Are you looking for a new car? Do you want a car with zero emissions, amazing safety features, and one that can drive itself? If so, you should consider getting a Tesla. Before you get a Tesla with awesome, self-driving capabilities, you need to know where autopilot works.
Tesla’s autopilot features, including traffic-aware cruise control and autosteer, are best used when driving on the highway. If your Tesla includes full self-driving capabilities, you can use the features to get on and off the highway, park your car, and identify stop signs and traffic lights.
Tesla’s autopilot features allow you to drive safer and with more ease. Are you interested in learning more about Tesla’s autopilot? If so, keep reading to learn more about where autopilot can be used, which states allow autopilot, the different autopilot packages, where you can buy a Tesla, and the limitations of autopilot.
Where Does Autopilot Work?
Where your Tesla autopilot works depend on the package and features, you have. If you have the standard autopilot package, it is best used to navigate roads that don’t have many stops or complicated obstacles, such as roundabouts or crosswalks. The standard package includes traffic-aware cruise control and autosteer.
If your Tesla has more advanced, self-driving features, you will be able to use the features at different times while driving. Here is a breakdown of Tesla’s self-driving capabilities and when you can use them:
|Feature||Use||Where does it work?|
|Traffic-Aware Cruise Control||Cruise control||Highway|
|Navigate on Autopilot||Navigation||Highway|
|Auto lane change||Lane navigation||Highway|
|Autopark||Parking||Parking lot or street|
|Summon||Navigate tight spaces||Any tight space|
|Smart summon||Navigate complex areas||Complex surroundings|
|Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control (beta)||Stop at traffic lights and stop signs||Traffic lights and stop signs|
If you ever forget where a self-driving feature is best used, you can always check your owner’s manual. It is better to double-check before using a feature that you are not knowledgeable about.
Does Autopilot Work In the City?
Are you wondering if you can use Tesla’s autopilot features in a city? The answers are yes and no. Here are the features that cannot be used in a city:
- Auto lane change
- Navigate on autopilot
- Traffic-aware cruise control
While some features aren’t operational in the city, others are. Does parallel parking make you nervous? If so, you should use the Autopark feature to help you parallel park in the city. Have you ever found it hard to park your car in tight spaces? The summon features allow your car to navigate out of those tight spaces and drive directly to you.
While still in the beta and testing mode, traffic light and stop sign control will allow your Tesla to detect when it needs to stop. This will help prevent you from running a stop sign while driving in the city.
Can a Tesla Drive in Traffic?
Yes! A Tesla with autopilot can help you drive in heavy traffic while you are on the interstate. Here are some of the features that you can take advantage of:
- Auto lane change
- Navigate on autopilot
- Traffic-aware cruise control
Driving in traffic can be difficult because a lot is going on in your surroundings. While you shouldn’t fully rely on Tesla’s autopilot capabilities, they can help you navigate traffic. Traffic-aware cruise control will allow your vehicle to maintain a certain speed while detecting other vehicles.
Auto lane change can help you drive between cars while changing lanes on the highway. Tesla also has several safety features to make driving in heavy traffic safer for you and the other vehicles around you.
What States Allow Tesla Autopilot?
Because the Tesla brand and self-driving vehicles are a new concept, it takes a while for the state legislature to catch up. Currently, Tesla vehicles fall into a “gray zone” in many states. Several states haven’t said if it is legal or not legal to use Tesla’s autopilot features.
Currently, 29 states have enacted legislation involving autonomous vehicles. Here is a list of all the states with enacted legislation:
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
Before driving in any of these states, you should check the specific legislation for each state. While states like California and Washington allow Tesla vehicles to be driven, other states, such as Texas, have banned Teslas from being sold in the state.
The states that are not mentioned above have not enacted any legislation regarding autonomous vehicles. While they haven’t made any laws yet, they probably will in the near future as electric and autonomous vehicles are becoming more common.
One of the conditions of having a vehicle with self-driving capabilities is that the driver is always alert and aware of their surroundings. If you do decide to purchase a Tesla, don’t try reading a book while driving. No matter which state you are in, distracted driving will cause problems.
