Tesla Autopilot vs Enhanced Autopilot – What’s the Difference?

Tesla has changed its Autopilot lineup several times over the years to simplify its offerings and more clearly distinguish between basic driver assistance functions and autonomous driving capabilities. As such, it’s changed the definition between Autopilot and Enhanced Autopilot along the way. It can be confusing for anyone trying to make sense of the Autopilot options, especially if you’re considering a previously owned Tesla.

In this article, we outline the options and if you want even more information, but sure to check out the Autopilot vs Full Self-Driving article.

Previous Autopilot Option Lineup

Prior to 2019, Autopilot had three tiers:

  • ‘Standard’ Autopilot – this was essentially 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 Autopilot lineup changes in 2019, Tesla made a clear distinction between assisted driving features, called Autopilot, and autonomous driving features that fall into the Full-Self Driving bucket. Active safety features were no longer branded and included as a baseline feature with every Tesla sold.

Current Autopilot Lineup

Tesla changed the Autopilot options in early 2019 and removed the “Enhanced Autopilot” option, leaving only “Full Self-Driving” as a paid option. The lineup now looks like this:

  • Autopilot – This is basic driver assistance as found in most other cars with autopilot today. It’s included with all vehicles.
    • Traffic Aware Cruise Control. (TACC). This stop-and-go distance cruise control 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.
  • Full Self-Driving ($8,000) – Available at time of purchase and includes the following features…
    • 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).
    • Auto Lane Changes. When using both TACC + Automatic Steering, a driver can use the turn signal to automatically change lanes when it’s clear.
    • Summon. Allows the vehicle to be summoned from its current location to another location nearby (in private parking lots, for example).
    • Autopark. This allows the vehicle to park itself in both parallel and perpendicular spots.
    • Traffic Light & Stop Sign Recognition. Currently alerts you at the last moment if there is a stop sign or traffic light (will not stop the vehicle) while on Autopilot.
    • Automatic City Driving. Future feature, TBD what this means exactly.

Enhanced Autopilot in 2020

In September 2020, Tesla again changed the Autopilot lineup and temporarily brought back “Enhanced Autopilot” as a limited availability upgrade for existing owners allowing them to purchase a less expensive tier to gain access to popular features such as Auto Lane Change and Navigate on Autopilot.

The September 2020, limited-time Autopilot lineup looked like this:

  • Autopilot – Included with all vehicles, this is basic driving assistance.
    • Traffic Aware Cruise Control. 
    • Automatic Steering / Lane Centering.
  • Enhanced Autopilot – This was a limited-availability option ($4,000) that appeared as an upgrade for existing owners which includes all the items above plus…
    • Navigate-on-Autopilot
    • Auto Lane Changes
    • Summon
    • Autopark
  • Full Self-Driving – Available at the time of purchase for $8,000 which includes everything above plus…
    • Traffic Light & Stop Sign Recognition
    • Automatic City Driving

Again, it’s important to note that Enhanced Autopilot was a limited time offer to existing owners in September 2020. It’s unclear whether it will become available again in the future.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: What if I already bought Enhanced Autopilot (EAP) before 2019?
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 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. They previously posted a blog post about this, which has since been removed, so it’s unclear if this is still offered.

Q: What if I already bought Enhanced Autopilot (EAP) or Full Self-Driving (FSD) previously ?
A: According Tesla those customers will receive an invitation to Tesla’s Early Access Program (EAP). They previously posted a blog post about this, which has since been removed, so it’s unclear if this is still offered.

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:  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, the “Full Self-Driving” name is a bit confusing 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).

We’re excited to see all the things to come with the Full Self-Driving option, particularly with Hardware 3 (AP3) now fully rolled out and more fully autonomous features coming in 2021.

Learn More…

Learn more about Autopilot and Full Self-Driving details in our Autopilot and Full Self-Driving Review.