The Enhanced Autopilot is coming to the US, so hands on the wheel.
The hits just keep on coming for Tesla's semi-autonomous driving software. The Full Self Driving (FSD) is a super pricey but controversial technology found on Tesla models. While the carmaker claims the tech might be lightyears ahead of competitors, there still have been several reported issues with FSD. And while a radar patent by Tesla might hint at future news, there is confirmation that Enhanced Autopilot is coming to US cars with some FSD features but at half the price.
The standard Autopilot tech needs refinement, mainly Traffic-Aware Cruise Control that was clearly braking for "obstacles" that it probably shouldn't have on the 2022 Tesla Model 3, a phenomenon known as "phantom braking."
To clarify, Autopilot refers to the lane-keeping steering inputs and the adaptive cruise control that adjusts with the flow of traffic. As traffic ebbs and flows and/or changes in speed, the tech accelerates or brakes to maintain a user-set distance that drivers are comfortable with. It's already on board the cars, but the full FSD has become very cost-prohibitive.
The current cost is $12,000 to add the full self-driving even though it debuted at under half that. Sorry, but if there was advanced RADAR or LIDAR involved, then yes, we can justify that cost, but at the current level this seems steep given the hardware is already included. Now, Tesla has introduced Enhanced Autopilot in test markets to bridge that leap in cost.
The Enhanced Autopilot or EAP is the core Autopilot tech with a handful of FSD capabilities. The concept isn't new, however. Back in 2017, there was a similar offering, which was essentially a version of Autopilot that buyers could upgrade to full FSD for an extra few thousand dollars. Now it makes sense for Elon to engage a number of buyers who were not feeling that $12K upcharge or even worse, three times that for vegan interior upgrades.
The new tech will feature a couple of highlights from the full AI drive experience. The Enhanced Autopilot will offer Navigate on Autopilot, Auto Lane Change, Autopark along with our favorite features: Summon and Smart Summon. But elements like full self-nav, street sign reading and city driving are all still off-limits to EAP.
Currently available in Australia for $5,100 AUD (roughly $3,555 USD at today's rates), the EAP tech appears to represent great value. But remember to keep both hands on the wheel at all times.