizens to keep their hands on the wheel, regardless of whether the car uses self-driving. This safety feature is an extra precaution in the Tesla world.

For those that have spent a bit of money on the feature, this rule is annoying. However, there is a good reason for its existence. This requirement is in place because:

  • It forces the drive to avoid being negligent behind the wheel, keeping them from falling asleep or ignoring where they are on the road
  • It drives down the development of bad habits such as texting or playing video games while driving
  • It allows the driver to be ready in case the autopilot fails and they need to take sudden control, which has happened in a few rare cases

This rule is also often used in the United Kingdom, where several fines have been given to those who have neglected their post behind the wheel. It is a serious subject to those in charge. They are trying to stay ahead of the new technology as it begins to swarm the market.

What Types of Autopilot Are Legal in Australia?

There have been many types of autopilots throughout the years with Tesla. These continue to disappear and reappear as the technology grows and shifts with advancements in safety features and unique perks. Some of the past autopilots that have existed included:

  • Tesla Autopilot, standard on all vehicles and requires a driver to sit up front
  • Full Self-Driving, an optional upgraded version of autopilot that will stop and navigate intersections, make turns, self park, essentially a door-to-door hands free option

Full Self-Driving is in development, and making big progress. The software has been released to small amounts of drivers, and is planned to be released fully by 2023.

In Australia, the Full Self-Driving mode has been and is still being tested on the most dangerous of roads. Only the standard Tesla Autopilot is in use, however. It will likely stay this way for a little while longer. Inevitably, the Full Self-Driving mode will bring about a whole slew of new issues for the government to deal with.

Are Legalities Different Within the States?

In Australia, each state has its driving laws that impact the citizens that live there. However, there are not any major restrictions on the Tesla Autopilot for the time being. If a safety concern arises, each state has the potential to create driving laws centered around this brand-new technology. Right now, they have little on it.

If states want to, they can make their changes to the current rules that apply to the Tesla autopilot. It is an issue that will grow as Elon Musk advances the technology that powers his cars. This debate will probably spread outside of Australia, filling the world with both the good and the bad that come with moving technology this far forward.

Will Legality Change Over Time?

Will the legality of autopilot in Australia change over time? That is a critical question to ask, especially as the brand continues to gather steam in its spread in manufacturing across the world. Autopilot will only become more advanced. Will the legality become more strict as a response?

This likely depends on a few things, some of which include:

  • The accidents that come with the advancing autopilot in ways that do not require drivers to be mindful of what the car is doing
  • The features that new autopilots will have access to, such as longer driving distances or a parking ability
  • Whether or not the self-driving car is determined to be safer than a human driving a vehicle

There are many possible scenarios regarding how legality will change over time with Tesla Autopilot. In the meantime, all you can do is watch and wait. Elon Musk will probably continue to advance his Tesla Autopilot system. The only question in the air is how long it will take him to create the next version, and how advanced it will turn out to be.

Australia’s rules will probably change as the technology is released. It is new and scary, after all. The country may need to be slow with its incorporation, as many countries will do as well. The safety of the citizens should be a priority.

What About Full Self-Driving Mode?

For those unfamiliar with Tesla, there are always updates that roll out without warning. One that has been in the works for a while is the Tesla Full Self-Driving mode, which has slipped in and out of the market for years. This one has many special perks that will draw a variety of different consumers to the car.

Some of these perks include:

  • The ability for the car to get to a destination by being told essentially hands-free
  • The ability to leave the car and have it park on its own in the tightest of spots
  • The ability for the car to find the fastest route without you telling it to
  • The ability to summon your car to you no matter where you are

This is a whole new playing field in the universe of Tesla Autopilot. Australia has been testing it. Only time can tell whether or not Australia will embrace this crazy new technology, or restrict it out of the fear of what it could cause.


As Tesla continues to expand across the world, it is critical to take note of the autopilot that comes with their cars. This item has slowly advanced to a driving mode that allows the car to take full control of its driving. To many locations, this is terrifying. Australias is no different and has had many debates over the topic.

In the end, autopilot is a feature that is allowed in Australia. However, a driver is required behind the wheel. They must be touching the wheel. Without this extra assurance of hands, if something goes wrong, the country will not permit the use of autopilot. It will be interesting to see how their thoughts change as autopilot advances around the earth.

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The articles here on ThatTeslaChannel.com 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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