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Tesla's new Navigate on Autopilot can now change lanes without confirmation

The system -- while not fully self-driving -- inches toward that goal with the ability to independently execute lane changes.

Tesla's Navigate on Autopilot can now be set to automatically change lanes without further driver input.


When we experienced Tesla's then-new Navigate on Autopilot in November, one of the features that we liked was the requirement that a driver confirm all suggested lane changes before the system would execute them. According to a post on Tesla's blog today, that's changing.

Now, that isn't to say that your Tesla is going to get on the freeway and go all HAL 9000 on you. The default setting for the vehicle is that Navigate On Autopilot must be manually enabled and that lane changes must be confirmed. But now, you can change that.

There are three main changes to the Navigate On Autopilot system in the update that Tesla is pushing to vehicles. The first is to automatically enable the system anytime a driver inputs a destination in the navigation system and uses Autopilot. We dig this; it's just a more seamless way to use the system and it's how we'd have it set on our car.

Secondly, drivers can manually deselect Require Lane Change Confirmation, and this will allow Navigate on Autopilot to automatically make all of its proposed lane changes without further input from the driver. In theory, this is cool, but we'd like to experience the system in its current incarnation before getting too excited.

Navigate On Autopilot was great overall when we experienced it, but it wasn't perfect. Tesla has gone through many Autopilot updates, and Tesla's engineers have data from tens of millions of miles that its customers have driven with it engaged, but it's still not a perfect system.

Finally, drivers can also engage Lane Change Notification, which provides an audible chime when the vehicle is about to make a lane change. Newer Teslas (2017 and later) will also have the option to have the steering wheel vibrate. We'd hope that anyone who disabled lane change confirmations would have this turned on.

These updates -- like Navigate on Autopilot itself -- are available to customers who purchased either Advanced Autopilot or Full Self-driving features.