Model S

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Anyone else having too many Autpilot close calls?

edited November -1 in Model S
Yesterday we had two terrifying close calls with the autopilot. On one occasion, we were traveling 70 mph on a straight stretch of highway and started to approach a traffic jam that was absolutely stopped. We were waiting ... waiting... The car was not stopping, not slowing down. All of a sudden the alarm sounds and autopilot disengages and have to slam the breaks to stop from crashing into the stopped cars. Next, we are behind a car and traveling about 55 mph. I turn on the left turn signal and a car passes from behind to the right and moves ahead. The car in the left lane was probably no more than 12 inches ahead and the Tesla stars to turn too soon into the left lane almost striking the car. Had to pull the wheel back to my current lane and disengage autopilot. This thing is freaking me out!
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Comments

  • edited April 2016
    I spoke to a couple from long island a month back that said they will no longer use autopilot because of many close calls. the husband called it "unreliable" and the wife had nothing nice to say either.

    ps: you spelled autopilot wrong in the title.
  • edited April 2016
    part2

    but there are many that find is very reliable. it can also be sensor related issues that service may to look at.
  • edited April 2016
    may "need" to look at.
  • edited April 2016
    It's like a magnetic around trucks.
  • edited April 2016
    I have intentionally tried to use it in many different circumstances. It is simply a life-saver on road trips over 200 miles. It is extremely handy in slower, heavy freeway traffic in the Los Angeles area - removes most frustration. It is a bit scary in HOV and far left lanes, due to the fact that it tries to stay in the center of the lane and - on right hand corners - we tend to pull to the right to avoid getting too close to the barrier. Sometimes I grab the wheel when passing a too-wide truck that is drifting into my lane, as auto-pilot doesn't seem to react - at least to my satisfaction. On non-freeway/expressway roads the many breaks for intersections can cause the system to break down - particularly around intersection corners - and you have to be ready to take over.

    In summary, I am still responsible for driving my own car, but I would not buy another car without autopilot. I take too many road trips and really 'hate' low speed freeway traffic. It is still fun to play with it in general street traffic on multi-lane streets.
  • edited April 2016
    No, it saved me last week from a semi that tried to change lanes into me.
  • edited April 2016
    It's kind of an acquired taste. When I've trusted autopilot it's worked perfectly. I had to play with the following distance to find the right balance between comfortable auto-braking and not leaving so much space that other cars cut me off. The five second setting seems right to me.
  • edited April 2016
    Both of those situations are something that you eventually learn the limitations of the system. If you see stopped traffic ahead of you, Autopilot radar can't detect it soon enough to come to a complete stop comfortably, so you have to be aware of that and take over. That has happened to me and I no longer wait for the car to stop.

    With the situation with switching lanes, I have noticed there are "blind spots" with autopilot and this example is one of them. If the Tesla doesn't show the car in the front dash, it means the camera or sensors don't see it, even though you see the car on your left, but it's too close for the Tesla to acknowledge it. I wait to make sure the Tesla "sees" the car before I switch lanes.

    I have had both of these happen to me and now that I am aware of it, I manually take over or just wait. Once you learn the limitations, nothing is better than Autopliot especially in traffic or long commutes.
  • edited April 2016
    I like autopilot and sum times it amazes me at how well it works. I have also experienced the shortcomings listed above plus one more. On narrow two lane roads with sharp steep hills it may want to ver into oncoming traffic right at the peak of the hill. On the other hand it will automatically slow down on corners that may be to sharp for the listed speed limit.
  • edited November -1
    Every day if I did not intervene, AP would and will cause an accident.

    That said, I would not drive a car without it. Even in its current nascent state.

    TACC was awful when it first appeared. Now, a yearish later, it is vastly improved. Still far from perfect, but vastly improved. I expect the same for Autosteer.

    Elon promised us traffic signal and stop sign recognition within the year maybe 3 months ago. However, nobody followed up to ask if that functionality would be possible with the current sensor package. Presumably the answer is yes, since late 2017 is the expected release date for AP 2.0 hardware iirc.

    Can't trust TACC or AP, but it's great when it works. Especially in narsty LA traffic.

    The +5-mph AS limit is particularly helpful when transitioning into lower speed zones - the car slows down and the hidden revenue generation agent (motorcycle cop) gets nothing. It's a beautiful thing.

    But you can't trust it. That's just how it is for the foreseeable future.
  • edited April 2016
    Nope
    Use it all the time.
  • edited April 2016
    To me, one of the most brilliant features of the autopilot is the in-dash display. By telling you what it "knows" and highlighting in blue what it is following is highly educational. Likewise, if you look at the manual, it shows you what its sensors can see which is the front camera for about 50 yards and the ultrasonic sensors for around 10' bubble in the front and back but the ultrasonics have a blind spot in the middle-sides of the car. Ultrasonics can detect objects but can't see lines which is why autopark won't park in a space in an empty parking lot.

    Observing the behavior of the car, it is fairly "dumb" in that it will follow the lines like a rail. If it sees both lines it will go toward the middle of the lane. If it only sees one line, it will hug that line presumably because it is uncertain where the road ends on the other side for the moment.

