Over six years ago, Tesla released a software update to the Model S that introduced the electric vehicle universe to options for self-driving technology, which led to Tesla enhanced autopilot and now what currently is called full self-driving. These AI-based approaches enabled automation within the car to control acceleration, braking and steering. Imagine that – a car that drives itself!
But then, in 2019, Tesla started to no longer offer the enhanced autopilot option for new cars. Only the two options of base autopilot functionality and the full self-driving premium version were available on new Tesla vehicles.
Fast forward to 2022. There’s been a ton of advancement in self-driving software over the years. And not just by Tesla, but by industry leaders like Waymo, General Motors/Cruise, Mercedes and Ford, to name a few. Electric car automated features cover all sorts of driver needs. Examples are self and parallel parking, self highway and city driving, lane keep assistance, collision warnings and avoidance, and adaptive cruise control. Over time, we should expect even more.
Big news from the auto industry on self-driving automation is typically announced across the globe with much fanfare. Not so with Tesla. Recently, in typical Tesla fashion, they quietly rolled out a return of enhanced autopilot. Let’s discuss what this means for Tesla owners and the broader electric car community.
Tesla Enhanced Autopilot: What is it?
In most newer Tesla models, there are now three options for autopilot features: standard autopilot, enhanced autopilot, and full self driving.
The base level is standard autopilot, which comes included on every new Tesla. Features in the standard version are lane-keeping assistance, blind spot safety features, emergency braking and adaptive cruise control.
Enhanced autopilot is a step up from the standard version. You get all those same features, plus some really slick extras. The enhanced version adds navigate on autopilot, auto lane change, autopark, summon, and smart summon. Learn more about all these features on Tesla’s website here.
The most premium option is full self-driving. It boasts all the same features from standard and enhanced, plus the ability to identify stop signs and traffic lights to adjust your speed accordingly. This version has a lot of exciting new features on the roadmap as well, such as autosteering on city streets.
Tesla Enhanced Autopilot: How much does it cost?
The standard autopilot functionality comes as a no-cost option for all new Teslas. If you want to bump up to Tesla enhanced autopilot, you’ll need to invest $6k. Considering everything you get from this upgrade, it seems like a no-brainer. Should you want to try out the full self-driving version, it’s a big step up to $12k.
Tesla Enhanced Autopilot: Should I get it?
The million dollar question: should you get enhanced autopilot? In our opinion, the additional features you get over the standard version are pretty impressive. While full self-driving is very enticing, it remains in beta mode, where some features have kinks that are still being worked out. It also comes at double the cost. If you are tech inclined but don’t want to be a beta tester or pay twice as much for full self-driving, then enhanced autopilot might be right in the sweet spot.
True full self-driving is still probably years away from being fully tested and ready for prime time. We think the broader EV owner community remains hesitant to transition to that level of driving autonomy. While automakers develop and test these capabilities, in the meantime, Tesla enhanced autopilot is an attractive option for the foreseeable future.