Tesla Motors Releases YouTube Videos Promoting Autopilot, Auto Parking Features of Tesla’s V7.0 Operating System

Californian electric automaker Tesla Motors most certainly likes to keep us on our toes. With its ongoing Model S owner referral program and more fan-based videos promoting the Tesla Model S and Model X than we can count, we’ve long said that Tesla doesn’t actually need to spend any money on its own advertising.

Yet yesterday, Tesla released three of its own videos, essentially advertising three new features of its Version 7.0 software update to the Tesla Model S and Tesla Model X operating system: Autopark, Auto Lane Change, and Autosteer.

Tesla shows how to operate its autopilot features in three short videos.

Tesla shows how to operate its autopilot features in three short videos.

Just sixteen seconds each in length, the videos don’t exactly represent a massive ad budget in play. But despite their length, each is expertly shot and produced, with each telling a simple story about the ease in which the various features can be activated.

One shows a driver activating the Autosteer functionality using a double-tap of the car’s indicator stalk while driving on a busy freeway. The next shows Auto Lane Change in use, while the final one shows a Model S perfectly parking itself next to the curb on a side street.

It’s not clear what prompted Tesla to produce these videos, especially since previous Model S software updates haven’t been introduced with any great fanfare. Given the number of Tesla Model S autopilot videos online, we’d have expected the usual fan videos would have sufficed, but perhaps in this instance, promotion of the correct way in which to use the various autopilot-enabled features was of greater importance to the Californian automaker.

Why do we say this? Made available a few weeks ago via an over-the-air update to some 60,000 Tesla Model S cars around the world made after the start of October last year when the feature was first previewed, the new autonpilot features switched on by Version 7.0 of Tesla’s operating system are certainly the most revolutionary update to Tesla’s lineup of vehicles to date.

Is this the start of a new video ad campaign for Tesla?

Is this the start of a new video ad campaign for Tesla?

Ensuring its customers fully understand how the autopilot system works is not only good customer service, but also ensures customers don’t mistreat the system. While Tesla has already told its customers that the autopilot features thus far should be considered ‘public betas’ and need to be treated with attentive caution, some customers aren’t following Tesla’s advice to keep their hands on the wheel at all times.

Thankfully, the majority of Tesla owners who have taken to YouTube to showcase their car’s newly-learned features are doing so in a responsible way, paying careful attention to the road ahead while gingerly lifting their hands a few inches off the wheel to prove that the car is indeed driving itself. Indeed, we’ve already seen several videos showcasing how Tesla’s autopilot system and active safety features (also enabled with the Version 7.0 update) can help keep drivers and passengers safe from accidents.

Sadly, there are always those who choose not to follow Tesla’s advice, including multiple videos from owners who chose to completely vacate the drivers’ seat while letting their car drive along the road.

In both the video above and below, the behavior is both counter to Tesla’s own advice — and extremely irresponsible too.

While Tesla Motors [NASDAQ:TSLA] CEO Elon Musk has already said that Tesla intends to take extra steps to ensure that customers cannot continue to take irresponsible and dangerous action with its autopilot software, we’re wondering if Tesla’s three 16-second videos are designed to offer a more positive representation of how Tesla’s software should work, while distancing the company from the irresponsible acts of some of its customers.

Either way, we’re curious to know if Tesla will continue to make such videos in the future, and look forward to seeing them if and when they appear.

Do you think these video shorts are worthwhile? Do they show Tesla in a new light, and is this the start of a new marketing strategy for the automaker?

Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.


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  • Bruce Moore

    I’m shocked that Tesla isn’t disabling Autopilot when no one is seating in the driver’s seat.

    • Joe Viocoe

      Huh… you can only enable from behind the wheel. At what point can a driver jump out without the autopilot disabling?

      Also, you DO KNOW that the Autopilot DOES DISABLE, not from the seat sensor, but if the driver doesn’t periodically hold the steering wheel.

      The Steering wheel is a better measure of the driver being present and aware, than a seat sensor that won’t know if someone is sleeping.

      • vdiv

        Could use both, the passenger can be holding the wheel, kind of…

        • Joe Viocoe

          That’s a stretch…. 😉

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