Tesla releases software update enabling Autopilot to stay in passing lane

With a new Software Update, Tesla Autopilot is now offering drivers the option to remain in the passing lane. Though standard traffic rules recommend drivers maneuver in the right lane and only use the left lane to pass slower vehicles, some travelers prefer to stay in the “fast lane,” and Tesla now gives this choice in its Autopilot feature.

The functionality is officially named “Exit Passing Lane,” and is included in the 2020.36.10 Software Update. The capability is available on Autopilot with Navigate, which is different from the Complete Self-Driving package, which includes operation of Hardware 2.5 or newer.

“Exit Passing Lane” is also available on all four newly launched Tesla models and is available in the USA, Australia, Canada, China and New Zealand.

According to TeslaScope.com, the release notes state:

While Navigate on Autopilot is activated, your car can now remain in the passing lane. To adjust your passing lane preference, tap Controls > Autopilot > CUSTOMIZE NAVIGATE ON AUTOPILOT > EXIT PASSING LANE.

Tesla is releasing this update as an option to give drivers more customization during their driving experience. Although the right lane is generally a quicker direction of travel, in many states the driving rules suggest that the right lane can be used only to overtake slower vehicles. The overuse of the lane will slow down traffic flow.

Tesla Model 3 exits freeway on Autopilot (Credit: Cf Tesla via YouTube)

Extensive driving in the “fast lane” will result in tickets and fines. However, where the misunderstanding comes in, is the state-to-state variation in laws surrounding the use of the left lane. According to Geico, 29 states have legislation specifying that “any car moving slower than the surrounding traffic should be in the right lane.” However, other states are more restrictive, and remember that the left lane is only reserved to turn or pass.

In Georgia, driving slower on the left lane than neighboring traffic is a misdemeanor, and Tennesee has a $50 fine for drivers on the left lane who travel at a slower speed than others.

In order for Navigate on Autopilot to automatically return to the right-hand lane, the feature will now need to be turned on. Otherwise, the Tesla vehicle will remain in the left-hand lane.

Having the option to return to the left lane allows drivers the ability to monitor their driving style while semi-autonomous features of Tesla are being used. Combined with the “following distance” option of Tesla, the feature will give owners complete control over how their car functions while using the Full Self-Driving suite.

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