How Autopilot Works in Tesla?

Autopilot advanced safety and convenience features are designed to assist you with the most burdensome parts of driving. Autopilot introduces new features and improves existing functionality to make your Tesla safer and more capable over time. Tesla has said that the car was in Autopilot mode when the car crashed. Here’s a closer look at how Autopilot works to help you better understand how it should be used.

How autopilot works in Tesla?

How Autopilot Works in Tesla?
How Autopilot Works in Tesla? 

Autopilot is an advanced driver assistance system that enhances safety and convenience behind the wheel. When used properly, Autopilot reduces your overall workload as a driver. Each new Tesla vehicle is equipped with eight external cameras and powerful vision processing to provide an additional layer of safety. Model 3 and Model Y built for the European and Middle Eastern markets will now utilize our camera-based Tesla Vision, which is not equipped with radar and instead rely on Tesla’s advanced suite of cameras and neural net processing to deliver Autopilot and related features.

Autopilot comes standard on every new Tesla. For owners who took delivery of their cars without Autopilot, there are two Autopilot packages available for purchase, depending on when your car was built: Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self-Driving Capability.

Autopilot, Enhanced Autopilot, and Full Self-Driving Capability are intended for use with a fully attentive driver, who has their hands on the wheel and is prepared to take over at any moment. While these features are designed to become more capable over time, the currently enabled features do not make the vehicle autonomous.

What is Tesla autopilot?

Autopilot is an optional driver assistance system for Tesla vehicles that you must purchase separately. It’s made up of premium safety and convenience features. You can easily buy Autopilot as one of two packages – Autopilot or Full self-driving capability – purchasable directly through your Tesla Account.

Features include the ability for your Tesla vehicle to steer, accelerate, and brake – all autonomously and automatically – within its lane. Currently, Autopilot requires driver supervision and does not make your vehicle “fully” autonomous. However, as Autopilot’s self-driving features will evolve over time, Tesla said your vehicle can be continuously upgraded to newer versions of Autopilot through over-the-air software updates.

Using Autopilot and Full Self-Driving Capability

Before using Autopilot, please read your Owner’s Manual for instructions and more safety information. While using Autopilot, it is your responsibility to stay alert, keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times and maintain control of your car. Many of our Autopilot features, like Autosteer, Navigate on Autopilot, and Summon, are disabled by default. To enable them, you must go to the Autopilot Controls menu within the Settings tab and turn them on.

Before enabling Autopilot, the driver first needs to agree to “keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times” and to always “maintain control and responsibility for your vehicle.” Subsequently, every time the driver engages Autopilot, they are shown a visual reminder to “keep your hands on the wheel.”

Traffic-Aware Cruise Control

To engage Traffic-Aware Cruise Control in Model S and Model X, pull the cruise control stalk on the left of the steering column towards you once. In Model 3 and Model Y, pull down once on the gear selector stalk on the right of the steering column.


To engage Autosteer in Model S and Model X, pull towards you twice on the cruise control stalk on the left of the steering column. In Model 3 and Model Y, pull down twice on the gear selector stalk on the right of the steering column. A grey steering wheel icon will appear on your display, next to the speedometer, when the system is available to engage. A blue steering wheel icon will appear on your display, next to the speedometer, when Autosteer is engaged.

When Autosteer is in use, it measures the amount of torque that you apply to the steering wheel and, if insufficient torque is applied, an escalating series of audible and visual alerts again reminds you to place your hands on the wheel. This helps ensure you are attentive and trains good driving habits. If you repeatedly ignore these warnings, then you will be locked out from using Autopilot for the duration of that trip.

Auto Lane Change

To initiate an assisted lane change, Autosteer needs to be active and the driver must be holding the steering wheel. The assisted lane change must be confirmed by the driver by engaging the indicator in the direction you would like to move.

Navigate on Autopilot

Navigate on Autopilot is designed to get you to your destination more efficiently by actively guiding you from on-ramp to off-ramp, including suggesting lane changes, navigating motorway interchanges, and assisting in taking exits. It’s designed to make finding and following the most efficient path to your destination even easier on the motorway when Autopilot is in use.

To engage this feature, you must first enable Autosteer by going to Controls > Autopilot > Autosteer – then enable the Navigate on Autopilot feature. Camera calibration will be required and the latest version of Navigation maps must be downloaded via Wi-Fi.

For each route where Navigate on Autopilot is available, you will have the option to activate it by pressing the NAVIGATE ON AUTOPILOT button located in your Navigation Turn List. You can also activate Navigate on Autopilot any time a destination is entered and Autopilot is engaged by adjusting your Navigate on Autopilot settings from Controls > Autopilot > Customize Navigate on Autopilot.

On Model 3, Navigate on Autopilot can be engaged on most motorways by moving the gear lever twice downwards, in quick succession.

On Model S and Model X, Navigate on Autopilot can be engaged on most motorways by pulling the cruise stalk toward you, twice in quick succession.


If your car sees a parking spot, a grey ‘P’ icon will appear on the left or right-hand side of your instrument panel, depending on the location of the space. Autopark detects parallel parking locations when driving below 24kph and perpendicular parking locations when driving below 16kph.

To use Autopark at that time, press on the brake and shift the gear selector into ‘Reverse.’ Keep your foot on the brake. ‘Start Autopark’ will appear in blue text on your touchscreen – press this to start the feature and release the brake and steering wheel. Autopark will then begin to maneuver the vehicle into the parking space by controlling your car’s speed, gear changes, and steering angle, but you should remember to be alert and monitor the backup camera view to check for obstacles.

Once Autopark is complete, the car will let you know it is complete and shift into ‘Park.’ You can override Autopark at any time by taking control of the steering wheel.


To use Summon, open the Tesla app. Press Summon and then press and hold the forward or reverse buttons. Summon also integrates with HomeLink and will open your garage door to pull your car out of the garage.
Smart Summon

Smart Summon is designed to allow your car to drive to you or a location of your choosing, maneuvering around and stopping for objects as necessary, while under your supervision. Like Summon, Smart Summon is only intended for use in private parking lots and driveways. You are still responsible for your car and must monitor it and its surroundings at all times and be within your line of sight because it may not detect all obstacles. Be especially careful around quick-moving people, bicycles, and cars.

To use Smart Summon, open your Tesla app, tap Summon, and then select the Smart Summon icon. To activate the feature, press and hold the COME TO ME button. Alternatively, tap the target icon, set the target destination of your choice by adjusting the map, and then press and hold the GO TO TARGET button. You can stop your car from driving at any time by releasing the button.

Smart Summon works with your Tesla app and your phone’s GPS to operate. You must be within approximately 6 meters of your car to use for a total travel distance of 20 meters. Smart Summon requires the latest version of the Tesla mobile app (3.10.0 or later). Please refer to the Owner’s Manual for additional details about this feature.

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