Tesla Navigate on Autopilot automatic lane changes performs ‘waltz’ in traffic

A Tesla Model 3 navigates around heavy traffic. (Credit: Scott Kubo/YouTube)

A Tesla Model 3 owner’s recent experience at a busy section of a freeway appears to show some notable improvements with Navigate on Autopilot’s automatic lane change capabilities. As could be seen in a video, the Model 3 was able to change lanes and navigate around traffic multiple times on its own despite the density of vehicles around the electric car. 

The movement of the Model 3, which was running 2019.20.4.2, was notably smooth and confident, to the point where the Tesla owner jokingly remarked that his car was behaving almost like it was performing a waltz with nearby vehicles. To highlight this point, Scott Kubo, the Model 3’s owner, opted to add some curiously appropriate music to his vehicle’s dashcam footage. 

As seen in Kubo’s video, the driver-assist system directed the Model 3 in such a way that the movements of the vehicle were notably human-like. A number of fellow Tesla owners commenting on Kubo’s YouTube upload mentioned this, with some stating that their vehicles have not shown the same level of confidence on the road as the Model 3 in the video. 

This is quite noteworthy, especially considering that the Kubo’s Model 3 did not disengage Autopilot during its multiple automatic lane change maneuvers. In a comment on his YouTube upload, the Tesla owner noted that his hand was just on the bottom of the steering wheel the whole time. 

Navigate on Autopilot is currently one of Tesla’s most advanced iterations of its driver-assist system, being capable of guiding a vehicle from highway on-ramp to off-ramp. It should be noted that the behavior of Navigate on Autopilot’s automatic lane changes also appears notably more refined in Kubo’s recent video compared to a “torture test” of the system on LA traffic last April. Navigate on Autopilot appeared almost overwhelmed during the most intense parts of the LA test, but the system displayed none of these reservations in Kubo’s case. 

The improvements to Navigate on Autopilot take Tesla’s electric cars a step closer towards achieving autonomous driving. Initially part of Tesla’s Enhanced Autopilot suite, Navigate on Autopilot was moved by the company to its Full Self-Driving suite, which CEO Elon Musk believes will be “feature-complete” in the near future. With smoother, waltz-like automatic lane-changes, perhaps Navigate on Autopilot is indeed closing in on Musk’s ever-elusive self-driving goals. 

Watch a Tesla Model 3 with Navigate on Autopilot maneuver around other vehicles on the road in the video below. 

"Simon Alvarez : @https://twitter.com/ResidentSponge Simon is a reporter with a passion for electric cars and clean energy. Fascinated by the world envisioned by Elon Musk, he hopes to make it to Mars (at least as a tourist) someday.."
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