In a recent customer survey, Bloomberg asked 5,000 Model 3 owners about their experience with the electric car maker’s software for automated driving on highways and parking lots, with over 90% of participants saying the ‘Autopilot’ feature makes them safer.
Tesla currently offers two packages of Autopilot features. The basic version comes standard and includes automatic in-lane steering and advanced cruise control, while the upgraded “Full Self-Driving” package gets a Model 3 owner frequent software updates that the company promises will eventually allow the car to drive itself.
While hundreds of survey participants recalled dangerous behaviours, such as phantom braking or failing to stop for a road hazard, they still gave Autopilot high overall ratings. “Autopilot is great as a second set of eyes on the road,” said one participant.
Below are some interesting Model 3 owner responses, who describe times when Autopilot either put them in a dangerous situation or avoided what might have otherwise been an unavoidable danger:
“The car detected a pile-up in fog and applied the brakes/alerted driver and began a lane change to avoid it before I took over. I believe it saved my life.”
“A deer jumped in front of me on a dark road at night. By the time my foot moved to the brake pedal, it was already pressed to the floor!”
“During one of its automatic lane changes into a lane behind a semi, it SLAMMED on my brakes for no reason. The cars behind me managed to avoid rear ending me.”
“It seemed to make risky choices whenever an unusual situation arises, like a missing lane line or a truck merging suddenly into your lane.”
“Whiteout conditions. Lake effect snow in Cleveland. Streets were extremely icy. A crossing car ran a red light going 45 mph at a blind intersection obscured by trees and the Model 3 automatically stopped before I could react. I missed a driver side collision, potentially fatal, by less than a car length.”
All new Tesla cars come equipped with some version of Autopilot, and drivers collectively have logged nearly 2 billion miles under its direction.