A screenshot of Autopilot 2.0 steering an owner into a ditch, via Scott S on YouTube

The roll out from Tesla Autopilot 1.x to 2.0 has been, uh, less than smooth. The program is still very much in beta, and out of the carā€™s eight cameras in its new hardware suite, only one actually gets used in the new Autopilot software, as one intrepid owner armed with painterā€™s tape discovered.

Weā€™ve seen the new 2.0 system struggling on the road already, something that we didnā€™t worry about too much, as Elon Musk tweeted that for the programming to work right, all of the hardware had to be right, too. A Teslaā€™s eight cameras needed adjustment:

That certainly sounds weird now that one Model S owner covered up his carā€™s cameras one by one only to find that only two had any effect on the carā€™s self-steering performance, as Electrek reports:

A Model S owner in Arizona recently put this to the test and gradually covered the camera and used the Autopilotā€™s Autosteer feature to see if it was affected. He posted the results to the Tesla Motors Club:

He found that the Autopilot only used two out of eight cameras, but Electrek can actually confirm that Tesla currently only uses one out of the eight cameras of the new hardware suite: the main front-facing camera. The tape covering the other front-facing cameras could have affected the main one which could have led his test results, but thereā€™s really only one camera in use when Autosteer is active.

Of course, Tesla keeps using the front-facing radar in addition to the camera, but it goes to show that the new hardware suite by Tesla is not really being utilized right now and the goal is really to bring those first generation features to parity on the new ā€˜Tesla Visionā€™ image recognition system.ļ»æ


Basically, the new software for Autopilot still uses the same hardware as the old Autopilot. The company wants to eventually get both software and hardware running, but when thatā€™s gonna happen could be months from now. Until then, Tesla will limit speed in line with the carsā€™ capabilities.

Hereā€™s Teslaā€™s official response on when Autopilotā€™s fuller form will be reached, per Electrek:

ā€œTo reiterate, if you are at all uncertain about activating the new Autopilot hardware and software, we recommend waiting until at least a few hundred million miles or more have been accumulated. For a short time, we are placing lower limits on the top speed at which the new Autopilot may be used. These will gradually increase to normal levels over the next few months.ā€


Itā€™s weird to see this all happen in very, very public developmental stages, but thatā€™s how Tesla operates. I can see how the pace of advancement thatā€™s so thrilling to Elon and his crew would be more than a little frustrating to actual owners. I would not want to be wondering why expensive high tech parts of my car are indefinitely offline, particularly as there are already unanswered questions of the carā€™s potentially fatal blind spot still floating around.