Tesla is expected to add an automatic High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) recognition feature that will enable Navigate on Autopilot to automatically utilize carpool lanes when the vehicle detects two or more passengers.
The “Use HOV Lanes” feature was released with Tesla’s V9 Software Update in October 2018, and was aimed toward allowing driver’s to determine if their car was eligible to use HOV lanes while utilizing Navigate on Autopilot. Navigate on Autopilot is a part of Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” software suite currently available to Model 3, Model S, and Model X drivers. However, Tesla YouTuber Quinn Nelson made the suggestion to utilize seat sensors as a means to determine whether passengers are present in the vehicle, automatically turning on and off the toggle button, eliminating the need for the driver to do it manually.
The “Use HOV Lanes” feature will allow Navigate on Autopilot to use carpool lanes on the highway when they are available. Without the feature enabled, the Tesla vehicle will avoid these lanes altogether. Nelson’s idea of having the vehicle automatically recognize passengers in the vehicle will utilize the car’s seat sensors in order to turn the HOV feature on. While carpool lanes are usually reserved for vehicles with two or more passengers, some states have recognized electric vehicles as “exempt” from this rule. This label was placed upon cars not using gasoline or diesel fuel as their primary power source in an attempt “to encourage acquisition of certain vehicle types, like [Alternative Fuel Vehicles], to further reduce mobile source emissions,” according to the United States Department of Energy. Owners of electric cars can apply for HOV stickers through the Department of Motor Vehicles if their state recognizes vehicle as “exempt”.
Tesla’s anticipated automatic HOV Lane feature will further provide convenience for drivers who are hauling passengers when utilizing Navigate on Autopilot. Tesla currently offers Navigate on Autopilot to any driver of the Model 3, Model S, or Model X for $6,000. Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently announced the price would receive a $1,000 increase on November 1, 2019, due to the addition of new features, such as the widely popular Smart Summon.