Tesla’s Autopilot will be even more limited in Europe

As Tesla’s self-driving continues to steadily advance in the US, European regulations will once again remove a feature used by some old continent Tesla owners.

Tesla Model 3 in Autopilot Navigation // Source: Bob Jouy for Frandroid

While Tesla’s Autopilot, which combines adaptive cruise control and active lane keeping, is standard on all vehicles sold by Elon Musk’s firm, two semi-autonomous driving options are available, offering additional functionality.

To go further, Tesla Model 3, Model Y, Model S and Model X customers can choose two options: improved Autopilot (at 3,800 euros) and the Fully autonomous driving capability (at 7,500 euros), which takes over the functionality of the improved Autopilot while adding other semi-autonomous driving functions. These two options offer some useful functions for those who make long journeys frequently, in particular thanks to the navigation in Autopilot, which takes care of taking motorway exits in an automated way. But that was before.

Support for motorway exits

Last February, the German transport agency announced that it was starting investigations into a feature reserved for the two options described above for Tesla vehicles: the automation of motorway exits and other limited access lanes. In practice, until now, if you were equipped with one of Tesla’s autonomous driving options, and you had activated Autopilot navigation, when you entered a destination in the on-board navigation system, your Tesla took the exits independentlyas you can see in the short video below.

Autopilot navigation in France – spring 2021 pic.twitter.com/8SzZm8Mqr4

— Bob Jouy (@bobjouy) March 24, 2021

Tesla urged to comply with the law

But Tesla is apparently outlawed in Europe. The KBA, which is the regulatory authority for automobiles in Germany, has been studying the subject of Tesla Autopilot since the beginning of the year and has not yet issued its verdict. However, if Tesla owners can still use this feature today, it seems that the manufacturer has paused its deliveries of vehicles equipped with one of the autonomous driving options, pending a software update to comply with the regulations in force. Some Norwegian and Spanish customers would have seen their delivery date postponed because of the presence of this feature.

In practice, without this feature, you will now have to activate the turn signal manually so that the vehicle can change lanes autonomously, to take the exit. We currently have no information regarding the implementation of this change for vehicles already in circulation, but it’s a safe bet that a remote update in the coming weeks will be deployed, removing the functionality as we know it today, thus requiring driver action before any lane change.

A much more autonomous Autopilot in the United States

Finally, note that this is very specific to Europe, even though in the United States and Canada, Tesla’s autonomous driving is still available in beta version for certain drivers, and that the capabilities are much more advanced than what we have on the old continent. Lane changes are fully automated, traffic lights and stop signs are taken into account, and the vehicle even manages to navigate in an urban environment by negotiating roundabouts. In Europe, we will have to wait for the legislator to get up to speed to allow Tesla and other car manufacturers to offer more complete autonomous navigation systems than at present. It’s a shame to be restricted in this way because Tesla is constantly improving its vehicles with an important update for the calculation of autonomy.

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