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Use of the Autopilot in Switzerland. A personal experience.

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I bought in Switzerland a Model 3 long range dual motor version in June 2021, and dished nearly 11'000 US$ for the advanced autopilot feature. I am a tech fan had the money so it was the price to pay to have a personal opinion about that technology. How does this compare to my other car, the newest model full option hybrid Lexus 450HL.

Allow me a small digression here: I know that Musk was "officially" against Lidar systems and was for a camera "only" solution. Yes humans use a camera only solution but they have a real "Brain" that Tesla vehicles do not have. Personally I do not follow Musk on this and if he is where he is now with his Autopilot this is because of his stubborn attitude on this. My pragmatic opinion here is that you do not have a real Brain that can extract the needed information, you make up for this lack by adding the sensors that can give you directly that information. This doesn't change the fact that I am a complete fan of what he has done up to now with Tesla and SpaceX and hat's off for having succeeded against all odds to shake to the ground the completely fossilized car industry.

So how it went to use it here in Switzerland?

First a disclaimer :). For those of you that do not know the country, you have a completely different road, street highway topology compared to the USA. Narrow streets full of curves, long stretches of straight road are rare. Cities are all with intertwined street, a high density of people, buses, tramways and car in the city centers. Sometimes you can have crossings with multiple lanes, and then there is a traffic light separate for each lane. You can arrive at a crossing with four, five and many more traffic lights, that can be above placed at the same time on the right side, the left side or in front of you across the street or the crossing. This allows the drivers to see the lights when masked on one side above or in front. In terms of driver safety that's very good but a nightmare for a computer.
Over the last 30 years a majority of small crossings have been replaced with roundabouts. This allows a more fluid natural traffic management and eliminates the lights. You have on many streets multiple bumps to make you slow down. Switzerland is one of the best countries in terms of road signaling. But this means that there is a very high density of road signals and many are painted on the pavement itself. Sometimes painted in white, sometimes in yellow, and you have to see them day and night. The lanes can have multiple lines painted on the pavement in multiple colors to have sub lanes for bicycles, taxis or buses.

Okay this being said how was that Autopilot experience considering the above constraints: Let's be frank a nearly total failure.

To be honest it is not much better than my lane following feature I have with my other car a hybrid Lexus 450HL that has also a 360 camera system and a radar and so it will manage the car speed according to the traffic and follow lanes when they exist. And that is a very sad thing when you consider all the hardware, 8 cameras, extremely powerful CPUs, GPUs, immense processing power, neural networks, AI, etc etc that has gone into the Autopilot. As an engineer I marvel at all this having been myself in robotics, AI, neural nets and machine vision etc. But as a driver I did hope for a little more.

Let's consider first the highway case:
On the Lexus on the highway the maximum time you can have without hands on the steering wheel is 10 seconds and guess what with the Tesla it is worse. Probably this is a legal obligation in Switzerland or Europe who knows. The Autopilot from Tesla comes with a disclaimer that the Autopilot version is different according to the country legal conditions. I did not know this before buying this option but to be honest I would have bought it anyway :). Everybody knows that Switzerland is very far from a "ready to take risks and bet the farm" type of mentality. So for Tesla it is worse than with Lexus, not only you must have the hands on the steering wheel but you get a flashing message saying you must move the wheel before disconnecting. At that point the Autopilot becomes a completely waste of money for the majority of drivers.

Second the city streets case:
My Autopilot is unable to manage the roundabouts, speed bumps which are indicated with painted symbols (means to slow down), multiple lane lines, and will continuously disconnect.

Between my Lexus and Tesla you may be surprised but my Tesla wins.
For one very simple reason. The system I have in my Lexus works very well but will not improve by an inch.
Tesla can upgrade their software "Brain" and I do not despair that things will improve over the coming years.
I am very excited to try every new version and see how all this will evolve. You understood by that that Tesla is also more fun.
Thanks for sharing your experience. Haven't seen this thread before. I'm glad I didn't get FSD in Switzerland. I thought Enhanced Autopilot would be good enough. I hope I remember to let you know once I test it since I should take delivery in a few weeks.

Please do share if something changed in the meantime with other updates.
I have a MY RWD 2023 received end of October 2022.
Only advanced autopilot, no FSD option.
I use it a lot and find it very useful for highway (where I don't have anything to do at all time).
Using it also in city streets, especially when there's a lot of traffic, that actually helps the automated speed (including bumpers, since other vehicles slow down and my MY follows them).
Always been tempted to buy FSD for 3'700 but this would just be giving me the signals and stops recognition?
Automated lane change in highways is part of FSD ?
No summon, etc., due to missing USS in any case ... (it should be however be usable with adv. autopilot and doesn't require the FSD upgrade, if I'm right).
Hi! First: thank you for sharing your experience with the autopilot.

Second: you were very positive about autopilot and trusting that it will improve over time. Did it?

I'm asking because I just bought a 2024 MY and tried fsd and enhanced autopilot then went for a refund on these features. They are useless (dangerous even: speeding going into a roundabout)...

My RAV4 has a speed limiter AND an independent lane assist and those two is really helpful driving through little villages here in Switzerland. And it's better at recognizing speed limit signs (not acting on them, but at least i know at a glance...)

Tesla has the TACC which i have to use if i want lane departure warning, but its not a limiter.

I really miss these simple thing from the Tesla.

Did software got any better since your post? Did it improve as much as you thought it would?

Thanks in advance!
In the meantime I eventually sold my MY 2023 and bought a MX 2018 7-seats, due to family reasons (5 children in total :) ).
I use still the autopilot a lot (no FSD) and the limit recognition is now better than 1 year ago, probably thanks to the updates.

I have summon, park assist and smart summon available, since my MX 2018 has USS (now the park assist is available since few days also for non USS, btw).

The only difference from EAP to FSD is actually the STOP signals and lights that are recognized, nothing more...
But, when I see the FSD 12.4.x from youtube videos, the autonomous driving is quite impressive now ... it turns, pass over difficult crossroads, etc.

For what I understood, no autonomous driving in Europe, yet... that's only for US ?