The Autopilot software on the Tesla Model 3 is a great feature. It significantly improves the safety of the driver and the passengers over the course of the ride. Even in the latest Bloomberg survey, which gathered opinions from 5,000 Tesla Model 3 owners, Autopilot was rated as a highly useful feature by 90% of them.
Furthermore, 28% of the surveyed owners said that their lives have been saved by Autopilot, at least on one occasion.
Recently, YouTube channel “Dirty Tesla” tested Autopilot during heavy snowfall and the results are quite surprising. The channel’s host tested his 2019 Tesla Model 3 All Wheel Drive during a heavy snowfall. He drove the electric car on the highway at around cruising speeds and here is the result.
Tesla Model 3 On Autopilot Aces Snowfall Driving, But Also Has A Hard Time
At the start of the video, the presenter explained that the Autopilot was unable to function because of the heavy deposition of snow on the street road. “You can’t even see the lane-lines, that’s why the autopilot doesn’t turn on.”
The entire journey consists of Autopilot being switched ON and OFF several times during the 25-mile long journey, for a number of reasons. The presenter said while entering the highway “from here on out the car is going to do everything and I am going to try not to interfere”
“Unless, of course, I need to take over, I will be doing that but let’s see if the car can make it,” he added.
He explained that he has put the car under “Mad Max” lane change mode which allows the Model 3 to change lanes while speeding. The Tesla Model 3 was running the latest 2019 36.2.1 update, released a few days ago.
The Tesla was able to drive on the highway because the highway was already treated with salt and had almost clear lane lines. During the initial stretch of the journey, the Autopilot on Model 3 had some trouble finding all the lanes. It was able to map out the lane on which the car was driving but nothing beyond it.
The presenter manually took over the control of the Model 3 several times during the trip. but mostly because he wanted to quickly overtake the vehicle in front of him. He also confirmed that the lane-lines looked quite blurry and shaky on the center console screen.
“It (the Autopilot) can’t see very far,” said the presenter after Tesla tried to speed up after taking over a car in front of it. The Tesla Autopilot was working in ‘Shadow Mode’ and making decisions in the background during the time it was switched off.
The presenter said that “if Autopilot isn’t OFF, the car is ready to make lane changes.”
“Even if Autopilot isn’t ON, the way you’re driving, the car is checking itself against you and if you make a different decision then it can send the data to Tesla and they can see why was the car going to do something and you did something different,” he further said explaining the Tesla Shadow Mode.
Later on, in the video, we can see that the reason why the Tesla Model 3 wasn’t able to see very far as the weather condition. The RADAR present on the front was covered heavily in snow and that’s why towards the end of the journey the Autopilot wasn’t turning ON.
The presenter also received an air message stating that RADAR visibility has been reduced. He also proposed applying Neverwet hydrophobic spray to the RADAR as a solution to the snow deposition.
“I’m sure it’ll get a lot better over time but for now I’m going to have to drive myself in the snow,” concluded the presenter.
Tesla Model 3 Autopilot Snowfall Test: Did It Fail?
We can see in the video that for a good amount of distance the Autopilot was working flawlessly, it was only towards the end of the journey when snow began to cover the RADAR, the Autopilot began to fail.
However, the presenter did say that not applying the Neverwet solution over RADAR was his fault. He also promised to test his Tesla Model 3 during a heavy snowstorm (not snowfall) in the near future.