If you’ve been looking to buy a Tesla, you’ve probably heard of Tesla Autopilot and Full Self-Driving (FSD). Although they both sound like they do the same thing, there are some varying differences. Let’s see in this Tesla Autopilot vs Full Self-Driving comparison.

Tesla Autopilot is a driver assistance system designed for highway driving. Full Self-Driving (FSD) is a fully autonomous system designed for urban driving.

In general, FSD is much more advanced than Autopilot since it has more sensors and processing power.

While both can steer, brake, and adjust speed while on the highway. FSD takes it to the next level. And can do so not just on the highway.

Let’s take a deeper look at how they compare.

Tesla Autopilot vs. Full Self-Driving (FSD): Side-by-Side Comparison

AutopilotFull-Self Driving
Release DateOctober 2015.April 2022.
AvailabilityStandard on all vehicles after September 2014.Optional extra that can be ordered.
Intended to be used Mostly used only on highways.When driving anywhere.
Safety FeaturesAutomatic Emergency Braking.
Forward Collision Warning.
Side Collision Warning.
Obstacle Aware Acceleration.
Blind Spot Monitoring.
Lane Departure Avoidance.
Automatic Emergency Braking.
Forward Collision Warning.
Side Collision Warning.
Obstacle Aware Acceleration.
Blind Spot Monitoring.
Lane Departure Avoidance.
FunctionalityCan steer, brake, and speed up. (Inside its lane)
It can steer, brake, and accelerate.
Can be used on highways.
FSD can change lanes for you. 
The cameras can identify stop signs and traffic lights.
FSD helps identify and avoid other cars, objects, or people.
The FSD can take on and off ramps onto highways.
As well as an auto park,
it also has summon and a smart summon.
Autopilot vs. Full Self-Driving
The interior of a Tesla Model S with a large touchscreen panel.

Tesla Autopilot vs Full Self-Driving: What’s the Difference?

To understand the difference between Tesla Autopilot and Full Self-Driving (FSD), it’s important to know what each system offers.

Autopilot is a driver assistance system. It uses sensors and cameras to help the driver stay in lane, automatically change lanes, steer around curves and stop safely in an emergency. Autopilot can also park your vehicle or bring it to you from a parking spot.

Autopilot provides a safer experience for drivers and increases productivity by reducing the time spent on mundane tasks like driving. 

FSD, however, is the next step for Tesla vehicles. FSD works on all roads in all conditions, day or night. It does not require input from you to drive itself, but it needs you to be ready for anything that might happen, as it will alert you if something comes up unexpectedly so that you can take over control of your vehicle if necessary.

Auto Steering

Both of these options have Auto Steer capabilities. However, Full Self-Driving is a newer feature that allows you to drive your car hands-free. It includes Enhanced Auto Steering, where you can set a destination and the car will take you there automatically. It will drive and do everything with no need for manual intervention or control by you or anyone else in the vehicle.

At the moment, FSD is not allowed to be used without human observation. So they limited some of its functions until they have completed testing. FSD can do a lot more than Autopilot, but until the system has been completely approved, it’s best to hold off on taking naps while it drives for you.

Summon & Smart Summon

Autopilot has Summon, which is a feature that lets you summon your Tesla vehicle to your location.

Full-Self Driving’s Summon is like Autopilot, but with more advanced capabilities. Smart summons can call your Tesla to you even from the garage. It allows you to call it out of tight parking spaces as well.

Auto Driving

When it comes to driving automatically, both are quite capable. However, the Tesla Autopilot is only usable on the highway, and it can steer, accelerate, and brake. Sadly, that’s where its use really ends, and the FSD shines.

FSD can do all the above and it can drive on and off highway ramps. But that’s just the beginning because it can change lanes, indicate, and can also stop at stop signs or at road signs from road maintenance. As a driving function, there are few that can compete with the FSD from Tesla.

You should not use Tesla’s current Full Self-Driving suite in any other way than directed by your owner’s manual or Tesla Service Center.

History of Tesla Autopilot

They launched the first version of Tesla Autopilot in October 2015, followed by 7 major updates in the following years.

Tesla’s Autopilot system has been through many iterations since its inception. They built the first version of Tesla Autopilot alongside Mobileye, which helped enable automatic steering and lane changing on highways. It also included limited autonomous capabilities like self-parking and summoning the car.

In August 2016, Tesla introduced a new version of its self-driving platform with Hardware 2 (HW2) which was installed in all cars.

