Autopilot on the Tesla Model S only went live (in production vehicles) a few weeks back, and with that, many drivers are only recently getting to try it out in adverse weather conditions. One of the more challenging scenarios we encounter here in Southern California is heavy rain, to the point where it obscures the view of the road and adds lots of visual static to the situation that can make it extremely difficult to see the road and other cars clearly.
Personally, heavy rain is one of the most difficult driving situations I’ve been in, as it all but cuts off the view of the outside world (as can be seen in the video below). The fact that Autopilot does as well as it does in this short clip gives me hope that Tesla is one step closer to fully autonomous driving. Just as we saw with Summon when it went live in firmware v7.1, this is yet another small scenario where autopilot can check off the box and move on to other challenges. One small step for Autopilot, one giant leap for autos everywhere….
Tesla continues to iterate and improve, with the second generation of production Autopilot hardware already in the works, it’s anyone’s guess just how many iterations of hardware will be required before fully autonomous driving can be realized. It was exactly this iterative methodology that spurred me to get a Model S in December instead of waiting for all the cool features, because the reality is… there will always be more cool features coming. I mean, really… it’s Tesla after all.
For now, drool away at the impressive performance of the car in heavy rain and look out into the future and imagine you are speeding down the road in your fully autonomous Tesla Model S while sipping your morning coffee and checking the news… or taking a nap.