When Tesla launched the Model 3 last month, they let a few media drive the new electric car and they gave rides to employees and owners.
During my test drive, I wanted to try the Autopilot, but I was told that it wasn’t activated yet on the Model 3.
Now we get our first look at the level 2 autonomous driving system engaged on Tesla’s latest vehicle.
Like with Model S and Model X, the Autopilot cameras have to be calibrated over several miles before the Autopilot features can be activated.
As we recently reported, the Model 3 will have the same gradually more advanced Autopilot features as Model S and Model X enabled through software updates, but the start of Model 3 production also coincided with an updated Autopilot ‘2.5’ hardware suite with more computing power for autonomous driving.
Model S and Model X are also getting the new hardware suite, but Model 3 still has a few differences, like a new driver-facing camera and a new way for the driver to activate Autopilot with a new gear selector.
Autopilot is now on the gear selector and it can be activated by tapping down twice on the selector.
As far as the user interface, it’s also a big difference since the Model S and Model X’s Autopilot UI is on the instrument cluster, which is nonexistent in Model 3. Instead, it is located on the left side of the center display.
Now early Tesla investor Bill Lee got access to the Model 3 with a working Autopilot and he shared the first video of the Model 3 Autopilot UI engaged:
It gives a good idea of the UI, but obviously, the video is too short to get an idea of how well Autopilot works on the Model 3. Though it is expected to use the same software as Model S and Model X on Autopilot 2.0 and therefore, there shouldn’t be a difference.
Tesla aims to eventually enable fully self-driving capacity on all its vehicles built since October 2016, including Model 3, through future updates and dependent on regulatory approval.
Lee also shared a quick video of the Model 3 air conditioning controls:
Tesla puts a lot of thought into Model 3’s AC – not only the UI to control the airflow, but also the actual vents with two intersecting planes of air for vertical control and lateral fins hidden within the dashboard for horizontal control and a clean look.