April 2019 – Tesla changed its Autopilot lineup in early 2019 to simplify its offerings and more clearly distinguish between basic driver assistance functions and autonomous driving capabilities. The big news is that Full Self-Driving is back and inherits many of the autonomous features from Enhanced Autopilot, which is no longer offered.
A Brief Background
Previously Autopilot had three tiers:
- ‘Standard’ Autopilot – standard and free which included active safety like Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB)
- Enhanced Autopilot – a paid option that included auto steering plus distance cruise-control, summon, autopark and Navigate-on-Autopilot.
- Full Self-Driving which was a prepaid option and supposed to be fully autonomous Level 5 (what do Levels mean?) driving.
The grand promise of autonomous Full Self-Driving never materialized and only added confusion as a prepaid option, so Tesla removed it. However, it Tesla kept adding more-and-more autonomous features, like Navigate-on-Autopilot to the Enhanced Autopilot tier, muddying the waters and leaving everyone to wonder what “Full Self-Driving” really meant and when it will finally be released.
With the recent changes, Tesla is now drawing a line that makes a clear distinction between assisted driving features, now simply called Autopilot and autonomous driving features that fall into the Full-Self Driving bucket. Active safety features are no longer branded and included as a baseline feature with every Tesla sold.
The New Lineup
The new Autopilot lineup now includes the following tiers:
- Autopilot – This is basic driver assistance as found in most other cars with autopilot today. It’s included with all vehicles.
- Stop-and-Go Adaptive Cruise Control. (called Traffic-Aware Cruise Control – TACC). This will follow other cars, stop in traffic and automatically resume.
- Automatic Steering / Lane Centering. This keeps the vehicle in the lane when used with TACC above.
- Assisted Lane Changes. When using both TACC + Automatic Steering, a driver can use the turn signal to automatically change lanes when it’s clear.
- Full Self-Driving – This option contains the autonomous driving features that are generally more exclusive to Tesla. Pricing: $6,000.
- Navigate-on-Autopilot. When a destination is entered, the vehicle can fully navigate itself to the destination (currently only on freeways from on-ramp to exit and with a confirmation for lane changes).
- Summon. Allows the vehicle to be summoned from its current location to another location. Currently, in a simple straight line, but Tesla is promising parking lots in the future.
- Autopark. This allow the vehicle to park itself in both parallel and perpendicular spots.
- Traffic Light & Stop Sign Recognition. Future promise, TBD what this means exactly (e.g. stopping vs. warning the driver, etc.).
- Automatic City Driving. Future feature, TBD what this meas exactly.
What About Enhanced Autopilot?
Enhanced Autopilot (EAP) is no longer offered, but for customers who already purchased, they will keep the functionality available to them prior to March 1, 2019. See more in the FAQs below.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Q: What if I already bought Enhanced Autopilot (EAP)?
A: If you previously purchased Enhanced Autopilot, you’ll retain all the functions available up until February of 2019 (generally software update 2019.5.x), including Autopark, Summon and Navigate-on-Autopilot (it’s unclear whether automated lane changes without confirmation will be included).
Q: What if I already bought Enhanced Autopilot (EAP), but want to upgrade to Full Self-Driving (FSD)?
A: According to Elon Musk people who bought EAP prior to the February 28, 2019 Autopilot changes can upgrade to FSD for a discounted price of $2,000 for a limited time, slightly more later.
Q: What if I didn’t buy Enhanced Autopilot (EAP) or Full Self-Driving (FSD) previously but want to upgrade?
A: According Tesla (via this blog post) people who bought a Tesla prior to March 1, 2019 and want to upgrade to Autopilot or FSD can do so at half the cost of the post-purchase price.
Q: What if I already bought Enhanced Autopilot (EAP) or Full Self-Driving (FSD) previously ?
A: According Tesla (via this blog post) those customers will receive an invitation to Tesla’s Early Access Program (EAP).
Q: Why is Autopark part of Full Self-Driving when most other manufacturers have that standard?
A: Good question! We believe it’s because this is more of a convenience feature and has more ‘autonomous’-like characteristics, but we agree it should be part of the Autopilot option, given that every other car manufacturer also offers it these days.
Q: What about Sentry Mode, Dog Mode and Dashcam?
A: As far as we know, these are not part of the Autopilot packages and are included in all Teslas with current hardware.
Q: Is this really autonomous Full-Self Driving? If not, why did they name it that?
A: The Full Self-Driving (FSD) option is not really “full self-driving” – it still requires driver attentiveness. So why did they call it that? Our assumption is, because the FSD tier existed previously and was sold to customers, they needed to finally roll it out or refund customers. It also allows Tesla to add more advanced features that require Hardware 3 (AP3) that is included with the FSD option.
The Bottom Line
We like the clarity this brings to the Autopilot naming scheme since ‘standard’ Autopilot as a designation for Active Safety features before, didn’t make much sense. That said, some items seem a bit strange like putting Autopark in Full Self-Driving (FSD) and that semi-autonomous features are part of what’s called “Full Self-Driving” when it still requires driver attention (i.e. it’s not really “Full Self-Driving”, at least not for a few more years to come).
Learn more about Autopilot and Full Self-Driving in our Autopilot and Full Self-Driving Review.