Tesla’s Navigate on Autopilot with unconfirmed lane changes takes the electric car maker’s vehicles a step closer to attaining Full Self-Driving capabilities, but it is still a work in progress. This point was emphasized when the newly-updated driver-assist feature was “torture tested” in LA traffic.
LA traffic is notorious for its aggressive drivers and its vehicle density. This makes roads in the area the perfect place to test the automatic lane change capabilities of Tesla’s improved Navigate on Autopilot. Tesla Model 3 owner Joey Gil conducted his test on his trip to and from work, engaging Navigate on Autopilot and putting the feature’s lane change setting to “Mild.” This is a curious choice for the Model 3 owner considering that his previous test of Navigate on Autopilot’s initial iterations back in November involved the more assertive “Mad Max” mode.
The Model 3 owner’s car was loaded with software version 2019.8.5 when the LA traffic torture test was conducted. Footage from the two trips showed that Navigate on Autopilot’s unconfirmed lane changes are very deliberate when they engage, despite the vehicle’s follow distance being set to 1. At several points in the video, the driver-assist system attempted to change lanes, only to seemingly abandon the attempt when surrounding vehicles behaved aggressively.
Navigate on Autopilot’s capability to read lanes seems to have a notable area for improvement too, since the vehicle attempted to cross a double yellow line at one point in the trip, prompting the Model 3 owner to take over. Nevertheless, Navigate on Autopilot’s unconfirmed lane changes worked very well once the gaps between vehicles became more manageable and once other cars were moving in a relatively more civilized manner.
While Navigate on Autopilot’s unconfirmed lane changes still need more work before it could perfectly handle the cacophony of driving that is LA traffic, it should be noted that the feature at its current iteration already performed fairly well in the torture test. LA traffic is something that Elon Musk himself acknowledges, as shown when he initially hinted at Navigate on Autopilot’s Mad Max Mode. Musk joked that Tesla actually tried coming up with an “LA Traffic Mode,” but the company had to scrap it since it was “too loco.”
Navigate on Autopilot with unconfirmed lane changes is available for Tesla owners who purchased Enhanced Autopilot, as well as those who opted in for both basic Autopilot and Full Self-Driving. Improvements to the driver-assist system are expected to be discussed and showcased later this month, when Tesla holds its Autonomy Investor Day this April 22. During the event, Tesla investors will get an opportunity to test some of the upcoming features that are yet to be released for Autopilot and the company’s Full Self-Driving suite.
Watch Tesla’s Navigate on Autopilot with unconfirmed lane changes get torture tested in LA traffic in the video below.
Tesla has also started rolling out a more recent update for its vehicles. Following is a demo of Navigate on Autopilot in a Model S running 2019.12.