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Autopilot worth the money?

I too punted on Autopilot, as for me that was too much money for what I consider a buggy feature. If I must remain alert to catch the mistakes then I must remain alert and therefore i might as well be driving.

I was of that opinion until I actually started using AP. It's true that you have to stay fully alert, but it does still remove a lot of the monotony of mundane driving, especially in traffic or endless motorway cruising. One thing I have noticed more is how poor many drivers are at simply staying centred in their lane. I notice their wandering (as they get distracted) a lot more than I used to. AP2 is now very accurate, at least as good as I was while fully concentrating. What it isn't very good at is reacting to sudden change e.g. a car suddenly coming across your lane or a sudden change in lane width. That's when you have to be prepared to take over. But when cruising on a well marked road with nothing unusual going on, it's totally bombproof and doesn't get distracted or tired like humans have a tendency to do. TACC is also very competent at following a line of traffic moving at variable speed. You just steer the car without all the tedious throttle and brake action. Again you just have to remain wary of the unexpected e.g. a car in front suddenly braking very heavily - helps if you set following distance to 6 or 7. Two months in and I'm probably using TACC and AP for more than 50% of my driving and that percentage is definitely increasing every week. I'm now so glad I paid for it, but it is very expensive for something I've lived without all my life. For me AP is one of the key features that sets Tesla apart from much of its competition and makes the car so interesting to drive.
 

WannabeOwner

Well-Known Member
Nov 2, 2015
7,261
4,014
Suffolk, UK
I was of that opinion until I actually started using AP. It's true that you have to stay fully alert, but it does still remove a lot of the monotony of mundane driving, especially in traffic or endless motorway cruising.

^^ This too :)

@dhrivnak I didn't believe what I read about AP reducing fatigue until I had owned it and used it. Agreed being asleep in the back of the car would mean I arrived even more rested :) and I definitely would not have believed that a hand on the wheel (doing nothing, except "being ready" and providing some rotational-torque to signal to AP that I am holding the wheel) would be any less tiring than actually driving. I still find it hard to believe that all those micro-adjustments to steering that I make, when driving manually, amount to fatigue ... but that's been my finding: I have found that AP makes a significant, tangible, difference.
 
I agree that £5700 is too much. I also agree that TACC should have been routinely included in the purchase price of a £100k + vehicle and perhaps leave the rather problematic 'auto steer' feature as an option for when it becomes reliable. For me it was just the cost which stopped me opting for it. I decided that other 'non-retro fit' options were more important such as 7 seats, cold weather, leather seats and premium interior. Now, sadly, it seems very unlikely that i'll ever be able to justify the AP option, when the same money would pay for a really nice family holiday. Then there is the company car tax. Mine is a company car so I'd be taxed on AP, at least until the BIK reverts to zero in 2020.
 
A Tesla without AP? Surely you jest! All kidding aside, the TACC features of AP are worth every penny in a place like California where we drive long distances and suffer daily traffic jams. If you have any traffic at all, it will change your life.
You appear to have strayed onto the UK forum. Anything related to driving in California bears no relation to UK road conditions.
 

Electroman

Well-Known Member
Aug 18, 2012
7,527
11,067
TX
Read this review from Medium

Autopilot
I had read quite a bit about Autopilot and watched a few YouTube videos, but even with that preparation, I was blown away by how well it actually works. As a preface, I live on the North shore of Maui, and we don’t have highways to speak of here, just twisty divided roads. Being an engineer, I can’t resist using Autopilot whenever I can engage it (being safe, of course). The performance is really, really good—it’s smooth, neatly follows cars in stop and go traffic, glides to a smooth stop when it needs to, and picks up poorly marked lanes at night and in the rain.

The thing I didn’t realize was that even with hands on the wheel and paying attention to the road, having Autopilot engaged reduced the cognitive load of driving, and made me feel safer. Feeling it making slight adjustments to lane position and to speed for the car ahead is a huge help and I missed it when I was dropping off the poor Leaf for good. The closest I’ve personally come to accidents in the last few years was almost rear-ending the car in front of me, and veering into another lane—both scenarios that Autopilot can greatly help with.
 
The closest I’ve personally come to accidents in the last few years was almost rear-ending the car in front of me, and veering into another lane—both scenarios that Autopilot can greatly help with.

And I think we can all say the same thing if we are honest. Anyone who says they have never veered slightly out of their lane while distracted or had a near miss when braking too late is lying. I see people veering out of motorway lanes every single day and often have to steer slightly (or occasionally a lot) to avoid getting too close. Tailgating is also extremely commonplace and actually more common than people driving with a safe gap in front. Basically most people tailgate to some extent and wouldn't be able to stop if the car in front suddenly slammed on the brakes.

There is no doubt in my mind that AP is safer IF used appropriately. Unfortunately that's the achilles heel of all semi-autonomous driving aids. Some idiots will abuse it and cause accidents. But probably the same idiots who cause accidents anyway. It just gives them an excuse.
 

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