Tesla’s Autopilot vs Enhanced Autopilot: What’s Best For You?

The timing of this article was pretty perfect. I wrote it while waiting for my annual maintenance to be completed at my local Tesla service center. I have been interested in autonomous driving for a very long time. Despite my dislike of driving, I consider it a necessity living in Canada. 

Tesla’s Autopilot or Enhanced Autopilot What's best for you

In order to see if any of the features offered by Autopilot and Enhanced Autopilot would be of benefit to me, I decided to spend the $11,800 and test both. My personal perspectives on Tesla’s software packages led me to write this article to provide an overview of Tesla’s software packages. 

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What is Autopilot?

A driver assistance software package that comes standard with Tesla vehicles is called Autopilot. In modern cars, two features are commonly found: ‘Traffic-Aware Cruise Control’ and ‘Autosteer.’ As soon as the autosteer is engaged, your Tesla stays in a clearly marked lane, and it can only be engaged while driving at a reasonable speed using cruise control.

After pressing the brake, the autosteer disengages. In contrast, Traffic-Aware Cruise Control adjusts your Tesla’s speed according to the traffic around it when you engage cruise control. 

What is Autopilot

The Autosteer has been reliable in the rain and snow, even though I have not tried it in the rain and snow. Since I bought my Tesla, I have never seen it leave the lane and it is much better than I am at driving, in all honesty. Despite its success, some people complain that traffic-aware cruise control is overly cautious. 

There are two things I don’t like about Autopilot. In the first place, it dislikes it when one-lane highways divide into two lanes, with the left lane used for passing and the right lane used for cars that aren’t passing.

I need to disengage, adjust lanes, and re-engage autosteer to keep you in the right lane. If Tesla addressed this frustration, it would be great. 

Read the full guide Is Tesla’s Enhanced Autopilot Worth It?

The second problem arises when Autopilot’s software artificially limits cruising speed to 10km/h over the speed limit on certain single-lane highways regardless of what the driver sets.

It is incredibly frustrating to be limited in this way. Tesla should not impose some arbitrary limit on drivers if they are paying attention to the road and are liable for their own actions. 

Autopilot was not initially available on Model 3s. Tesla hasn’t included Autopilot with its Model 3s since April 2019. Those who bought a Model 3 after April 2019 have probably already had Autopilot installed and may even have been using it. You will have to pay $4000 for this upgrade if you purchased a Model 3 before April 2019. 

How does Enhanced Autopilot work?

Is there another $7,800 in your account? Perhaps Enhanced Autopilot would be a good choice for you! There are five features in enhanced Autopilot: navigation on autopilot, automatic lane changing, automated parking, summoning, and smart summoning.

By taking cruise control Autopilot to the next level, Navigate on Autopilot offers the ability to drive your Tesla from the on-ramp to the off-ramp of a highway, suggest lane changes, turn on your turn signal automatically, navigate interchanges, and find the right exit, among other features.

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The Navigate on Autopilot feature was really neat – it worked well, and I believe it would particularly be useful if you were traveling to areas you weren’t familiar with. 

With Auto Lane Change, you can set it so that you must authorize the lane change, or it will automatically adjust lanes for you. Conceptually, I found Auto Lane Change to be a neat feature. Despite this, I had to speed up my Tesla in order to pass the other car. Despite my best efforts, my Tesla was rarely fully committed. 

As the Autopark feature parks your Tesla for you, it makes what feels like a hundred minor adjustments, similar to how you might park when you are a first-time driver. It was always my intention to use Autopark to assist in parallel parking, but it only ever worked in a parking lot with clearly marked spots; it didn’t work at all when parallel parking.

Read the guide here Is Tesla’s Enhanced Autopilot Worth It?

Using the Tesla app, you can summon your Tesla and move it forwards or backwards. When parking in tight spaces, Summon is a great feature. In my opinion, Summon doesn’t justify Enhanced Autopilot’s $7,800 price tag.

The last option is Smart Summon. As you drive through complex environments, such as parking lots, Smart Summon will manage the navigation of the Tesla to you intelligently. A Tesla Smart Summon would be useful if you’re finished shopping on a rainy day and would like to be picked up by your auto.

My testing, however, did not prove successful with Smart Summon. Even in a parking lot that was completely empty, my Tesla could not find me. 

Is full self-driving possible?

In the future, Tesla’s cars will be able to drive themselves without human interaction, with a feature known as Full Self-Driving (FSD), or Full Autonomous Driving. As Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk has previously advocated for the FSD to be an appreciating asset someday. He believed Teslas could drive themselves as self-driving taxis, generating income for their owners when idle. However, Elon Musk’s vision of FSD remains very far away from reality.

Is full self-driving possible

There is a lawsuit against the company for potentially misleading claims.

Even if you’re interested in full self-driving, expect to pay $19,500. You get beta access to ‘Traffic and Stop Sign Control,’ a feature that automatically slows your Tesla down at stop signs and traffic lights. The Tesla Model S will be able to navigate in urban environments on its own with ‘Autosteer on city streets,’ which will be available in the unspecified future. 

FSD or any of the other features mentioned above must still be used with full attention to the road so the driver can intervene as necessary. As a personal note, I haven’t tried full self-driving yet, and I include it here just for fairness’ sake. There is a possibility that FSD will be improved in future updates, but at the moment I do not have $20,000 lying around to wait and see. 

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Final Thoughts

As an open disclosure, I returned Autopilot and Enhanced Autopilot and received a refund of $11,800. I repurchased Autopilot a few weeks later for a price of $4,000 as I saw that it was the best value among all the programs I had at the time. Having said that, Enhanced Autopilot never fails to entice me to repurchase. Whenever I bought Autopilot for the second time, I knew I would keep it, since all three upgrades are refundable once within 48 hours of purchase. 

As far as I’m concerned, Autopilot, Enhanced Autopilot, and Full Self-Driving are overpriced. It’s not that I’m a car guy. Having a Tesla and being interested in electric vehicles is all I need to justify my interest. Ideally, people should be able to try before they buy, either through a subscription service or a free trial. There is some doubt as to whether Tesla’s software will deliver what it promises. 

It is ultimately your lifestyle, disposable income, and your willingness to deal with sometimes less-than-perfection software that will determine which software package, if any, is right for you. Remember, staying focused on the road is always the best way to stay safe. 

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