Here’s some news regarding Tesla’s ongoing flip-flop on the driving automation front. Earlier this week, the company brought back the Enhanced Autopilot package. The catch? It costs $6000.
First introduced in October 2016, Enhanced Autopilot (EAP) was the original next level of Autopilot. In early 2019, Tesla removed EAP when it conjured up the snake oil that’s Full-Self Driving (FSD).
And the revival of Enhanced Autopilot makes a lot of sense.
Tesla Autopilot vs Enhanced Autopilot vs Full-Self Driving
As of late Jun 2022, there are three tiers of autonomous driving when you get a Tesla, as shown in the table below.
|Autopilot||Default||Included||– Traffic-Aware Cruise Control
|$6000 upfront||All features of Autopilot plus:
– Navigate on Autopilot
– Auto Lane Change
– Smart Summon
|All Features of Enhanced Autopilot plus:
– Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control (beta)
– Autosteer on city streets (Coming Soon)
Note that all Teslas of the model year 2019 and later are capable of these features — no additional hardware is needed. If you don’t know what each entails, click the box below to learn more.
The breakdown of Tesla’s driving automation
Below is the breakdown of Tesla’s driving automation.
Autopilot includes the following functionality and features:
- Traffic-Aware Cruise Control: Matches the speed of your car to that of the surrounding traffic
- Autosteer: Assists in steering within a clearly marked lane, and uses traffic-aware cruise control
In addition to the functionality and features of Autopilot, Enhanced Autopilot also includes:
- Navigate on Autopilot: Actively guides your car from a highway’s on-ramp to off-ramp, including suggesting lane changes, navigating interchanges, automatically engaging the turn signal, and taking the correct exit.
- Auto Lane Change: Assists in moving to an adjacent lane on the highway when Autosteer is engaged.
- Autopark: Helps automatically parallel or perpendicular park your car, with a single touch.
- Summon: Moves your car in and out of a tight space using the mobile app or key.
- Smart Summon: Your car will navigate more complex environments and parking spaces, maneuvering around objects as necessary to come to find you in a parking lot.
Full Self-Driving Capability
In addition to the functionality and features of Autopilot and Enhanced Autopilot, Full Self-Driving Capability also includes:
Traffic and Stop Sign Control (Beta): Identifies stop signs and traffic lights and automatically slows your car to a stop on approach, with your active supervision
(Upcoming:) Autosteer on city streets
Enhanced Autopilot is the real deal
Before this, since 2019, Full-Self Driving has included everything above Autopilot. But it has never been out of beta, and nobody knows what it can do when or if it becomes finalized.
After having broken the FSD promise times and times again, Tesla now moved all portions of Full-Self Driving that are actually working — albeit with different degrees — into a new and lower-tier and called it Enhanced Autopilot.
Or you can look at this as the company has moved FSD to a new their that includes portions that haven’t worked and woken up the original tier that’s Enhanced Autopilot that works.
In my experience, EAP’s features work because they are within the car’s hardware capability.
Specifically, lane-changing on freeways, auto parking, and remote control at slow speed require human supervision and can rely on the car’s cameras via the so-called “Tesla Vision“. And they work even better on RADAR-equipped Teslas.
And personally, I like “Summon” the most.
On the other hand, the “Autosteer on city streets” notion, if taken at face value, of Full-Self Driving can only work reliably when the car has additional sensors, such as LIDAR, and, therefore, will never come to fruition in Tesla’s existing fleet. That’s why it has always been in beta.
Full-Self Driving is a lie
Bringing back Enhanced Autopilot is a good move on Tesla’s part.
For the company, getting $6000 is much better than nothing, considering fewer and fewer folks opting for FSD due to the cost. For the consumer, the still high cost aside, Enhanced Autopilot at least indeed gives them something for their money.
And frankly, with Enhanced Autopilot, there’s no reason anyone should even consider getting Full-Self Driving upfront. And if (or when) EAP becomes viable via subscription, I’d consider getting it myself. As mentioned, the “Summon” feature can come in handy on a daily basis.
Here’s the kicker: Those who have already bought FSD in full might now wish they could downgrade it to Enhanced Autopilot and get a refund — they’ve never been able to enjoy it more than what EAP has to offer anyway.
Unfortunately, considering the full self-driving notion has been a scam from the get-go, downgrading is unlikely an option.