Model 3

Autopilot on a long trip...

So, I finally had the opportunity to thoroughly see what Tesla Model 3 autopilot can and cannot do. I took a trip from Tampa, FL to Key West (455 miles). On the scale from 1 to 10, as much as I would love to, I cannot give it more than 5.

Here are some observations:
- Reading STOP signs. Yes M3 can read the stop signs but it is not worth much because most of the roads the STOP sign is on are either unmarked or marked very badly, and Autopilot cannot engage.

- Traffic lights reading is fine until M3 sees the flashing yellow light. Then it goes crazy, and berserk, even when following the car in front of it (the distance setting was set to 1). The car doesn't know what to do and it keeps jerking like crazy, despite me pushing the gas pedal to tell it to go thru it. Until it finally starts screeching, tells me to take over and comes to a halt. This is very dangerous if there is a car behind you. State Road #1 to Key West is full of these flashing yellow lights and there were multiple times where I almost got hit from behind because of the constant breaking and jerking.

- When Autopilot sees the car crossing the road in close proximity, it breaks too late! The car slams on breaks very hard, but by the time it does, the car has already passed, and there was no danger anymore. All it does was doing a number on my kidneys.

- Seeing pedestrians very close to the road, the Autopilot starts screeching and tells me to take over. Isn't it supposed to stop by itself??? Granted, there was no imminent danger to the pedestrians because they were still waiting for the car to pass, but this does not give my much confidence that the car will stop if it sees an obstacle, like people in front of it.

- Changing Lane Assistant is a very dangerous thing! It is a danger to me and to everyone else on the road.
+ On average, it takes about 10-11 seconds for autopilot to switch lanes and that is too long, especially in Florida where everybody is driving like it is a competitive sport.
+ Lane switching is smooth, but it should also be swift. I almost crashed 2 times because of how long it takes to switch lanes from the moment Autopilot turns on the signal to when it actually switches lanes.
+ When Autopilot turns on the signal to switch lanes, it is waiting for the safe conditions, I get that. However, when the driver behind me sees my blinker flashing, he guns it down so I don't get in front of him. Two timers it was a very close call. Tesla Autopilot turns on the signal intending to switch the lanes. The jerk driver behind, in the passing lane sees my signal and hits the gas pedal to not let me in front of him. Then my Tesla started switching lanes but by then it was already too late and not safe anymore, so the car jerked, started screeching, however, the driver behind me, in my lane was already too close because he assumed I was going to depart the lane much earlier. It created a very dangerous situation.
+ Another time, when Autopilot signaled it wants to switch lanes (I was in the middle lane), the driver next to me in the right lane saw it and he assumed that was going to switch lanes swiftly, he started switching to my lane and my Tesla hasn't even departed yet because of that long waiting time. Again, there was screeching for me to take over, which I did, but still, I was literally inches away from crashing at 75mph.
+ I would like to suggest, when switching lanes, the car should be programmed to do it faster. It should first determine that it is safe, then turn on the signal, and do it swiftly in a safe manner. This was it creates many dangers.

The biggest question is: How is Tesla going to solve the most challenging problem about the autopilot - idiot drivers? And if you want to work on this, believe me, Florida is the most perfect place for it.

On a positive note, the 455 miles trip back and forth went great and smooth as far as battery consumption and recharging is consumed. The calculations to the next supercharging stations are incredibly accurate. It calculates exactly how much battery you need to your next stop so you don't have to charge the battery to 100% every time, thus your charging time is much, much shorter. It took me on average 15 - 20 minutes to recharge. That is almost equal amount of time the gas cars are using on such a long trips - stretch your legs, go to bathroom, etc. It takes about 8 hours from Tampa to Key West without any stopping other then just filling the gas tank. It took us 9 hours to get there with 3 stops for recharging, and lunch. I could have gotten away with only 2 stops for recharging, but I could not resist the temptation - floring it to 143mph thru Everglades.

I hope somebody will read it and give a crap about it as I am only trying to share my observations from my experience with Autopilot while using it. You cannot get this kind of data from the logs shared by the fleet.
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Comments

  • Some observations from a long trip.
  • Lol cray cray
  • Works fantastic when you know how to operate in safe manner and don't be dumbass.
  • Your little trip is nothing. I had 1800+ round trip GA to NJ and AP worked great bc I used it on the Interstate only.
  • Took a slightly longer trip last week, 10,908 miles. Had no use for stop sign/light recognition on the interstates. Otherwise autopilot is a great assistant when you’re averaging 1100 miles a day.
  • “...slightly longer...”
    😎👍🏼
  • > @M3phan said:
    > “...slightly longer...”
    > 😎👍🏼
    People know I’m a stickler for vocabulary😂
  • Take the boat next time. It has a great "autopilot." Tesla AP is intended for well designed limited access highways. Trans ocean highway is no place for AP.
  • > @Bighorn said:
    > Took a slightly longer trip last week, 10,908 miles. Had no use for stop sign/light recognition on the interstates. Otherwise autopilot is a great assistant when you’re averaging 1100 miles a day.

    Did you have three or four drivers driving in shifts? Where did you go?
  • @larry_98089854 Solo trip around the US touching the four corners at new Superchargers in Jackman, Maine, Jacksonville, Florida, Chula Vista, California, and Forks, Washington. I have daughters on both coasts.
  • > @Bighorn said:
    > @larry_98089854 Solo trip around the US touching the four corners at new Superchargers in Jackman, Maine, Jacksonville, Florida, Chula Vista, California, and Forks, Washington. I have daughters on both coasts.

