Tesla has just announced an update to Nav on Autopilot, a feature allowing you to do an entire highway trip with just a hand on the wheel for safety. Previously, in order to change lanes the driver would have to manually confirm the process by simply toggling the turn stalk. Now, Teslas are one step closer to full self driving by making these lane changes 100% on their own.
Since we first introduced Navigate on Autopilot last year, Tesla drivers have traveled more than 66 million miles using the feature, and more than 9 million suggested lane changes have been successfully executed with the feature in use. We’ve heard from our customers that it makes road trips and highway driving more relaxing, enjoyable and fun, and gives them an easy way to follow their car’s navigation guidance when traveling on an unfamiliar route.
Although the tech sounds futuristic and like someone out of a sci-fi movie, it is not yet complete. Drivers are still told to pay full attention to the road ahead and keep a hand on the wheel. Any incidents or accidents while under Autopilot or Nav on Autopilot are fully set on the driver.
Tesla has also rolled out three new settings for Nav on Autopilot. One in which you can enable the feature as soon as you start your trip, another where you can revert back to having to confirm lane changes, and the last where the car can initiate a lane change on your behalf with just a notification. Drivers can choose whether that notification is visual, audible, or both. All cars built after August 2017 will have their steering wheels vibrate as an alert as well.
Each of these notifications are meant to provide drivers with the opportunity to check their surroundings and determine whether they want to cancel the lane change before it’s made.
Cancelling a lane change is the same as canceling Autopilot. You simply turn the steering wheel slightly or tap the brakes. You can also cancel by pressing an on screen button before the lane change begins.
This feature does not make a car autonomous, and lane changes will only be made when a driver’s hands are detected on the wheel. As has always been the case, until truly driverless cars are validated and approved by regulators, drivers are responsible for and must remain in control of their car at all times.
Tesla claims that over half a million miles have been driven with no confirmation Nav on Autopilot through their early access program and internal testing. The company claims that their data shows that Nav on Autopilot both with and without lane change confirmation offer “comparable levels of safety.”
This update will be available for anyone who has purchased Enhanced Autopilot or the Full Self-Driving Package. The Update will begin to roll out today, presumably slowly as always. The U.S. will receive no confirmation Nav on Autopilot first while the rest of the world must wait for their local regulatory approval.