What You Need to Know about Tesla Autopilot Making Turns

What You Need to Know about Tesla Autopilot Making Turns

Tesla Autopilot is one of the most exciting and new technologies to come to the auto world. With the technology being so new, it is good to understand its capabilities. The Autopilot is a technology built into a Tesla that is their Self-Driving function.

The Tesla Autopilot function has the ability to make left and right turns. Highly refined cameras, sensors, and powerful computers make Tesla Autopilot safe for making turns. Although it can drive on its own, the driver must fully be aware and alert when utilizing Autopilot. 

Although Tesla is very advanced in technology, knowing its limits is important as well. As a consumer of Tesla, knowing the pros and cons of the vehicle will assist the user in getting full access to all the features. This functionality brings a new experience to the driver and makes their commute more efficient. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about Tesla Autopilot making turns.

Tesla Autopilot Making Turns

Autopilot on Tesla is extremely intuitive. The system can clearly turn on its own with the properly working sensors and cameras. It has the features to measure the distance of curbs, people and other cars.

  • This technology is one of a kind and brings on a new driving experience
  • Tesla claims that this technology will make roads safer as it can process data faster than the user can react

Tesla performs perfectly legal turns from either turn lane as long as the lines are marked correctly. The driver can grab the wheel at any time and make the necessary corrections. The autopilot feature is amazing and gets us one step closer to cars driving completely autonomously.

How Tesla Cameras and Sensors Function While Turning

According to Tesla, their cars use a series of sensors and cameras to identify traffic and obstacles around the vehicle. Vehicles are equipped with eight cameras, twelve ultrasonic sensors, and an advanced computer onboard.

These sensors allow for a visual map of the road when the autopilot function is enabled. Car and Driver took the Model 3 for a test drive and the 70-mile loop it endured. The ultrasonic sensors capture a 360 view plus some additional sight on the front. Having this sight allowed the car to make interchanges between highways and merge on/off.

The system requires the driver’s attention to be present at all times. It has built-in engagements the driver must complete. These fail-safes are there to ensure that the car is not solely autonomous. The sensors gauge the distance the vehicle is away from an object.

Tesla takes the data from the sensors and completes the calculations within the computer. This algorithm then coordinates the moves the Tesla needs to make to make the turn.

Tesla’s sensors and cameras are arguably the best on the market. Their ability to identify objects and process the data in real-time makes them spectacular. When watching videos of the auto-pilot features in action, it is hard to believe this is real.

Knowing how and when to utilize this technology places a lot of responsibility on the driver. Forbes reported that the success of the Tesla system is because it is actively processing data and is connected to Tesla computers. Having this accessibility to real-time data back to Tesla can make software improvements and push them out to the cars quickly and effectively.

Auto-Steering Functionality

Tesla indicates the auto-steering functionality can navigate the road when marked clearly and weather conditions are good. Having this functionality allows Tesla to be semi-autonomous, allowing Tesla to make the correct turns.

A series of systems must work together for the Auto-Steering functionality to work.

  • Tesla Autopilot: The system that allows Tesla vehicles to make turns.
  • Auto-Lane Change: A Tesla Autopilot feature that facilitates the process of making turns.

A recent video by Insideev shows a Tesla vehicle making a perfect left-hand turn in a two-lane turn lane at a green light. With the sensors and autopilot functionality, it followed the marked line through the turn. The driver should be active and alert to grab the wheel at any time.

The user should keep their hands near the wheel when turning, it turns as though the driver is turning the wheel. Should an object be in the way of the vehicle, the driver can correct mid-turn. It is a sight to see, watching a car turn on its own while the driver is sitting back.

Although this technology is remarkable, being alert to your surroundings is important for any successful drive with a Tesla vehicle. These functions do not come with the standard Tesla vehicle and need to be paid for and installed at an extra cost. Reading the safety book is very important when relying on these features.

Auto-lane Change: How Teslas Make Turns

Similar to the autopilot feature, the auto-lane change feature uses sensors and cameras to view objects around the vehicle. Tesla reports their sensors and cameras have a range of 528-feet.

With a sight of 528-feet, Tesla can carry out a sequence of maneuvers to avoid a traffic accident. The data points provided from the cameras and sensors allow the vehicle to make critical decisions on when to change a lane.

Using the auto-navigation system, enter the final destination and let Tesla do the rest. Using Google Maps, the system will use the most up-to-date information about road conditions, roadblocks, and the fastest route to the destination.

As with any other up-to-date feed, Google Maps may not have all the incidents or construction zones available to the car. The driver should continue to monitor road conditions and surrounding traffic.

Capabilities Tesla Cannot Perform

One of the biggest hurdles the autopilot function has not been able to overcome is weather conditions. According to Tesla, when there is poor visibility, fog, or heavy rain, the system does not perform and should not be engaged.

The system cannot identify obstacles when engaged during poor weather conditions. Check weather conditions for the day sudden weather changes can negatively impact Tesla’s ability to perform. When making a left or right-handed turn Tesla will use the sensor to gauge the distance in some cases it has been reported that in auto-lane change mode, Tesla comes too close to an object.

CNN Business reported that it happened in two instances on a highway resulting in the driver re-engaging in control of the vehicle. While CNN reported most functionalities worked 99% of the time, this would be one of the most concerning. Knowing the areas that a Tesla is not strong will make the driving experience more pleasant.

Although Tesla is the smartest technology on the market, keeping an eye on these are crucial:

  • Weather
  • Poor Lane Lines
  • Over-correction

Being a driver of any vehicle is a large responsibility, but when control is handed to a computer, being conscious and aware of the surroundings is even more crucial. Before using the auto-pilot function on Tesla, make sure all driving conditions are at their best.

Tesla uses a series of data points that are all over the roads. Lane lines are a good indication that the vehicle will follow the road and be used when turning. The sight of Tesla sensors is far, but watching for pedestrians when making a turn is important.


Tesla Autopilot is an advanced technology that allows for lane changes and turns to be made when driving a Tesla. Sensors and cameras are important for ensuring Tesla vehicles turn safely. This technology is not perfect yet and will require you to pay attention when in front of the wheel, but it is safe to use on the road.  


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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