With its versatility and ability to operate at long ranges on battery alone, Tesla has struck a chord among the environmentally conscious and forward-minded alike. One of its most attractive features is its autopilot capabilities available on all models. Tesla’s autonomous vehicle models offer comfort, convenience, safety, and peace of mind no matter what class or style of vehicle you prefer.

Tesla Autonomous Driving Experience

Tesla’s autonomous driving features aim for a semi-autonomous experience that relieves driver fatigue by taking on many tasks that are repetitive. You still must be an active and alert participant when operating one of Tesla’s autonomous cars. You can choose from two packages. Autopilot specs, of course, are part of the full self-driving option.


The basic autopilot option offers two major features:

• Auto steering: Tesla came out with more advanced hardware for semi-autonomous driving with 2017 models. HW2 allows for a high-speed auto steering technology that keeps your car in the center of its lane up to 80 miles per hour. Before October 2016, auto steering capabilities worked only up to speeds of 45 miles per hour. Another part of the feature is auto lane change which enables your vehicle to change lanes automatically when you push the turn signal. You must enable and confirm this action.

• Traffic-Aware Cruise Control: Tesla’s cruise control feature considers the surrounding traffic and adjusts your speed to keep a safe following distance from the vehicle ahead of you. Although it functions at speeds of 35 miles per hour and higher, it is not designed for inner-city driving where stops could be frequent.

A close look at Tesla’s autonomous vehicle modelsFull Self-Driving

Although labeled self-driving or autonomous, Tesla emphasizes this package still requires an alert driver behind the wheel to make all operator decisions. There are safety features in place that prevent Tesla models from being self-driving cars. If the Tesla system fails to detect driver input, such as hand pressure on the steering wheel, it will engage the hazard lights and bring the vehicle to a stop. However, the full self-driving package makes freeway driving and parking, especially, less of a burden for the driver.

Auto lane change, as discussed previously, comes with Autosteer and navigates lane changes on the highway with just a flick of the blinker. Summon and Smart Summon help you maneuver your car out of tight spots. The addition of the Smart feature allows your car to navigate towards you in a crowded parking lot even with numerous shopping carts or parked vehicles. Other autonomous driving advances in the Tesla models include handling highway interchanges, exits, and on-ramps and bringing your car to a stop at traffic signs and lights.

How Do Tesla Models Engineer Autonomous Driving?

Your Tesla navigates its surroundings via a complex set of sensors and several cameras. Sophistication jumped with the 2017 Tesla models, but the 2016 Model X is an example that still has one camera and radar capabilities. As of October 2017, Tesla sports eight cameras with over 10 ultrasonic sensors supported by an onboard computer and corresponding software.

Tesla Car Models With Autonomous Driving Capabilities

Model X

With its seven-passenger capacity and large cargo space, the Model X crossover SUV may seem to cater more to people along for the ride than the driver. However, that perspective quickly changes when you peruse the plethora of options such as blind-spot monitors, side and frontal collision warning systems, automated parking and lane change, and two trims. The long-range motor provides about 360 miles between battery charges while the plaid model accelerates to 60 miles per hour in 2.8 seconds with 1020 horsepower. A minimalist exterior with falcon-wing rear doors defies conventions and appeals to multiple generations.

Model X provides standard a two-row five-passenger SUV, but you can also acquire a vehicle that adds a third row to seat six or seven passengers. Most driver options take place on a 17-inch display touchscreen. Seventeen speakers allow you to enjoy HD or satellite radio. Also readily available are USD ports, wireless charging pads, and a navigation system. It has a tow rating of 4,980 pounds.

Model S

The Model S marries a high-performance sedan with an electric powertrain and semi-autonomous driving. The plaid model has not two but three independent motors that allow for acceleration from 0 to 60 mph in under two seconds. A Model S offers a range from 360 to 400 miles between charges. Cameras on the sides of the vehicle and on the front and rear provide the autopilot features you expect in a Tesla such as impact avoidance and automatic lane changes. You can also take advantage of automatic parallel or perpendicular parking and automated navigation of the freeway systems.

Passengers can enjoy separate USB charging ports and a state-of-the-art stereo system with 22 speakers and 960 watts. The 2017 Model S 100 D uses a 100.0-kWh battery instead of the 75.0-kWh standard battery, enabling the car to go further between charges. It also offers variable ride quality to provide a floating sensation when cruising on the highway and rigid performance to navigate hard cornering. Delving further into its autonomous driving features, the 2020 Model S offers automatic emergency braking, leveling headlights, and traction control. You will also get a cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitor.

A close look at Tesla’s autonomous vehicle modelsModel 3

The Model 3 is an all-wheel-drive, dual-motor performance car that comfortably seats five passengers. Wheel torque is under digital control. Drivers almost immediately notice the excellent traction of the tires and, subsequently, superior handling and control. Even used models allow new owners the option to add self-driving capability via an autonomous computer.

Like other Teslas, you can equip the Model 3 with summon, navigate on autopilot, and self-park, to name a few. It is unique with its all-glass roof and boasts a between-battery-charge of 260 to 350 miles.

The 2017 Model 3 comes with a mandatory Premium Upgrade package, with the standard lower-priced versions returning for 2018. Premium upgrades include heated seats, upscale interior materials, four USB ports, two smartphone docking stations, stored custom driver profiles, LED fog lights, powered side mirrors, and a premium stereo system. You can choose the Enhanced Autopilot package, which gives you adaptive cruise control, self-parking, automatic lane-changing, and lane-keeping assistance. Finally, you can opt-in for full self-driving capabilities that you can activate with software as it becomes available.

Model Y

The Model Y is a compact crossover that has an advanced autopilot and progressive semi-autonomous system as standard. There are three trims available in used Models Ys. A Standard Range has a driving range between battery charges of 220 miles compared to 326 miles for the Long Range model and about 300 miles for the Performance Model Y. This SUV seats five passengers with an optional third row and has a roomy cargo. A Standard Range Model Y comes with a rear-wheel-drive while the other versions have AWD.

Many drivers see the Model Y as a taller and more spacious version of the Model 3. The Performance trim accelerates more quickly than the other versions with a lower suspension and 20-inch tires. Model Ys have power door locks and windows, tailgate, LED headlamps and fog and perimeter lights, a 14-speaker audio system for the radio and entertainment media, and heated adjustable powered seats. Autonomous driving features include forward collision warning and mitigation, rear collision alerts, parking sensors, and autopilot lane-keeping assist. You can enjoy further peace of mind with autopilot lane departure warnings and tire-specific low-pressure sensors.