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How Does Tesla's Autopilot Handle Canyon Carving?

Matt Farah of The Smoking Tire and The Drive took a Tesla Model S P90D with Ludicrous Mode canyon carving in his latest One Shot review, and then he decided to let the car’s Autopilot driver assistance software give it a go. So how did it manage?


Well, it really doesn’t like hairpin turns.

After getting up early to make it to a charging station to ensure he’d have plenty of battery juice for some sick Ludicrous Mode launches, Farah decided to see how Tesla’s Autopilot could handle The Snake, the famous curvy California road you’ve probably seen in a gajillion accident videos that also goes by Mulholland Highway.


At first the car refuses to let him activate the Autopilot at a whopping 35-ish miles per hour, so he gives it another go after slowing down to 25 mph. The Model S makes it about 20 seconds on its own before doing things like not turning, forcing Farah to take back control.

A little later in the video he admits that expecting the system to manage the tight hairpin turns at the bottom of The Snake was a little too optimistic, but he was curious. He gives it another go on an easier stretch of road, albeit still curvy, and it manages much better—though he does admit it drives itself a bit like a drunk person.

Of course Tesla’s Autopilot is not intended for the fun roads of Southern California. It’s meant for the relatively tame highways, where it’s truly in its element.

Farah admits that he feels like he puts more energy and focus into what the car is doing when he’s not in control than when he’s actually driving, but calls Autopilot one of the greatest automotive achievements ever.


And it is—in the right environment.

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Autopilot is for the boring stuff. Driving the car yourself is for the fun stuff.

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