/Can you Text and Drive a Tesla at the Same Time?

Can you Text and Drive a Tesla at the Same Time?

Video: Can you Text and Drive a Tesla at the Same Time?


So most of you guys know I drive a manual Toyota Tacoma. I have for years. My last truck was a manual, this truck is a manual. I don't drive an automatic vehicle because I like being in control. Well this is a Tesla, and it has something called autopilot, which means it basically drives for you. One of the questions I've had in my head is can you text and drive a Tesla at the same time while its doing its autopilot thing. Because it's actually illegal in 47 states to text and drive at the same time. But what if you're not technically driving? There's only one way to find out.

We're in the middle of nowhere right now on a very secluded road where it should be safe to do this. Let's get started. [Intro] Alright so this is the Model X. There are a total of 8 cameras surrounding this thing. We're going to see if we can find them all. I know up here by the rear view mirror there are three cameras, one pointing straight forward and two at a diagonal, I believe. Then there's another camera right here up here by the driver's seat. It kind of like points down to the road to find the lanes that you're in. There's also a series of ultrasonic sensors which are these little bits right here. I assume they're plastic. Here by the passenger side window we have another camera. And there's another camera right here on the side pointing back towards the lane. So that should be all of the cameras and the ultrasonic sensors.

There are another 4 sensors on the front as well…here and there. Same on the other side. So all of those sensors and radar, which I think is behind the rear view mirror as well, it could be somewhere different, that's just where it's at on my Tacoma, should be able to keep us safe while we're driving. I just put my foot on the break, oh and the door closes. Alright, so we are currently inside the Model X and it has this huge dash right here with the display. Got the Tesla logo. So Dan, how do we turn on the autopilot? [Dan] Okay so first of all you need to be driving. The car is always looking and it's showing you up here in the front, it has to see the lines on the road and see it long enough to recognize that okay, this is a road, we can drive, I can look at this, and then it's always looking at the other cars. So once it pops up and you're in a place where it's legitimately a safe or a good place for you to do it, then there will be a little gray steering wheel that will pop up right here, and then you know you're ready to enable it. And at that point, there's a little lever on the side you just have to pull back on it 2 times, and you'll be good to go. [Zack] Alright, so right now our route is programmed for CES because that's where we're headed.

We're headed to a high-tech conference in a high-tech car. Pretty stoked about that. So I am going to switch us down into drive. There is no key for like, you know, ignition for this car because there's no combustion engine. It's just like an electric engine underneath. And so the car is ready to go right now, and it's so weird to me because there's like no explosions happening under the hood or under the bonnet if you're on the other side of the ocean. And so we're going to go ahead and merge over into this lane. We're on the road. And on the computer right now, if you can show the dashboard right here, it's showing us that we can see the lanes that we're in. It shows either side of it and it can, say like if I merge over a little bit to the side right here, it shows me at the edge of the lane. Or if I get on the other side, it'll move over to that side of the lane. So it's keeping track with all of those cameras around the outside of the vehicle where we are located in the lane itself.

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Okay, one thing that is super important is that there does have to be lines on the road for the autopilot to work. And so if we want to show the road right now, we can see that there are lines on this newly paved road so we should be fine. And then here on the dashboard we have this grey steering wheel icon, which means that we are enabled and ready to go into autopilot. The icon is this little guy right here. So in order to get on autopilot I'm going to pull in…so it's not these top two shifters, but there's a shifter underneath and I'm going to pull it twice and I'll hear this little ding, and then the steering wheel starts moving by itself. It's the strangest thing! And so right now it's set…

it shows me the speed limit. So the speed limit shows up right here and my max is one mile an hour above the speed limit. I'll drop that down one more. And so this blue steering wheel right here shows us that we're in autopilot, and it shows us where in the lane we currently are. And the car's driving completely by itself…like it just took a turn in the car and I didn't touch a thing. So when I turn on the autopilot on this vehicle, there is a little warning message that pops up telling me to keep my hands close to the steering wheel at all times. Because remember, autopilot is different than autonomous driving, and I do have to be ready to take over just in case anything goes wrong. Remember full autonomous driving has not been approved yet in the United States, and that's why the hardware is ready inside of the Tesla's, but it's not enabled yet.

So every now and then this will pop up a little warning telling me that I have to hold onto the steering wheel in order for it to continue taking us to our destination or where we have planned to go. And so while I can look at you and talk to you and the car's going to do all the turning and braking, and if like another car merges into our lane is going to stop, it's still going to make sure that I'm awake and that I'm attentive by having me…see right here it says “hold the steering wheel”. And the outside of this frame has started to flash a little bit. So I'm going to grab the steering wheel with my hands and then that warning sign goes away and then it goes back to autonomous driving. So I am looking forward to the fully autonomous driving in the future.

