Tesla’s Enhanced Autopilot software upgrade has been available in other regions at different times, but today, it arrived in Australia. This package is priced at A$5,100 which is likely to be a little more appealing than the A$10,100 for the FSD Capability.
Tesla’s Autonomy stop is essentially delivered in the following 4 tiers.
Every Tesla ships with Autopilot which can be enabled where lane lines are present and will center your car in the lane while adapting to the cars ahead of you.
This works exceptionally well, with drivers often stepping out of the vehicle after a long drive with a lot more energy, having experienced a reduced mental load as the car handles these basic components of driving.
Autopilot also detects speed zones and adjusts the car automatically to the posted limit. It can also slow the vehicle ahead of tight corners.
This suite of enhancements includes Navigate on Autopilot, Auto Lane Change, Autopark, Summon, Smart Summon. These are many of the features from the Full Self-Driving package, for some, this will be a great option and a significant saving from the full FSD upgrade price.
Navigate on Autopilot
Basic Autopilot is great, but when you look down and see you’re travelling 20km/hr below the maximum allowed speed due to a slow car ahead, you’ll wish there was another way. To overtake, you need to disengage Autopilot, make the overtake and then re-enage.
If you’re someone that often takes road trips, or has a long commute, there is a better option – NoA.
With NoA enabled, you’re car can automatically overtake slower vehicles and take you on-ramp to off-ramp, making highway driving a breeze. This feature has a number of options, like how aggressive the lane changes are and if you require a stalk confirmation before making the lane change.
While not perfect, NoA is a great window into the future of Autonomy where even more of the driving task is performed for you. Right now you are still responsible for the vehicle and it’s not perfect, but is smart enough to move out of the passing lane to avoid frustrating other drivers and potentially risking a fine where signed to stay left unless overtaking.
Auto Lane Change
If you travel anywhere on a double-lane divided roads road, you’ll have the option of simply throwing on the indicator and having the car perform the lane change automatically for you.
Easily one of the most refined features of the suite, the car constantly monitors the other vehicles around the car and when you request a lane change, the car calculates the available space to merge, compared to the dimensions of the vehicle and space/time required to complete the merge. Tesla will only make the change if it is safe to do so and where there is traffic, it waits and even slows to make the lane change.
This is so good, it is getting awfully close to removing the need to turn your head to check your blind spots.
Parking in tight spots is never fun, it’s a situation that requires precise maneuvers to avoid hitting cars, gutters, signs and other objects around. Many drivers feel pressure when reverse parallel parking or reverse perpendicular parking, as you may be holding up traffic. Thankfully there is a solution.
Tesla’s Autopark was very basic when it first launched, requiring adjacent cars to be enabled. Thankfully it has evolved over time and now works by simply driving past a parking spot and you will a ‘P’ appear on the display for available parks.
Shift the car into reverse, then tap ‘Start’ to begin the process. Your car will move into the spot, rotating the wheel as necessary, then moving forward to position itself in the center of the parking bay and complete the move.
Autopark does not currently support Angled parking.
Using your mobile app, you can connect to the car, tap the steering wheel icon to launch Summon. The basic version enables you to move the car forward or backwards by pressing and holding up or down arrows on the screen.
This is most useful for moving the car into or out of a tight garage, or out of a puddle.
Available for use only in car parks, Smart Summon also enables the car to turn, enabling much more functionality. The dream here is that you come out of a shopping center, fire up the app and ask the car to come pick you up, all without a driver.
To use this feature, open the mobile app again, select the wheel icon from the Controls menu and you are presented with a map. You can select from a basic map, or using aerial imagery.
As long as you’re within the displayed proximity to the car, you can pan around the map to position a target location to drive to. Tapping ‘Go to Target’ will see the car create a route to between its current position and your selected destination. The car slowly drives the route monitoring and pausing for any pedestrians, animals etc, but you are expected to monitor the car and lifting your finger stops the car almost instantly.
The other option you have is to switch to ‘Come to me’ mode. This means the car creates a dynamic route between its location parked and your location.
Smart Summon is definitely still in development and needs to be monitored closely. While not specifically listed in the bullet points on the website, reverse smart summon where the car drops you off and goes to find an available park has also been shown and promoted by Tesla.
Full Self-Driving Capability
The full FSD package started at A$7,100 when the Model 3 was first launched back in 2019. It quickly rose to A$8,500 and now to A$10,100.
This includes all the features above, but also supports Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control. This means you will never run a red light or stop sign, the car recognises these signs using computer vision, and stops accordingly for them.
When the light turns green you can enable a chime to remind you to proceed through the intersection.
If you’re travelling through an intersection with lights and that light is green, you will need to confirm by tapping your accelerator or by pressing the stalk to confirm your entry through the lights. If you’re not the lead car, you will follow the car ahead without intervention. This is likely to change over time, but has been the case since this feature was introduced a couple of years ago.
The final item of the package is a promise for the future – Autosteer on city streets.
Full Self-Driving Beta
FSD Beta is not yet available in Australia but is being developed in America and Canada with more than 100,000 Tesla owners. The Beta includes updated visualisations (that can go fullscreen) where much more of the environment around the car is represented on screen. This enables the occupants to be reassured the car understands what’s around it.
The biggest, most transformative feature offered is the ability for the car to take corners, roundabouts, give way, then continue, slow for speed bumps and even starting to recognise emergency vehicles. The car will also change lanes to be in the right turning lane to take the most efficient route and unlikely many other autonomous solutions, are not restricted to a specific zone or even city.
With the majority of people’s driving occurring on city streets, this is the most important feature for Autonomy and if Tesla can stitch the low (Summon), medium (City Streets) and high (NoA) together, they’ll have a pretty compelling autonomous solution.
There is no hard timeline for FSD Beta to arrive in Australia, however Elon Musk recently replied to Tesla in the Gong on Twitter, suggesting it will probably be later this year.
New FSD Beta software updates are rolling out (typically every two weeks) and a growing number of Beta users are reporting zero-intervention drives.
As it stands today, the driver is currently still responsible for their vehicle, although the task of monitoring is a lot easier than driving yourself. Tesla is moving to a point where their software is good enough, that they will release it to all who purchase or subscribe to the package.
Overall the new addition of Enhanced Autopilot will delight many users who wanted the features but didn’t like the price. If you buy EAP this now, you then have an option to upgrade to FSD, with no price penalty for taking two steps to get there. Just be aware that price changes can occur at any time.
For those who are buying Model Ys, this is a great time to consider this option, just make sure you do it after you get the car and avoid additional Luxury Car Tax if you added it while placing your order.