The popular tech new website, TechCrunch, recently featured an article about the Model X and Autopilot.  Writer Darrell Etherington was able to drive the Model X for two and a half days in the San Francisco Bay Area.

While Etherington notes that the Model X “was a dream to drive” with “amazing handling and performance”, he focused his review on Autopilot and how it made driving much easier.

He notes that “Tesla’s Autopilot system alleviates a ton of this stress, maintaining distance between yourself and cars ahead of you, keeping you centered in the lane and also managing emergency braking should that be required.”

Autopilot 2.0 has taken a while to catch up to Autopilot 1.0, but Tesla has made significant advances and Autopilot 2.0 is quite impressive.  This was the experience for Etherington, “Based on the two and a half days of my time with the car I spent using Autopilot for a significant chunk of time to navigate California freeways, the system, and its recent updates, all work remarkably well. Even more advanced features like automated lane changes worked exactly as advertised, in some cases even helping me avoid risky merges I might’ve attempted on my own.”

Further, Etherington compares Autopilot with another car with similar features in testing:

The particularly interesting thing about the timing of this test drive is that I also got into an accident in a startup’s Hyundai Genesis, equipped with Level 2 semi-automated features in testing, which was designed to provide the same kind of features as Autopilot to other OEMs, right in the middle of my Model X loan. Despite that, my confidence in Tesla’s own Autopilot software actually grew.

 Tesla’s ADAS features never gave me pause or cause for concern, and after my experience with the other company’s system, I was on high alert for the remainder of my trip. It still proved an unshakeable feature in highway driving, especially during traffic, and something I’m going to sorely miss now that I’m moving back to my regular ride.

Overall, in my personal experience, Autopilot is a great option to have if one is doing a lot of freeway driving.  However, it’s important to be aware of the limitations of Autopilot while using it.  Autopilot is still in development and isn’t able to catch everything; for example, if a car in front of you suddenly moves out of the way in front of a stationary object.  So, you need to be careful and alert still.  Also, Autopilot isn’t intended to work well (at this point) on local streets. It can’t handle sharp curves and doesn’t read stoplights.

But if you understand the limitations of Autopilot, and use it on a well-marked freeway then it can be an amazing driving tool to help lessen fatigue and driving stress.

(image source: TechCrunch)