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Birds-eye view of a Tesla Model S showing all the sensor angles and views
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Birds-eye view of a Tesla Model S showing all the sensor angles and views

Autopilot is one of the best known driver assistance systems, and has been available on Tesla cars since the end of 2015. The hardware and software used to run Autopilot has been upgraded over the years, and the system is now capable of performing a range of semi-autonomous functions.

These functions include traffic-aware cruise control, automated steering, an automatic parking system, driverless lane-changes, and even a function called Smart Summon, where a Tesla can navigate its way across a car park to wherever you are standing.

But, despite Autopilot being able to handle the steering, accelerator and brake in many situations, the system isn’t foolproof and the driver remains fully responsible for their car at all times.

There are currently two tiers of Autopilot on new Tesla electric carss. As standard, every model comes with the Autopilot functions of Traffic-Aware Cruise Control and Autosteer. 

The former works just like the radar cruise control of other cars, keeping a safe distance from the vehicle ahead. The latter activates the steering to stay in lane when road markings are visible and cruise control is activated.

Next, and for a fee of $10,000 / £6,800 / AU$10,100, there is Full Self-Driving Capability, known as FSD. 

This includes extra Autopilot features and, Tesla hopes, will mean fully autonomous driving. For now, FSD includes a beta version of Navigate on Autopilot, Auto Lane Change, Autopark, Summon, Smart Summon and a beta version of Traffic and Stop Sign Control. 

A further feature called Autosteer on City Streets is coming soon (as of July 2021).

A recent change to how Autopilot is sold in the UK saw the introduction of Enhanced Autopilot, which is a £3,400 upgrade to the standard car and includes Navigate on Autopilot, Auto Lane Change, Autopark, Summon and Smart Summon. 

On top of this, FSD costs £6,800 and adds Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control, plus Autosteer on city streets once Tesla makes it available.

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