Tech advanced for electric cars is autopilot technology. And maybe many think that a car with autopilot technology is the same as an unmanned car which is commonly called an autonomous car. However, this differs between autopilot and autonomous car tech.

Difference between Autopilot and Autonomous Car Tech

There are several differences between autopilot and autonomous technology that you can find out, to add insight and knowledge. Here are the differences in autopilot and autonomous car technology, namely:

Concept vehicle

One of the most basic differences in the concept of each vehicle. For this autopilot car, it carries the concept of self-driving. The autopilot concept car carried from the Tesla model x is similar to the autopilot concept in an airplane. As for this autonomous car, it carries the concept of driverless, aka fully unmanned.



Differences in vehicle concepts also greatly affect steering. In autopilot cars that carry the self-driving concept, the presence of the driver is still needed to turn the vehicle on and off. Also, the presence of the driver is very necessary in case of an emergency such as a sensor that suddenly turns off. Meanwhile, autonomous cars also really don’t need a driver. All systems in the vehicle can be controlled remotely.


Autopilot cars and autonomous cars both use a sensor system. But what distinguishes it is the type of sensor it uses. For this autopilot car uses a high specification camera sensor to replace the driver’s eye in seeing the road and surrounding objects. As for this autonomous car, it uses a radar light sense sensor which can be used for navigation activities. The sensor mechanism itself fires and recaptures the reflection of the laser beam to estimate the distance and dimensions of the object in front of it.

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Another thing that distinguishes the two-vehicle models above is the manufacturer that produces them. For autopilot cars produced by automotive manufacturers, such as Tesla Motors, Audi, BMW, and Bentley. Meanwhile, autonomous cars are mostly produced by technology giants like Apple, Google, and Baidu.

Level of security and risk

Level of security and risk

In autopilot cars, the level of safety is claimed to meet the standards. According to the national insurance crime bureau, the auto theft rate for Tesla cars is only 0.15 percent. Also, even though this is an autopilot, the Tesla accident rate is low. In several accidents, there have never been casualties. Meanwhile, autonomous cars that are still under development experience several obstacles such as unwanted maneuvers and software problems.

Production and marketing

If autopilot cars can be marketed through Tesla motor products, it is different from autonomous cars which are still in the development stage. As quoted from the BBC, Google, as the developer of the Waymo autonomous car, still has a lot to make improvements. Funding constraints are also a factor in the difficulty of mass production of Waymo. The latest news says that Google is opening up opportunities for other companies to work together on the Waymo project.

With the difference between autopilot and autonomy, of course, it will not make you confused anymore to distinguish between them. Because the autopilot still requires a driver. Meanwhile, autonomous can operate fully without a driver and the sensors used are also different.