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Home / Features / Tesla Autopilot vs Full Self-Driving: what’s the difference between the self-driving modes?

Tesla Autopilot vs Full Self-Driving: what’s the difference between the self-driving modes?

Is the future of Tesla's self-driving all it's cracked up to be?

Mock Tesla Autopilot interior

When you think of Tesla, you think of high-tech electric cars driving themselves, right? The reality’s not quite there yet. Tesla actually has two versions of it’s self-driving tech: Autopilot and Full Self-Driving (FSD).

Neither are quite as advanced as the car driving itself, though FSD is getting there. But what’s the difference between the two?

Functionality: how do they drive?

According to Tesla, Autopilot is designed to assist you with the most burdensome parts of driving. With Autopilot, your Tesla can steer, accelerate and brake automatically within its lane. While it might sound like self-driving, these features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous.

All new Tesla cars have the hardware needed for FSD. The system is designed to drive with no action required by the person in the driver’s seat. With the feature enabled, a Tesla would be able to completely drive itself. Bear in mind that some features require turn signals and are limited in range.

To drive autonomously, Tesla cars use the on-board cameras and ultrasonic systems to detect objects around them. It then uses advanced AI to determine how to follow the road safely and continue driving. This way it knows what to avoid, and where to drive. It’s the same tech that powers Autopilot, just dialled up to 11 and on all the time.

FSD is currently running in beta in the US, which means it’s still being tested, and isn’t quite ready to be rolled out. Autopilot is readily available in all markets where Tesla sells cars.

Where the FSD beta isn’t enabled, Tesla’s full self-driving package offers more advanced features than Autopilot and a reservation for FSD when it rolls out.

Price: you might have to shell out

As FSD is much more advanced, it comes with a higher price tag. Picking up a Tesla today, you’re looking at an extra £6,800 on top of the price of the brand-new car. Autopilot is slightly less at £3,400.

Whether or not the upgrade is worth it or not depends on how much you’ll use the feature. It is worth noting that these self-driving upgrades do have an adjustable price. They have increased since first being offered, and are likely to increase again in the future.

Profile image of Connor Jewiss Connor Jewiss


Connor is a writer for Stuff, working across the magazine and the Stuff.tv website. He has been writing for around seven years now, with writing across the web and in print too. Connor has experience on most major platforms, though does hold a place in his heart for macOS, iOS/iPadOS, electric vehicles, and smartphone tech. Just like everyone else around here, he’s a fan of gadgets of all sorts! Aside from writing, Connor is involved in the startup scene. This exciting involvement puts him at the front of new and exciting tech, always on the lookout for innovating products.

Areas of expertise

Mobile, macOS, EVs, smart home

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