Here is a credible insight to help shed some light on what the heck NoA is and the super-human experience I got as a lucky owner of one.
Navigate on AutoPilot (NoA) is a Level 2 Driving Autonomy (Wikipedia this) introduced by Tesla for it’s FSD software clients.
Essentially a Driver-Assist system, it suggests routes and lane changes providing automated assisted maneuvers, for lanes changes, merges, and on-ramp / off-ramp interactions.
Mind you the Auto-Lane changing (AKA no confirmation lane switch) is turned OFF by default and turning it on requires you to agree to an EULA that explains what is it, how you should use it, and your responsibilities of handing over the wheel to a 7 year old. ir further explains what you should NOT do and common weaknesses to be most careful about.
Normally when NoA recommends a lane change it will do nothing unless you turn the indicator to confirm a change. those lane changes are suggested only to prepare for ramps and “mild” level passing of other cars (required speed difference between your limit and the car in front of you should be over 20 miles. warrant a mild overpass suggestion) once passing into the leftmost lane, NoA recognizes it’s on the fast-lane will suggest going back to the middle lane the moment someone behind you approaches at a speed higher than your own. that said a well-mannered and educated driver will initiate a lane change off the fast lane on his own accord, it comes with good parenting folks.
NoA is a human-driving enhancement with AMAZING skillset, you must understand this isn’t a human-replacer. this is a human-enhancer where man and machine share the load of a task to complete it at precise efficiency particularly given the task is inter-state travel or hours long drives.
Here are some of the amazing advantages I experienced first hand and can attest for:
1 – NoA will never let you miss an exit, a lane change, saving you TONS of mileage or stress.
2 – Drivers can’t harass you into speeding up or bully you into a human reaction like the ones bad drivers engage during rush-hours.
3 – NoA will save you from ALL possible vehicular accidents using a plethora of emergency measures from breaking, speed matching, traffic anticipation, and blind-sided collisions from crazy over-passing violators flying 80+ mph.
however NoA’s on-ramp off-ramp driving is flawed, each ramp has it’s own unique curve design, and a combination of steer-control and visual interpretation tries to conclude the proper path for each ramp over and over again. unfortunately this is a NoA weak point and you should ABOSLUTELY NEVER let the 7 year old drive on-ramp / off-ramp without supervision, the guy that did it died… rip. (he tried to mess with it on a 70mph highway on-ramp entry while leaving the wheel and poking on his phone. can’t save stupid expecting level 5 autonomy when it’s a hard (2)).
Here is my TL:DR step by step experience with NoA end-to-end to and from work on daily basis.
- I wake up, exercise, shower and dress, get into my car swipe-down and the car shows me the route to work (NoA is on by my preset settings).
- I get off the parking lot and tap once to turn on acceleration control, unless I reach a light all my drive is speed and steer-assisted.
- I don’t stress about people getting in and out of my lane, or people stopping ahead of me (see break-checking and insurance scammers).
- this driving style is common to any person who ever owned a acceleration-assisted cruise control which is widely available in luxury cars (something the consumer report peasant probably never head of ???).
- As for the steer assisted part. the first time I used it the car got lost. a few drives from there it learned what I want and it never made the mistake again. like a human being, during the journey I click the signal to auto-lane change and it does so super safely (never had I had 1 mistake even in the hardest of situations Tesla could cancel and return to previous lane at the fault of speed limit breaking fleshy reckless human drivers!.
- As I reach the first ramp to get into the high way, as soon as I enter the ramp I turn on the auto-steer (unless I already had it on when I reached).
- When Tesla is ready it turns to NoA (it may not turn it if it’s not familiar with the location or the ramp you’re on until you get entirely on the high-way.) NoA will try to drive on-ramp but often times it falls back to auto-steer and I end up making the turn myself, before handing it back to Auto-Steer (which enables NoA automagically since I’m on the high way now.). (auto enabling NoA is a configuration option you turn on yourself).
- At this point I have pressed the accelerator pedal and break maybe 3 times instead of 50, and didn’t have to take any action but look outside during the entire trip.
- I take over when Tesla writes “please take over the wheel” or “keep your hands on the wheel”.
- You’ve got to understand this isn’t some annoying reminder a dumb car gives you, this is an AI telling you that it needs your guidance and support for an upcoming uncertainty!!! do NOT ignore it like you would an engine light! else don’t blame an AI should you die for that stupidity!. (if AI doesn’t get your help and you’re still somehow alive it will often err on the side of caution and will slow-down to a complete stop following banning autonomy for the reminder of the trip.
- The entire highway , ramp switch, lane changing is flawlessly accomplished by Tesla all the way to the off-ramp stage where the car will slow down perfectly to off-ramp unlike human drivers it will precisely match the speed of the ramp at the entry-state! there have been cases where Tesla would slow down gradually off-ramp and display a message the she’s about to switch from NoA to human-driver in X feet. it will then beep to let me know NoA has let go and steer-assisted driving took over. from that point I can take control and steer over the normal road to the parking lot where it asks me to if I want to auto-park into the available slot (draws it for me on the screen).
The summary of this exhaustive detailed experience granted me the following Pros.
- I didn’t have to deal with speed or other cars.
- Rush-hours and traffic jams feel like siting by the window watching birds
- I get to experience what it’s like to be a pilot with an R2D2 where me and the machine communicate and share our teamwork to accomplish things.
- Parallel parking AND vertical parking is a screen-tap away. YEAH!!
As Elon Musk has adequately put, you have an EV that costs like a Cilica, drives itself, saves the planet, saves your wallet, and looks stunning… it is financially LOCO to even contemplate buying a car other than a Tesla.
I don’t even consider Tesla a car, it’s a living sentient AI with a first name “Orion” and it belongs to a an AI species classified as “Tesla”. =]
I know I don’t write a lot, but I’ll get back to it soon enough, as always I welcome any type/grammar and topic suggestions and feedback. all comments are welcome so long you don’t spam and keep it kid-rated (G).
Thank you all for reading this non-profit work ^^ (WordPress keeps the money for the ads).