    Well, I am impressed.
  • > @sladojem7_98267042 said: > So, I finally had the opportunity to thoroughly see what Tesla Model 3 autopilot can and cannot do. "

    Just a note (and apoligies for the snarky fanbois).

    Your trip is more what "Full Self Driving" can/cannot do.

    AP is adaptive cruise, autosteer/lane keeping which is basic stuff for all cars today.

    Tesla's product "Full Self Driving" is the Navigate on AutoPilot, auto lane change which is more of what you used for the trip.

    Adaptive cruise and autosteer are key components for "FSD", many of the issues you had with those features are due to their being subservient to the FSD functions.
  • @larry_98089854
    I make similar loops every couple/few months. This is only my third this year due to covid adjustments. Having Teslas with free supercharging has increased my yearly mileage from 15k to 80k miles. Car camping is a great escape.
  • Switch to mad max mode for faster lane changes. Did a trip to CA and FSD was actually much improved in 2020.40.4
  • > @Bighorn said:
    > @larry_98089854
    > I make similar loops every couple/few months. This is only my third this year due to covid adjustments. Having Teslas with free supercharging has increased my yearly mileage from 15k to 80k miles. Car camping is a great escape.

    That’s a lot of miles.

    Are you making these trips in a Model 3? How are you getting free supercharging?

    Are you using the stock seats? What is your camping setup? We may do this but we could use a Tesla with a bathroom and a shower, lol.
  • > @Bighorn said:
    > @larry_98089854 Solo trip around the US touching the four corners at new Superchargers in Jackman, Maine, Jacksonville, Florida, Chula Vista, California, and Forks, Washington. I have daughters on both coasts.

    At first I thought you were a company representative on the road. I was going to day paid $0.40 a mile would be a well paid driving job haha
  • > @larry_98733015 said:
    > > @Bighorn said:
    > > @larry_98089854
    > > I make similar loops every couple/few months. This is only my third this year due to covid adjustments. Having Teslas with free supercharging has increased my yearly mileage from 15k to 80k miles. Car camping is a great escape.
    >
    > That’s a lot of miles.
    >
    > Are you making these trips in a Model 3? How are you getting free supercharging?
    >
    > Are you using the stock seats? What is your camping setup? We may do this but we could use a Tesla with a bathroom and a shower, lol.

    P3D- with free supercharging, though the bulk of my miles are in an S with our dog, Macy—304k vs 73k miles. She’s aged out of long trips recently, though has probably logged 175k miles. Standard performance seat which is better in the 3 than the S.
    I have a 4 inch twin foam mattress topper and lots of 900+ fill power goose down, so super comfy. It’s snug, but doable with a compliant spouse. When I didn’t have a friend or relative lined up for a shower, I’ve resorted to truck stops, but am less inclined now given truckers’ propensities to eschew masks. I took a 12V cooler/heater on this most recent ride which was nice for prolonging the time between grocery trips. It’s fairly easy to quarantine when self contained.
  • @Optimusk_Prime
    Not paid, though it is super cheap entertainment. I’ve had lots of free meals and lodging along the way from other forum enthusiasts though we return the favor. I did entertain trying to get a gig as a test driver, though monetizing a hobby is a good way to strip away the joy.
  • I got the M3 2 years ago. These observations seem so crazy when compared to autopilot back then. All perspective I suppose. It couldn’t make basic highway maneuvers on my daily commute and now those seem trivial after many software updates.
  • @Bighorn Thanks for that writeup. Lots of good information in there.

    Have you read Steinbeck’s book Travels with Charley?

    My wife prefers getting lost on secondary roads and so I’m not sure we’re going to lap the country, although, I may have some long work trips in the future and I’d choose the Tesla over a plane flight.
  • This woman lives in her Model 3:

    https://www.teslarati.com/tesla-model-3-rv-interview-video/
  • Full Self Driving is still probably 10 years away and by the time it is, current model 3 technology will be obsolete for that functionality.
  • Oh God. Where is Howard when we need him. /S
  • @larry_98089854

    Thanks for sharing keira’s story. There’s sometimes a thin line between homeless and eccentric, but from early on, Tesla had a cadre of well heeled car campers that took away much of the stigma of sleeping in your car. Forbes did an article way back when. Most of them are likely flush with TSLA proceeds if anyone’s too concerned.

    Secondary roads are great, but require more planning than I usually make. Oftentimes, I’ll leave on a whim within 24 hours and no route plan and a pillow. Lots of other goal plans with Tesla drivers including baseball parks, high points, and national parks. In normal times, Yelping the best of local cuisine has been a favorite pastime.

    I did get myself a copy of Steinbeck when someone had the same query over at TMC several years ago. Much rang true. I’ve had lots of crazy adventures with numerous requests that I write a book. If you weren’t aware, the original impetus was to visit all the superchargers. It also became a reorienting exercise as Macy developed canine dementia reversing her day and night sleep cycles. A competition ensued and I’ve maintained the North American lead for much of the last 6 years. If the border would open to Canada before winter, I’d be passing the 1000 charger milestone next week. We got a foot of snow over the past day and I’ve had enough bad winter experiences in Canada to not repeat that. Against my better judgment, the siren call of the new trans Canada Highway was too strong in March. I knew better. It was harrowing only in the Rockies, but I was the only one who got it done before the border closure. It was Macy’s last long trip. So there’s that.
  • @ sladojem7_98267042
    Autopilot, FSD are tools, and as with any tool there is a learning curve. All features are not compatible with all people under all circumstances. Turn off or don’t use what isn’t making your life better.
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