Where Can You Buy a Tesla with Autopilot?
Believe it or not, most states do not allow selling Tesla vehicles. Of the states that are allowed to sell Tesla’s, they have to be bought directly from Tesla and not at a dealership.
Here are the states that currently allow Tesla’s to be sold:
- New Hampshire
If you want to buy a Tesla, you will need to either travel to one of these states or order your Tesla online. Many states are currently in dispute about whether or not they will allow Tesla vehicles to be sold. Other states don’t have any Tesla showrooms, so the question of whether or not they can be sold has not come up yet.
Here are some states that do not allow selling Teslas:
These states have Tesla showrooms, but the vehicles are not allowed to be directly sold to consumers.
What Is Tesla’s Autopilot?
Now that you are familiar with where autopilot can be used, what exactly is Tesla’s autopilot, and how does it work? Here is the technology that allows Tesla vehicles to have autopilot and self-driving capabilities:
- 8 external cameras
- 12 ultrasonic sensors
- Smart battery
With this technology, Tesla vehicles can detect objects all around them and the speeds at which objects are moving. The system can react within milliseconds, which is much faster than most humans can react. Tesla vehicles can use their cameras to navigate in and out of tight spaces.
The autopilot features that your Tesla has depends on when the vehicle was manufactured and which package you chose. Any Tesla that was built before 2014 will not have the same autopilot features that newer Teslas have. Unfortunately, if you have an older Tesla, it is not possible to install the autopilot features.
For Tesla’s built after 2014, there are two different package options: autopilot and full self-driving capabilities. Keep reading to learn what each package includes!
Of the two Tesla packages, autopilot is the more basic of the two. Tesla cars with autopilot installed have traffic-aware cruise control and autosteer. While these two features help Tesla vehicles on the highway, they do not help in cities or congested areas.
Tesla cars with autopilot are not considered to be self-driving vehicles. They just have high-end cruise control and lane-keeping assistance. Here are the features that autopilot comes with:
Traffic-Aware Cruise Control
The first main feature of Tesla’s autopilot package is traffic-aware cruise control. This feature is similar to the basic cruise control function that comes with most cars, but it has some upgrades.
For example, a car with traffic-aware cruise control can detect the speed of the cars around it. This allows the vehicle to speed up or slow down depending on the traffic conditions.
The other feature that comes with the Tesla autopilot package is autosteer. While using traffic-aware cruise control, autosteer allows the car to navigate between the two lines on the road. The two lines must be well-marked. Even though the Tesla is steering between the two lanes, you still have to keep your hands on the wheel.
Full Self-Driving Capabilities
Tesla’s that have full self-driving capabilities come with traffic-aware cruise control, autosteer, and several other additional features. Here is a full breakdown of all the features that cars with full self-driving capabilities have:
- Traffic-aware cruise control
- Auto lane change
- Navigate on pilot
- Smart summon
- Traffic and stop sign control
Some of these features (traffic and stop sign control and navigation on autopilot) are still in the testing phases. Tesla vehicles that have access to full self-driving capabilities will be able to install new technology as it becomes available.
Here is a breakdown of the self-driving capabilities:
Auto Lane Change
Auto lane change allows your Tesla to change lanes when traffic-aware cruise control and autosteer are activated. This can make navigating traffic easier, and you can continue driving at a steady speed. Auto lane change can help prevent car accidents from switching lanes because the vehicle has cameras and sensors to detect other cars.
Navigate on Pilot
Did you know that you can program your Tesla to drive you where you want and navigate through traffic? The navigate on pilot feature helps with the following:
- Changing lanes
- Getting on/off the highway ramps
- Taking the right exit to get off the highway
- Turning on the turn signal
Navigate on pilots takes self-driving cars to the next level. With navigation on the pilot, the Tesla controls most of the driving. Of course, it is always important to pay attention to the road, directions and watch for other cars while using any of Tesla’s features. The navigate on pilot feature is still in the beta phase, so not available for most Teslas yet.
