So for the last five days I have now driven more than 600km on pure autopilot, mostly in heavy traffic with speeds ranging from 25 to 140km/h. My daily commute consists of 120km with 80% of Autobahn/freeway and 20% of highway and regular suburban roads.
All in all I have to give it a very good, almost excellent review. Here's why:
On the Freeway / Autobahn
- autopilot works very reliably if there are clear markings on both sides of the road. It does not seem to make a difference if these are dotted or full lines
- I do not see a difference between Autobahn or highway driving as long as the markings are clear
- I also did not see a difference between driving during daytime or nighttime hours
- There seems to be no degradation in functionality in rainy conditions compared to good weather
- lane change also works very reliably. I've used it regularly every day and I've only had a couple of instances where it would not change lanes even with good markings on both sides of the road
On suburban roads
- autopilot will keep on steering the car if the side markings disappear but a clear median marking remains on the road. If the road starts to curve too much ( I have not been able to find out what the maximum "acceptable" curve is yet), then the autopilot will disengage more often
- if you are nearing a roundabout the autopilot will stop. I've tried it several times and it just does not seem to know what a roundabout is : )
General thoughts around cruise control and autopilot
- It seems as if the regular cruise control has become more responsive. I used to run into situations often where I had to apply the brakes ahead of the regular cruise control. After the 7.0 update my Model S seems to be more aware of what's going on in front and applies the brakes in time.
Of course the 7.0 Update delivered additional improvements / changes that I think are significant. One feature that I did not see reported a lot online is the improved proximity warning /display. Before the update you just got some white / yellow or red curved lines depending on the distance to an obstacle.
Now with the 7.0 update this has changed to a virtual "bubble" that, depending on the situation almost wraps the whole car. It also seems to be a lot more sensitive than with the old software.
- separate brightness controls for the dash and the 17" screen. I don't know if it's just me, but I immediately changed the theme from "auto" to "night" mode since I absolutely hate the white daytime look. But even with the nighttime theme, the 17" screen is still too bright for me when driving at night. I have it set down to 50% brightness in order to keep the instrument cluster at a sufficient brightness but then the 17" screen is still too bright for me taste. I would really love to set it at 50% brightness for the instruments and 30% for the huge 17" display when driving at night.
- responsive brightness controls based on ambient lighting. I am not sure if this is not implemented or just not working properly. My display does not change brightness depending on the lighting conditions outside. I was used to this feature on my Chevy Volt.
- more detailed energy usage stats - even though it does not matter so much anymore with the great range I get on my 85D, I would really love to see what I am spending my battery power on. I'd like to see a meter for Driving, Cabin (heating / cooling) and Entertainment. It's not a killer feature, but the inner geek in me would love to see this. This is also something I got used to driving the Volt.
- integrated web based remote route planner - We should be able to plan a route on mytesla.com and the route would automatically appear on the navigation screen in the car
- integrated supercharger busy status - I'd hate to drive for hours and then ending up having to wait at a supercharger because all slots are taken. Tesla most likely already knows about the status of their superchargers. It should be an easy thing to display this information on the 17" screen.