Home Technology Tesla unveils a new autopilot feature that will change lanes on its own

Tesla unveils a new autopilot feature that will change lanes on its own

2 min read

If you ever want to see the worst of human decision making in action, simply just drive in rush hour traffic (especially after a rain). From people driving recklessly, hogging the fast lane despite only going 80km/h, taxis stopping at random intervals or having no idea of how traffic circles work, it really does bring out the worst of humanity. However, by far my biggest annoyance on the road is the amount of times people change lanes without indicating. A problem so bad in Cape Town that I’m beginning to wonder if manufactures are making it an optional extra in the city.

If a new Tesla future though becomes a reality, it could be something that gets completely removed from human decision-making. While the main goal that Tesla is heading towards is self-driving cars, a new feature is coming its way which could allow your car to decide when to change lanes. Something which essentially means your car will be moving you into the slow lane automatically or potentially helping you pass cars a little easier. Hopefully it will indicate for long enough before it does so.

Tesla posted a new press release which describes this new feature:

In the Autopilot settings menu, a driver can press the Customize Navigate on Autopilot button which will now display three additional settings – Enable at Start of Every Trip, Require Lane Change Confirmation, and Lane Change Notification. Through the Enable at Start of Every Trip setting, Navigate on Autopilot can be set to automatically turn on each time a driver enters a navigation route. Once enabled, anytime a driver is on a highway and uses Autopilot with a location plugged into the navigation bar, the feature will be on by default. If a driver selects ‘No’ to Require Lane Change Confirmation, lane changes will happen automatically, without requiring a driver to confirm them first. Drivers can elect to get notified about an upcoming lane change by receiving an audible chime as well as a default visual prompt. Additionally, all cars made after August 2017 will also have the option to have their steering wheel vibrate for the alert as well.

When reading that, I can’t help but feel that it sounds rather invasive, especially as someone who likes to be in control of their own car. However, as we embrace self-driving technology, this I something which could certainly help a lot of drivers (and the overall flow of traffic) if done right. Elon Musk claims though that the technology is even more awesome than this press release makes it sound.

This is certainly an exciting feature from the company and I’m interested to see how this works out and whether it will lead to more or fewer accidents on the highway. Personally though any technology that can help people realise how to change lanes better is a step in the right direction for me. It’s a pity we don’t have Teslas easily available in South Africa yet, as we definitely need this feature.

Last Updated: April 4, 2019

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