Two Tesla EVs Embarrass Themselves in a Self-Parking Test, There's a Simple Reason for It

Tesla Trying to Autopark 10 photos
Photo: RSymons RSEV on YouTube
Tesla Model S Trying to AutoparkAnxious Tesla DriverConfused Tesla DriverTesla Model S Trying to AutoparkAudi e-tron GT Parallel ParkedBMW i4 Parallel ParkedFord Mustang Mach-E Parallel ParkedTesla Model 3 Trying to AutoparkTesla Model S with Autopilot 1 Successfully Parked
How good is car technology and, more specifically, driver-assistance software nowadays? Almost everyone would say that it’s advanced enough to assist those behind the wheel of newer vehicles with basic maneuvers. Some automakers are even fighting over who makes the best “self-driving” cars. But take parallel and perpendicular parking as an example to prove that customers can access two useful functions in crowded places, and you might be surprised by the results. Here’s what’s going on.
For starters, we need to understand that no carmaker is currently offering full driving automation. Mercedes-Benz is inching closer to something that resembles the Level 5 of automated driving as defined by the SAE J3016 standard because the company accepts liability for an accident only when Drive Pilot is enabled and only when the system is proven to have been at fault, but, from a legal and scientific point of view, it remains a Level 3 autonomous system.

Even the Waymo driverless taxis aren’t reaching Level 5. They’re still at Level 4 because a human can always take back control remotely or by sending a driver to the car. Enhanced Autopilot (EAP) or Full Self-Driving (FSD) Beta sure sound cool, but they do not replace the human behind the wheel and cannot be used as an excuse in case of an accident – for now.

Tesla customers know that choosing to pay $6,000 for EAP or $12,000 for FSD doesn’t get them any state-of-the-art guaranteed perks. They are always responsible and must be ready to assume full control of the car when prompted to do so or when the advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) fail to make the correct move.

But let’s get back to simpler things. What happens when two Tesla vehicles, an Audi, a Ford, and a BMW, try to parallel park? This is a basic function found in newer cars. Volkswagen, for example, used to have it on vehicles with acoustic sensors and just a rear camera. These vehicles are now over seven-years-old. It worked, and on some cars, it still does. This technology is even present in the likes of the Toyota Prius and Chevrolet Malibu.

In 2022, this should be a simple task

According to a demonstration recorded by RSymons RSEV on YouTube, the Audi e-tron GT, the Ford Mustang Mach-E, and the BMW i4 can recognize a free spot near a sidewalk and can safely execute the proper parking maneuver. They leave enough space in the front and the rear. The EV trio can also get close enough to the sidewalk without touching the curb and damaging the wheels.

BMW i4 Parallel Parked
Photo: RSymons RSEV on YouTube
Out of these three, the test done on two separate attempts with each car emphasizes the Bavarian-made EV as the simplest to use, most precise machine when it comes to parallel parking. The person behind the wheel just has to pay attention and brake, if necessary. On the Ford and Audi, a button must be pressed constantly to confirm human presence.

Enter Tesla. Specifically, a 2019 Tesla Model S “Raven” with FSD Beta. The YouTuber says the car scans any gaps automatically at any point. However, when Autopark is enabled, the car starts the maneuver but freezes before entering the parking spot. The next two attempts to fill the gap with the same EV fail. The driver makes sure the car can fit by parking manually, and it goes right in.

To give Tesla another shot, they make the parking space bigger by moving the other cars that have passed the test. The Model S “Raven” recognizes the available space and starts to Autopark, but it takes a lot of maneuvers, and it leaves the car far away from the curb. In a crowded environment, this would most likely stress out the driver.

The YouTuber tries once more, and the result is similar. The car gets inside the spot, then drives itself out of it, restarts the procedure, and still manages to park far from the sidewalk. They give it yet another try without any improvement.

Just one more attempt might do the trick

Convinced Tesla could do better in the parallel parking department, the driver brings a 2019 Model 3 Performance with FSD. However, this vehicle that’s smaller than the Model S fails to properly enter the space promptly. It detects pedestrians that aren’t any danger to the car and finishes the procedure closer to the curb than the Model S, but not as tidy as the other three EVs. Unfortunately, the next attempt shows Autopark not improving anything. A third try doesn’t bring anything good, but it makes the whole situation even worse.

Tesla Model S with Autopilot 1 Successfully Parked
Photo: RSymons RSEV on YouTube
The YouTuber doesn’t give up on Tesla. He brings a pre-2017 Model S equipped with Autopilot 1. The free space is recognized immediately, and the parking maneuver is done fast and clean.

By now, if you’re a Tesla fan, investor, or loyal customer, you might already be thinking about getting inside your own EV made by the American manufacturer and testing this feature by yourself. The thing you need to know before starting any parking maneuvers is that BMW, Ford, and Audi are using Mobileye’s technology. The company is currently owned by Intel, and it has been a part of the self-driving journey since 2007.

Tesla used Mobileye’s solutions until 2017 when it decided that going on its own way would be much better and more profitable long-term. But this doesn’t mean Tesla can’t work on making Autopark better. It just shows the company is more focused on the driving part of FSD and EAP.

An update could fix this issue, even though there aren’t many drivers that make use of Autopark. Most Tesla owners like the Smart and Reverse Summon features better, which, admittedly, could also benefit from an update. The company knows what the customers are doing with their cars. It has the data, and it acts accordingly. However, this isn't an excuse. Tesla should be able to win such comparisons or at least tie with competitors.

The self-parking test is concluded with a perpendicular tryout. The EVs made by BMW, Audi, and Ford ace it. The three Tesla don’t even recognize the parking space.

Now watch the video for yourself and tell us what you think about all this. Should Tesla improve Autopark soon, or is automating driving more useful and important now?

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About the author: Florin Amariei
Florin Amariei profile photo

Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
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