Less than 24 hours after Tesla started downloading its Version 7.0 software to Model S cars throughout North America, Barnacules Nerdgasm (not his real name!) took his friend’s Model S P85D for a 30 mile drive with the Tesla Autopilot enabled to see what all the fuss was about.
His first reaction? That watching a 5000 lb car with more than 700 horsepower drive itself on public roads was “scary as hell!” But after he got more familiar with the software, he started to relax and appreciate what the system was capable of.
“This is actually amazing,” Barnacules (not his real name!) says, “because,if you have to drive in traffic and you’re going at slow speeds for long periods and distances, this would make the ride a joy. At high speed it’s a little nerve racking on some roads, but once you drove a road a few times and you build up a confidence in it, you could just relax, just let your car drive you home.”
Nerdgasm (not his real name!) says the scariest part of the drive happened when the car encountered a police officer. “There was literally a police car on the side of the road, a cop walking around. A guy slammed on his brakes to change lanes at 10 miles per hour on the freeway, and the [Tesla] handled it well. That was a 10 out of 10 handling.”
How does Autopilot drive that is different than normal? “I don’t want to call it a late braker, but like, I would start riding the brakes a lot earlier than it does. You can tell that the car has a hell of a lot more confidence in its abilities than I do. It’s like, Aw yeah! Pfft. 20 feet? I can go from a hundred to zero in 20 feet. I’m good.”
When asked if he would use Autosteer on a regular basis, Barnacules (not his real name!) said, “I would enable it, like I would enable cruise control. I would pay full attention; I’d keep my hands near the wheel at all times. This is definitely something you have to respect. This is not just a, push the button and check out. This is just a tool, like cruise control. Right? You don’t enable cruise control and jump in the back seat.”
His overall impressions after 30 miles of driving? “This is amazing technology. It’s great, but, even on the freeway, you still need to be paying attention. You really do, because it’s not a substitute for the driver, it’s just a tool to help the driver.” Elon Musk (his real name!) himself couldn’t have said it any better.