Navigate on Autopilot is a new active guidance feature within Software Version 9.0, and is part of the Enhanced Autopilot self-driving suite. With Navigate on Autopilot, Tesla says that drivers will be able to travel on a highway from "on-ramp to off-ramp" with the vehicle taking full control of primary vehicle functions.
For example, a Model 3 or Model S will be able to both suggest and make lane changes based on current traffic conditions and will even take the appropriate highway exit based on your intended destination. The driver will, however, have to confirm lane changes by using the turn signal stalk, which helps to improve situational awareness. We also have to point out that the driver's eyes are also augmented by eight external cameras along with both radar and ultrasonic sensors.
"There are two types of lane changes that Navigate on Autopilot will suggest – route-based lane changes that are designed to keep you on your navigation route, and speed-based lane changes, which are designed to keep your vehicle moving as close to your set speed as possible," writes Tesla.
Tesla says that future upgrades to Navigate on Autopilot will eliminate the turn signal stalk confirmation (as an option), further adding to the autonomous driving experience.
Tesla is making steady progress towards its end goal of Level 5 autonomy for its future electric vehicles, and is currently developing its own custom hardware AI chip to achieve this. The company has nabbed hardware engineers from some of Silicon Valley's top companies to create its AI chip, and we should see the fruits of their labors within the next few years.
"The future introduction of our Tesla-developed AI chip with our Full Self-Driving platform will allow the speed at which our system processes data to increase by an order of magnitude and take a meaningful leap toward our full self-driving future," adds Tesla.