Tesla releases new feature that allows you to navigate on autopilot

On Friday night, current Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the company would be unveiling a new driver assistance feature.

“Tesla Autopilot Drive on Navigation going to wide release in North America tonight,” Musk tweeted.

The company describes the ‘Tesla Autopilot Drive on Navigation” as the most advanced assistance feature yet. The feature is typically referred to as “Navigate on Autopilot” or “Navigate”, and was held back from release when Tesla launched its in-car software 9.0.

Released in early October, Tesla’s 9.0 software delivered a plethora of improvements, including a new dash cam feature (for cars produced after August 2017), improved navigation, and Atari games that can be played when the car is parked. However, “Navigate” was held back and was only available as a beta feature for customers in the US.

Tesla made a blog post recently that confirmed the feature would be available this week for US customers who purchased the enhanced Autopilot or self-driving capability. Tesla plans to offer these upgrades at a rate of USD$5000 for enhanced autopilot and USD$3000 for FSD capability.

As of yet, Tesla’s vehicles are not self-driving.  In October 2016, Tesla produced Hardware 2 vehicles with more robust sensors and pre-sold customers FSD services. They claimed these services would we available for sale when they fixed some technical difficulties and received regulatory approval. Tesla has since removed the option to upgrade to FSD (Full Self-Driving) from its website, although Musk says it’s still available if customers request it.

 The feature is part of the company’s Enhanced Autopilot system which guides a car on a high ramp and helps it change lanes. Once the driver enters a destination into the car’s navigation system, they can activate the “Navigate on Autopilot” feature for the duration of their journey.

There are some limitations on Navigate. At the moment, the driver still has to confirm by tapping the signal if they want to proceed with the feature’s lane change suggestion. According to Tesla’s blog post, future versions of Navigate will let customer’s disable the confirmation requirement. Musk claims the feature will need confirmation until “safety looks good after 10M of driving, or so.”

The feature will make suggestions for either route-based lane changes that let the driver stick with their navigation route, or speed-based lane changes which help keep the vehicle moving at the driver’s desired speed.

“Navigate” is a small step towards Tesla’s promise of full FSD capabilities. Be prepared for more innovations from the company in the near feature.