Have you ever lost your car in a parking lot? What if you could just have it come to you? With Tesla’s smart summon feature, that is now a possibility. Smart summon allows your car to navigate tight spaces or parking lots to come to meet you. The days where you have to hunt down your vehicle are gone.
The summon feature is similar to the smart summon feature. Instead of having your car come to find you in a parking lot, the summon feature allows your car to maneuver itself out of tight spaces. This is especially useful in small, city parking lots.
Traffic and Stop Sign Control
Traffic and stop sign control is another feature that is currently in the beta phase. When the traffic and stop sign control is active, the car will search for red lights and stop signs. When it comes into contact with one, the car will stop on its own. Like always, this feature still requires the driver to pay attention and watch for places to stop.
Tesla is always looking for ways to improve its vehicles. One of the best ways for them to improve is by coming up with more self-driving capabilities. They have recently announced that they are working on a feature to have autosteer on city roads.
While the regular autosteer allows Tesla vehicles to navigate highways, the city autosteer will have the same capabilities, but in the city. The vehicle will keep itself within the road lines while driving.
Autopilot Safety Features
In addition to having several different features to help make driving easier, Tesla’s autopilot also comes with features designed specifically for safety. Here are some of the most common safety features:
- Blind Spot Monitoring: Blind spot monitoring works by detecting vehicles in your blind spot. This prevents hitting another vehicle while changing lanes.
- Emergency Braking: With emergency braking, your Tesla will detect when there are objects in front of you that you may hit. The vehicle will apply the brakes.
- Forward Collision Warning: With a forward collision warning, the Tesla detects vehicles that slam on their brakes or pull out in front of you. Like automatic braking, the vehicle will apply the brakes.
- Lane Departure Avoidance: If the Tesla notices that you drive on or over the road line, it will warn you that you have departed the lane. This is used on the highway.
- Obstacle Aware Acceleration: If you are driving slow, obstacle aware acceleration slows down your vehicle if there are objects in front of you.
- Side Collision Warning: Tesla’s side collision warning watches out for collisions on the side of the vehicle. If it detects a potential collision, it will alert you.
While these safety features are great, you should not rely on them to keep you safe. For example, don’t head full speed towards another vehicle to test if the forward-collision warning system works. These features are to be used only in the case of an emergency.
Limitations of Auto Pilot
While autopilot comes with plenty of great features, it still has a fair amount of limitations. For example, many self-driving features can only be used on highways and not when driving in town.
If you are driving through bad weather conditions with poor visibility, the sensors and cameras on the Tesla may not work as well as they should. Here are some conditions that you should be aware of:
The Tesla cameras and sensors can also be impacted by direct sunlight, a misaligned bumper, or obstructed by objects placed on the vehicle. Before driving your Tesla, always ensure that the cameras and sensors are cleaned, not damaged, and not blocked by objects, such as a bicycle mounted on the vehicle.
Do You Need to Pay Attention While Using Autopilot?
Yes! Even though Tesla vehicles have amazing autopilot and full self-driving capabilities, you always need to pay attention while driving. Autopilot was designed for the driver to always have their hands on the wheel at all times. It was not made to be a fully autonomous feature.
If you do happen to take your hands off the wheel while driving, your Tesla will alert you to put them back on. If you don’t, the alert will continue to grow louder and more constant. If you still refuse to place your hands on the wheel, the autopilot will be disabled.
Before you even start driving, your Tesla will ask you to confirm that you will always pay attention to the road while driving. Here is why it is important to always pay attention while driving:
- Driving conditions may change
- Navigation changes
- Unexpected objects in the road
Do You Want to Try Tesla’s Autopilot Features?
Tesla’s autopilot and full self-driving capabilities can make driving easier and safer. While there are many benefits to using autopilot, make sure that you use it in the right areas and always pay attention to your surroundings. If you need help with autopilot or have more questions, check the owner’s manual in your Tesla to learn more about the features!