Tesla is releasing a rare new feature under its Enhanced Autopilot package: Navigate on Autopilot.
Today, the automaker released a new video demonstration of the feature and more details on the rollout.
Navigate on Autopilot was supposed to be in the first release of Tesla’s v9 software update, but they decided to pull it for further validation.
The feature was supposed to enable on-ramp to off-ramp driving on the highway with the system doing all its own lane changes based on speed and the destination entered in the navigation system.
As we reported earlier this week, Tesla started releasing the feature in its 2018.42 software update, but it doesn’t automatically perform the lane changes. Navigate on Autopilot suggests the lane changes and the drivers need to initiate them with the blinker stall.
Now the automaker is releasing the feature to the wider fleet and it explains the change in a blog post:
“While initially the feature will require drivers to confirm lane changes using the turn stalk before the car moves into an adjacent lane, future versions of Navigate on Autopilot will allow customers to waive the confirmation requirement if they choose to. In both of these scenarios, until truly driverless cars are validated and approved by regulators, drivers are responsible for and must remain in control of their car at all times”
Tesla said that owners have already “driven tens of millions of miles to support the validation of Navigate on Autopilot”, but CEO Elon Musk said that they will need about 10 million more miles to make the system automatically initiates the lane changes.
Tesla released a quick video demonstration of Navigate on Autopilot in a Model 3:
Here’s the full Tesla blog post about the release of the feature:
Today in the U.S., we’re beginning to roll out our most advanced Autopilot feature ever: Navigate on Autopilot. Since introducing Software Version 9.0, Tesla owners with Enhanced Autopilot have driven tens of millions of miles to support the validation of Navigate on Autopilot, allowing us to collect performance and safety data at scale, based on real-world driving.
While initially the feature will require drivers to confirm lane changes using the turn stalk before the car moves into an adjacent lane, future versions of Navigate on Autopilot will allow customers to waive the confirmation requirement if they choose to. In both of these scenarios, until truly driverless cars are validated and approved by regulators, drivers are responsible for and must remain in control of their car at all times.
Navigate on Autopilot is an active guidance feature for Enhanced Autopilot that, with driver supervision, guides a car from a highway’s on-ramp to off-ramp, including suggesting and making lane changes, navigating highway interchanges, and taking exits. It’s designed to make finding and following the most efficient path to your destination even easier on the highway when Autopilot is in use. While drivers should always be attentive when using Autopilot, stalk confirmation for lane changes allows us to ensure that drivers are paying attention at the exact moment they need to, and combined with the redundancy of eight external cameras, radar and ultrasonic sensors, it provides an additional layer of safety that two eyes alone would not have.
To use Navigate on Autopilot, drivers must first enable Navigate on Autopilot and Autosteer in the Autopilot settings menu. If Navigate on Autopilot is available on a drive, it can be enabled by selecting the Navigate on Autopilot button in a destination’s turn-by-turn direction list. Once it is in use, our 360-degree visualization on the center display shows a single blue line indicating the suggested path of travel. There are two types of lane changes that Navigate on Autopilot will suggest – route-based lane changes that are designed to keep you on your navigation route, and speed-based lane changes, which are designed to keep your vehicle moving as close to your set speed as possible.
Navigate on Autopilot can be customized to a driver’s preferences, including four settings for speed-based lane changes (Disabled, Mild, Average, or Mad Max). When enabled, Navigate on Autopilot’s speed-based lane changes will suggest transitions into adjacent lanes that are moving faster, in the event that your vehicle is traveling slower than the set cruise speed (for instance, if you approach a slow-moving car or truck ahead). The Mild setting suggests lane changes when you’re traveling significantly slower than your set speed, whereas Mad Max will suggest lane changes when traveling just below your set speed.
Since we launched Autopilot in 2015, more than 1 billion miles of real-world driving data have been used to support the feature. Navigate on Autopilot is built exclusively for our Enhanced Autopilot platform, which includes a powerful onboard computer, ultrasonic sensors, radar, and external cameras that feed our Tesla-developed neural net. Advanced machine learning algorithms allow our cars to collect and process data in milliseconds. The future introduction of our Tesla-developed AI chip with our Full Self-Driving platform will allow the speed at which our system processes data to increase by an order of magnitude and take a meaningful leap toward our full self-driving future.
As more miles are collected with Navigate on Autopilot in use, we will continue to make it even more capable and efficient. Navigate on Autopilot will begin to roll out this week to U.S. customers who have purchased Enhanced Autopilot or Full Self-Driving Capability. The feature will be introduced in other markets in the future pending validation and regulatory approval.