What is Tesla’s Autopilot all about (Part 2/2)?

References in this post are taken from Vehicle Manual of Model S published publicly on May 16 2019.

This post is a continuation of previous post. You can read it, if not read already, to understand on Safety Features.

Convenience features (Available on based on the package chosen) are:

1. Autopilot features package:

  • Traffic-Aware Cruise Control (TACC) : It has two settings, Cruise Speed (anywhere between 30 km/h and 150 km/h) and Following Distance (1 the closest and 7 the longest). If no vehicle is detected in front, it maintains the set Cruise Speed without any acceleration input from the driver. If any vehicle is detected in front, it maintains the Following Distance set by user by decelerating and accelerating as required. It can also adjust the speed to cruise the curves. Overtake Acceleration: It is part of TACC, used to overtake vehicle in front. It is activated by using turn signals and holding it, while TACC is active, until front vehicle is overtaken. After activation, driving speed will be increasing slow as to overtake front vehicle but limiting to the set Cruise Speed.
Source: https://gfycat.com/
  • Autosteer : It is similar to Steering Intervention but it works along with TACC to keep the vehicle in its driving lane while maintaining the Cruise speed and Following distance. Without Autosteer, vehicle might move out of its current lane if the road has curves.
Source: https://navoshta.com

2. Full Self-Driving Capability package (It is not Level 5 Automation package though):

  • Auto lane change : It is additional to Autosteer, which helps to move into adjacent lanes by activating turn indicators. When Auto lane change is engaged, it looks for vehicles and obstacles in target lanes. When it is appropriate to perform the change, it steers to adjacent lane.
  • Stop Light Warning: It can warn driver if Autosteer is active and is about to drive through a Stop signal or a Stop sign.
  • Navigate on Autopilot: It uses TACC, Autosteer and Auto lane change effectively to navigate along the route that has been set, without any driver intervention (provided the settings are set accordingly). So vehicle would perform automatic lane changes, follows the lanes through the navigation route, overtakes any slow moving vehicles if any in front and exits at off ramps and interchanges automatically.
  • Autopark : It can allow vehicle to perform parallel and perpendicular parking on its own if activated. First it detects parking slot based on the Ultrasonic sensor inputs, provided the speed is <10 mph for perpendicular parking and <15 mph for parallel parking. While actual algorithm to detect parking slot is complex, its working on high level is: If presence of a stationary vehicle is detected and after some time gap if second stationary vehicle gets detected, the distance between the vehicle is computed based on the time gap across detection and average speed at which the car was moving between the stationary vehicles (distance = speed * time). If this distance and the width measured is sufficient enough for a car to be parked, ‘P’ icon appears on parking position. If driver engages reverse gear and starts the auto parking, vehicle maneuvers on its own until parking is complete.
  • Summon: It lets you to control your vehicle in forward and reverse from outside using mobile app and key. It can be used to move the vehicle in and out of parking space and can be summoned only for a limited distance that can be set by user in customize settings menu. Other settings are to adjust the clearance to be maintained while moving / parking in a compact space. While Summon can only move the vehicle in front and back under driver control, Enhanced Summon can steer as well, to reach the driver, on its own.

While Autopilot has lot of features working together to bring in autonomous driving, monitoring of environment lies with the driver as well. All cannot be delegated though 🙂

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