In 2017, Tesla rolled out another software update that included more complex driving features such as Autosteer, Auto Lane Change, and Summon Mode. They later on limited these features to Enhanced Autopilot customers only.

Evolution of Full-Self Driving

FSD is an upgrade package to Autopilot offering other ADAS features. As of April 2022, there have been over 100,000 beta releases for customers to try.

FSD is only available in the United States although it may become available in other countries in the future.

Tesla Autopilot vs. Full Self-Driving (FSD): 12 Must-Know Facts

The must-know facts about Autopilot vs Full Self-Driving (FSD):

  • The first thing to understand is that FSD doesn’t replace or upgrade Autopilot but adds to it.
  • Autopilot is a driver assistance feature. It’s meant to make your drive easier and safer by taking over some of the tasks of driving, but it still requires you to pay attention at all times.
  • FSD is a fully autonomous driving feature. You can use it on its own or in conjunction with other features like Autosteer and Auto Lane Change, which means you’re basically able to drive hands-free. 
  • Tesla Autopilot is the name of a driver-assist system offered by Tesla. It’s available across all Tesla vehicles, from the Model S to the Model 3, as well as the long-awaited Model Y.
  • Autopilot was first introduced in 2015 with an update to the Model S software. Since then, it has been updated several times with new features such as Traffic-Aware Cruise Control (TACC), Autosteer, Auto Lane Change, and Auto Parking.
  • It’s important to note that the system is not meant to replace the driver entirely—it’s best used when you need your eyes on the road ahead.
  • The first vehicle to use autopilot was an oil tanker in 1920 called the J.A. Moffett.
  • Autopilot systems are used on satellites, rockets, and spacecraft already.
  • Allowing a car to fully drive on its own is still not completely allowed (illegal). This is because everyone is nervous about letting cars do the driving. As you can imagine, the rules, testing, and standards are very high.
  • Tesla Autopilot currently has 8 cameras, one forward reading radar, and 12 ultrasonic sensors. The suite of sensors allows Tesla Autopilot to detect obstacles in front of you which helps with its automatic emergency braking capabilities. The radar sensor can also scan for vehicles in your blind spots.
  • The NHTSA has released the many benefits that an FSD system could have, including better mobility for disabled people, safer roads overall, and economic benefits on a bigger scale than we thought.
  • Tesla could get the technology ready before other automakers, which could give it an advantage in the marketplace.

Autopilot vs. FSD: Which One Is Better?

Full-Self Driving is much better than Autopilot in many ways. Full Self-Driving is better for city and highway driving, as well as parking maneuvers and identifying stop signs, road signs, and other objects. It’s the upgraded version of the basic idea, so it shouldn’t really surprise anyone.

However, Full Self-Driving costs more money than Tesla Autopilot.

And Tesla Autopilot is great for highway driving already. And most amazingly it comes with most Teslas on the road today. 

Tesla Autopilot is a great option for people who want to save money and don’t mind doing some of the driving themselves. It allows you to drive hands-free on highways, which is great for those times when you’re just going for a long drive on the highway.

However, if you want the best, then go on ahead and get yourself the FSD. It will give you more freedom from driving responsibilities and with the strides they are taking it could do all the driving for you soon.

Tesla Autopilot vs. Full Self-Driving (FSD): What Are The Differences? FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is Autopilot Tesla?

Autopilot is one of the most advanced systems available on any car today. It can handle many driving tasks on its own, such as accelerating, braking, and steering. This helps to make driving safer and easier for drivers who want to relax.

What is included in Tesla FSD?

FSD includes all the features of Autopilot plus active steering, which allows you to turn corners without taking your hands off the wheel or feet off the pedals; lane changes without a signal or indicator; self-parking; automatic lane changes; and summon mode.

Does Tesla Autopilot stop at red lights?

No, it does not stop at red lights.

Which Tesla model has Autopilot?

Any model released after September 2014.

What is Tesla Autopilot FSD?

Tesla Autopilot FSD is the next step in Tesla’s development of its self-driving technology. The company is working to create a fully autonomous car.

How do I know if my Tesla has Autopilot?

You can check by looking if there is a driver assistance setting in your controls menu.

What is the difference between Tesla autopilot and enhanced Autopilot?

It allows for more features and autonomy than the normal Autopilot, it can suggest lane changes and navigate highways on and off ramps.

Is Autopilot free on Tesla?

Yes, it is free.

How much does Tesla Autopilot cost?

Tesla Autopilot costs $15,000.

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