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Tesla's free Autopilot battles BMW's best driver-assist tech in head-to-head test

Credit: YouTube/Ash Davies on Cars

A Tesla Model 3’s Standard Range Plus equipped with the company’s Autopilot feature was recently put to the test against a worthy competitor: the BMW M850i Gran Coupe, a car that combines luxury and performance with the German automaker’s own premium driver-assist software.

YouTube’s Ash Davies on Cars decided to compare the two vehicles and their respective driver-assist software as a way to see how one of the cheapest Tesla vehicles available would fare against the tech of one of the most luxurious and costly BMW vehicles that money could buy. The Model 3 was equipped with the company’s basic Autopilot, a feature that now comes standard on all of Tesla’s vehicles. This means the car was equipped with the ability to steer, accelerate, and brake for other vehicles and passengers in its lane.

The BMW M850i Gran Coupe, on the other hand, is equipped with an optional Driver Assistance Professional Package that gives drivers more awareness through a series of safety features like blind-spot notifications, cross-traffic alerts, lane-keeping steering assist and parking assistance. It also includes a feature that’s somewhat similar to Tesla Autopilot¬†called Extended Traffic Jam Assistant, which helps the driver operate the vehicle in congested areas of the road.

Initially, Davies took the Model 3 out for a drive on his local freeway. Impressed by the vehicle’s ability to control and maneuver without incident, he stated he had no worries about the car driving itself, mostly due to the Driving Visualization feature available on the vehicle’s 15″ display screen. The reviewer noted that the Model 3’s basic Autopilot, while lacking the finer features found in Tesla’s Full Self-Driving suite, already behaves a lot like a human driver. The driver-assist system is also so refined that it’s very easy to trust Autopilot.

Davies then hopped in the six-figure BMW, explaining that the best tech of veteran car manufacturers are usually found in the top end models like the M805i Grand Coupe. While Davies took particular note of the vehicle’s luxurious features, he was not that impressed with the car’s actual tech. Even with its driver-assist feature active, for example, the vehicle’s display does not render any other cars on the road, unlike Tesla’s standard Autopilot.

He also notes that the Driver Assistance package is more like an adaptive cruise control than an Autopilot feature. After unsuccessfully attempting a lane change, Davies opted to test how well the vehicle stops when faced with traffic. The BMW slowed down, but it did so with such abruptness that the reviewer stated that “It slowed down with all the force of a car that thought it was about to have a crash.”

Tesla’s industry-leading Autopilot technology is one of many reasons the electric car maker continues to solidify its reputation as one the most innovative automotive company in the world. As told by Davies in his video, it is apparent Tesla’s Autopilot feature is easily outperforming the much more expensive features on a luxury car like a BMW. Perhaps, the reviewer noted, Tesla is simply a company that is very good with software while veteran automakers like BMW are good with hardware. And when it comes to driver-assist technology, the best software will likely win.

You can watch Ash Davies on Cars‘ comparison of Tesla’s Autopilot and BMW’s driver-assist features in the video below.

Tesla's free Autopilot battles BMW's best driver-assist tech in head-to-head test
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