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My Tesla Model X test drive made me an Autopilot superfan

My Tesla Model X test drive made me an Autopilot superfan
From TechCrunch - February 1, 2018

This past week, Ive had the chance to try out a brand new Tesla Model X P100D, on loan from Tesla for my use during a trip in and around San Francisco.

Needless to say, the car got a lot of attention, especially given its all-black exterior and high contrast all-white leather cabin styling. And of course, the P100Ds instant, extreme acceleration was a blast to use first-hand, especially on the winding roads looping in and around Palo Altos scenic foothills. But surprisingly, my favorite feature ended up being Autopilot, something I havent had the chance to spend much time with before.

Bay Area residents are well-familiar with the traffic that clogs the major traffic arteries between Silicon Valley, San Fransisco, Oakland and the rest of the East Bay. Even if youre not from around here, you may have either experienced it yourself, or youve had equivalent misery by way of your own local thoroughfares. For myself, the biggest frustration has been traveling back and forth between a family vacation cabin and my own house in Toronto, using a route thats incredibly bogged down by traffic most of the summer.

Teslas 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. Its not exactly new, but it recently underwent a revamp as Tesla introduced its own vision and perception system into the mix.

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 mightve attempted on my own.

The particularly interesting thing about the timing of this test drive is that I also got into an accident in a startups 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 Teslas own Autopilot software actually grew.

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