Now with a video: Tesla's Autopilot and Autosteer make highway driving a dream

When the driver of a Tesla Model S enables Autopilot and Autosteer, as I did today on Route 17 in northern New Jersey, the car drives itself, slows and accelerates, stays in lane, and follows curves in the road as well as lane shifts.

The speedometer and steering wheel symbols flanking the digital speed display indicate the driver has turned on Autopilot and Autosteer by pulling back twice on the cruise-control stalk.


No one can claim driving in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area is fun.

But now Tesla Motors has introduced Autopilot and Autosteer, the ultimate cruise control.

Just two quick movements of the cruise-control stalk in a Tesla Model S enables both auto-drive functions.

In stop-and-go traffic on Route 17 south in Paramus today, I took my hands off of the steering wheel and my foot off of the accelerator, and let my Model S drive itself:

The car slowed and accelerated, and followed a lane shift in a construction zone near the Garden State Parkway.

Take a look at a brief video my wife made as we drove past the Tesla Showroom and Service Center on Autopilot and Autosteer:

Self-drive Tesla defeats Route 17

To change lanes, you simply push down or up on the turn-signal stalk.

Relaxing behind the wheel

I have been using cruise control in my Toyota Prius hybrid on the parkway and turnpike for more than a decade as a way of relaxing.

Speed freaks, tailgaters and other aggressive drivers can just go to hell as I maintain a steady speed to the beat of jazz or soothing classical music.

Now, with Autopilot and Autosteer in my Model S, the North Jersey driving experience just got a whole lot calmer.

The software update I received early Friday includes a simplified digital display, above.

At a Tesla Supercharger on the New Jersey Turnpike in East Brunswick. 

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