Tesla Autopilot vs Self-Driving Mode

Tesla Autopilot vs Self-Driving Mode: What Is The Differences

If you tell me that the Tesla Self-Driving mode has more features than the Tesla Autopilot mode, it shouldn’t surprise you, right?

It’s partly because the Tesla Autopilot mode was launched about one year before the launch of Tesla Full Self-Driving. Tesla Motors had more flexibility when you developed the Full Self-Driving mode because of the Autopilot mode.

Now, people often argue about stuff like Tesla Autopilot vs Self-Driving, which is valid at some point. Although not fair entirely.

To be brief, Tesla Autopilot is free for every Tesla car model, but the Tesla Full Self-Driving needs a special subscription that can enable the feature. And also, the Self-Driving mode features are more advanced and more in number than the Autopilot mode.

Tesla Autopilot vs Self-Driving Mode

What can Tesla Autopilot offer

Tesla Autopilot mode was first introduced in September 2014, which became a path for autonomous cars in the market. The Tesla Autopilot mode can offer you many things. 

You should know that Autopilot mode isn’t just a simple mode. It has various convenient features which make the Autopilot mode a whole.

Autosteer, Auto Parking, Auto Braking, Auto Acceleration, Traffic Aware Cruise Control, Navigate on Autopilot (NoA), etc. Autopilot can help you get to the location you want through the fastest and traffic-less route with the help of Tesla Live Traffic Visualization, which can be subscribed to by Tesla Premium Connectivity. It will only cost you about 10 US dollars per month or 100 US dollars per year.

That was all for the Tesla Autopilot mode. Now, let’s see what self-driving mode can offer us.

What can Self-Driving mode offer

Tesla has a Full Self-Driving (FSD) mode that was released in October 2015 and it is installed in Tesla cars. Although you can’t get the benefit of the FSD in all Tesla cars.

The customers have to buy a specific car model in order to get the FSD mode. Basically, Tesla’s FSD mode was released to help out its Autopilot mode.

While helping out the Autopilot mode, the Tesla FSD mode has arguably surpassed it. The features that come with an FSD Tesla car are Summoning, Traffic Aware Cruise Control, Lane Keeping, Partially Autonomous Navigation, Collision Avoidance, etc.

Even if you’ve only purchased the standard version of Tesla which only offers Autopilot mode, you can get the FSD mode from anywhere if you spend 6,000 US dollars on Tesla Premium Connectivity.

What is the difference between full self-driving and Autopilot

Although the differences aren’t quite massive in numbers. There are more similarities compared to differences. Still, we can’t cancel out the differences, right?

So, let’s see what are the basic differences between the Full Self-Driving and Autopilot modes.

Availability in Tesla cars

Although it isn’t a race if it was then the Autopilot mode might get an advantage here.

It’s because every Tesla car model, including the Tesla Model 3, Model S, Model X, and Model Y has the Autopilot mode installed on it. 

On the contrary, not all Tesla cars have a Full Self-Driving feature on them. But if you buy a standard Tesla car, you can still get the FSD mode with Tesla Premium Connectivity by subscribing for 6,000 US dollars.

Subscriptions for Premium Connectivity

As for the subscription, we already talked about it, didn’t we? Still, let’s just compare both of them and see which one is less expensive.

This comparison is actually relative. For the Autopilot mode, you have to subscribe to Tesla Premium Connectivity for 9.99 US dollars per month and 99.99 US dollars per year. That means you need to keep subscribing if you want to keep using the feature.

And for the Full Self-Driving mode, you need to spend 6,000 US dollars on Tesla Premium Connectivity, but only once on a Tesla car. And if you sell your Tesla car it will be considered as Salvage, meaning the new owner needs to purchase the FSD feature again with 6,000 US dollars.

If you come to compare both of them, the Autopilot mode’s subscription might seem to be useless after six years, although Premium Connectivity isn’t all about the Autopilot mode. With that subscription, you can unlock the Sentry Mode, Live Traffic Visualization, Navigation, Remote Access from the Tesla Mobile App, etc.


Hands down, the FSD features are far more advanced than the Autopilot features, also they are high in numbers.

The Autopilot features are just normal and standard features that help the driver to feel comfortable and make it easier for him to drive the car.

And for the FSD mode, it can easily take over the entire driving system and the driver just needs to sit there. Also, the Smart Summoning and Reverse-Parking feature doesn’t even require the driver to be in the car. Then there are Lane Keeping, Collision Avoidance, and TACC features that will let the car navigate to the destination on its own. 

Questions people often ask:

1. Is Tesla Autopilot the same as self-driving?

We can’t say that it’s the same as the self-driving feature. There are similarities, but they aren’t exactly the same. We’ve explained the differences above.

2. Are Teslas actually self-driving?

Of course, they are. Without a doubt, Tesla cars are fully functional and self-driven. The driver might not need to move a muscle to control the car. 

The TACC will keep the car from tailgating, the Lane Keeping will make sure the car doesn’t go off track, the Auto Lane Changing will change the lanes without the driver’s input, and the Collision Avoidance can detect the objects around Tesla with help of eight Tesla cameras.

3. Is Tesla Autopilot worth getting?

The FSD mode might be a better option here, but if you consider all the features you can get with Premium Connectivity, then you will notice that purchasing the Autopilot is worth it.


Although both of them have made quite an impact on the autonomous car in the market, the Full Self-Drive feature is better than the Autopilot feature with some credits. 

We can’t say that the Autopilot feature isn’t good at all, you can get a lot from the Autopilot feature. The FSD will simply let your car drive it on its own. So, the Autopilot mode is quite a good one if you don’t have enough trust in Artificial Intelligence.

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