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Video of Tesla in full self-driving mode gives us a glimpse into the future of travel

Published Sep 3rd, 2019 7:37PM EDT
Tesla Autopilot
Image: Ena/AP/REX/Shutterstock

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When a story involving Tesla’s Autopilot feature makes the news, it’s typically due to an accident or an offbeat video of a driver caught falling asleep at the wheel. Those incidents aside, the reality is that Tesla’s Autopilot has improved by leaps and bounds over the past few years. And though we’re seemingly still a long ways away from Level 5 autonomy becoming a mainstream feature, Tesla continues to roll out noticeable performance improvements with each passing year.

In light of that, a Tesla video from a few months ago is making the rounds yet again and is worth revisiting. The video shows a Tesla Model 3 in full self-driving mode handling all sorts of traffic situations as it cruises along a highway at speeds as high as 75 MPH. Notably, the video also shows the Model 3 handling off-ramps and on-ramps with relative ease.

There are also a few lane switches and instances where the Tesla expertly handles stop signs that are worth paying close attention to.

As Tesla notes on its website, its full self-driving package includes the following:

  • Navigate on Autopilot (Beta): 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
  • Coming later this year:
    Recognize and respond to traffic lights and stop signs
    Automatic driving on city streets

The video aside, it’s worth mentioning that Elon Musk over the past few months hasn’t been too pleased with the progress Tesla’s Autopilot team has been making as he seeks to make full self-driving a practical reality. In short, Musk wants the software to improve at a much faster clip than it is currently. Consequently, Musk this past July decided to shake up the Autopilot team, which is to say that some employees were let go while others were given more responsibility. Speaking to the arguable state of disarray that the Autopilot team is in, it’s been reported that 10% of the team has left over the last few months alone.

All that aside, the reality remains that the current incarnation of Tesla’s autonomous features has done an impressive job of preventing serious accidents on the road, as evidenced by the video below.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.