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This autopilot is a step in that direction. My question is what happens when someone gets too comfortable on this autopilot? So right now that warning message just popped up on the steering wheel saying I have to grab the steering wheel to show that I'm attentive, I'm not texting, I'm not, you know, watching a movie or something like that. So we're going to see how long it takes for the car to actually stop. We just heard it beep. And it doesn't know if I'm asleep, it doesn't know if I'm texting, it doesn't know if I'm talking to a YouTube camera. So it just beeped again. So if I was falling asleep, I probably would be awake by now and I could show that I'm attentive…Oh check out this… “auto steering not available for the rest of the drive.” [Dan] And it stops in the middle of the road! [Zack] It stopped us in the middle of the road.

So there's a car coming, so I'm going to move our car really quick. It just said press the accelerator pedal. Everything turned off as soon as I accelerated. Okay, so now we're going to pull over and access what just happened here. [Dan] I've never done that in my Tesla and I was pretty nervous, and I was surprised at how fast it was, like that happened quick. [Zack] Yeah, like if we…let's say I was having a heart attack or some kind of medical emergency or something like that…now I kind of wish that it would have pulled over to the side of the road. Maybe with autopilot it doesn't know what lane we're in. And so it just stopped in the center of the road and turned on our flashers, which was probably a good thing. But that was really interesting and it happened really quick.

What was that? Between the time that we started autopilot and I never touched the steering wheel, it was probably within about 60 seconds. That was interesting. That was pretty quick. [Dan] That was a little scary. I didn't expect it to stop in the middle of the road, like what if you were driving on the actual freeway? We were on a safe road off in the middle of a…not even a town, we're in some farmland. But what if you're on the freeway, four-lane highway going 85 miles an hour, which in Utah the speed limit is 80 on some of these roads, and the car just stops and turns on the flashers right in the middle of the road? I guess it's safer than if you had a heart attack and the car just kept on going and veered off and stopped. That's definitely one way to get your attention. [Zack] One thing that did freak me out a little bit, and I hope that it doesn't mess up the car permanently, it said that it was…that feature was not going to be available for the rest of the drive.

So I'm curios now if we start the car up again if that gray steering wheel which allows us to go into autopilot is not popping up. So I wonder what that punishment period is. I wonder how long that's going to last. [Dan] Well thanks to your little test, Zack, it's not like we have 6 and a half hours left till Vegas! We're driving an autonomous car and we can't even use autopilot the rest of the trip. [Zack] You win some, you lose some. You know, we'll keep track of it. We'll drive for another 4 or 5 hours and we'll see if that gray steering wheel pops up. And in the mean time, I'm sorry Dan that your car is not autonomous anymore. [Dan] Okay, here's what I think is going to happen, I'm hoping, we're about 15 minutes away from an actual super charging station so I'm hoping that if we sit parked for maybe 30 minutes, get some electricity in this car, maybe it'll count as a new session, a new driving session, once we get back on the road because 6 and a half hours of driving to Las Vegas to CES with no autopilot.

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.I know it's like first world problems, but I really like my autopilot It's nice. You may have killed it! [Zack] I hope it comes back eventually. Good news, we made it to Las Vegas, and even better news, the autopilot started working. [Dan] Thank you for not breaking it. [Zack] So we had to stop and charge like 15 or 20 minutes after we did our test, and then we started the car again and the autopilot was working and it worked for the rest of the trip. We did not try to make the car break again, but it was interesting to see the probation period between when we broke it and when it started working again. [Dan] It really wasn't much, and I would think that Tesla would maybe punish you a little bit more because, think about it, you fell asleep, or you were texting, or just weren't paying attention, it was like yelling us, beeping and shining lights at us. But yet, 20 minutes later…30 minutes later, autopilot is engaged. [Zack] It'll be interesting to see what happens when the fully autonomous driving kicks in and what kind of stipulations there are with that technology when it's legal and implemented and everything.

The coolest part to me though about this road trip was that we didn't pay one single cent for gasoline. [Dan] That is really nice. I mean, those of you that are buying a Model 3 right now, I know a lot of those are going out, you have to pay for your supercharging at all of these stations always. It's still cheaper than gas. But for the Model S and the Model X they have this referral program right now to where if you use somebody's code, somebody that already has a Tesla, then you get your charging for free. And that's only until I think January 31st. And then Tesla will probably come out with another one, but if you're thinking about getting a Tesla within the next few months, now would probably be the time so that you can take advantage of that supercharging. [Zack] So I'm going to steal Dan's code and put it down in the description so if you're thinking about buying a Tesla, it's been on your mind and you want that free unlimited charging for life…? [Dan] For the life of the car, yeah, that you own it. [Zack] That goes down in the description. That's a pretty good deal.

So we're at Vegas and one of the coolest things that I'm looking forward to at CES is all of the electric cars. There's one in particular tomorrow that is especially fascinating So stick around for that. Thanks a ton for watching and I'll see you guys around..