    As you go though intersections and it temporarily loses all lines, you'll notice it doesn't pick up the lines after the intersection until you've pretty much cleared the intersection then it will do a fast correction. You'd think with the 50 yard front visual view it would know how the lanes pick up on the other side of the intersection before entering it but it doesn't. I would think is maybe improvable via software update but it reveals a resolution limitation of the camera. IE, it can't really interpret lines or details beyond a fairly small bubble in front of the car but it can detect larger objects like cars a little further out.

    Where I love autopilot:
    - Heavy stop-and-go traffic. Absolute magic. I have high trust for it at this point to handle the stop-and-go to where I'm comfortable texting on my phone. It completely de-stresses the experience.
    - On clear interstate highways. Without cruise control I would go over 100mph and get arrested. This horse likes to run!

    When I've learned to distrust autopilot:
    - Somewhat congested but moving at a high speed interstate. If it comes up on a stopped car at 80mph, as you noted it will rear end them. Likewise it won't react appropriately to road debris like say a gas can that fell out of the back of someones car or a gator.
    - Clear city streets that curve and/or small roads. It has no car to follow and when you hit an intersection on a curve it will want to send you into the ditch. Besides these a fun to drive too fast on. Congested city streets are fine because it will follow the car in front of you.

    One last note on congestion: When you are using AP in heavy traffic, you'll notice the autopilot will lose the lines. It will go into "follow the car in front of you mode". You have to watch because if that car tries to change lanes or do something stupid, your beloved Tesla will follow like a lemming.

    Overall, fantastic technology. I can see how it can be improved with additional software and I think I have a pretty good handle on the limitations of how good they will be able to get with this hardware. Bad news guys, to materially improve on most of the conditions above they will need more hardware.

    I would presume the additional hardware they will need to solve the limitations above:
    - A second forward camera with a different lens focused further out (to pick up lines on the other side of an intersection and avoid rear ending a stopped car at 80mph)
    - Forward LIDAR to be combined with the front optical cameras to interpret the difference between drawings/paint and 3D objects on the road it needs to worry about.
    - Optical side cameras on both sides to get an all-around view to make autopark more functional and give you the cool top-down view the Nissans and Infinitis have had for years. Could also improve its ability to know when there is another lane next to you or not AND could be used to better detect the edge of the road in no-line circumstances.
  • edited April 2016
    david has it right. The display has shown me many times what the car is NOT seeing. So I have not had any close calls since I realized how well it is communicating with me through this display. I have realize I still have to be an alert drive and it is just helping me by giving me more info and more time to react.
  • edited November -1
    @David

    Perfect assessment. Everyone remember this is a driver assistance feature. Not a chauffeur. Then you're fine. Ignoring obvious things like traffic in front that's stopped and just waiting on an accident is stupid. You are the driver, not the system. That said Autopilot is AWESOME.

    David's post says it all.
  • edited April 2016
    @David

    Great assessment. I missed AP on my S but wife just got an X. This is a great help for me to get started. Especially helpful is what you said about what you can get from the display.
  • edited April 2016
    I also have same kind of issues. I have blackvue so have videos sitting its flash that show all sorts of issues, Need to download them.
    But been thinking that prob its an issue with my car/sensors. Otherwise we would have been hearing about accidents and law suites.
    My car is about a month old and I got it in a hurry - kind of pushed tesla to deliver in 3 weeks. At the end they didnt even inspect the car I think. It was delivered with battery at near 0, voice recognition does not work at all, the wind shield viper fluid was not there in car etc. So its possible the sensors in my car did not go through any calibration also.
  • edited April 2016
    evinte: I think the lane change issue is something I and Tpilot (and am sure others) have experienced. I covered it under https://forums.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/autopilot-has-blind-spots-front.

    There definitely are some blind spots in autopilot. I am hoping that a software update will fix it.

    I also noticed that the front sensors' quarter circle that comes up when it detects an obstruction (or vehicle) is not as large as the rear ones. May be that's the problem. Tesla might have made the rear sensors larger to detect the drivers' blind spots and might have not realized about the cars' blind spots.
  • edited April 2016
    I love autopilot. I used to take over more frequently, but rarely do now. I think it's a combination of the AP improving and my having a better feeling for its limitations.
  • edited April 2016
    No close calls. Once you understand the system's limitations, you know what not to do. Waiting for it to intervene when there is stopped traffic up ahead is not an autopilot issue, it is a pilot issue.
    If you are new to autopilot, give yourself some time to understand its limitations, and you will never get in trouble.
    I am happy to hear that some people have become scared by it and become wary. I think that that 'fear' is a good design element of the system, since it forces the user not to trust the system until they better understand it. Autonomous driving is an all-or-nothing proposition. Either you don't trust it, and are constantly monitoring it; or you completely trust it, and are not paying attention at all. Tesla's autopilot is not autonomous driving.
    Google's approach recognized these same limitations, and they are working the other side of the automated driving fence; that is why they want to eliminate the driver controls. Both approaches are correct, something somewhere-in-between may be a disaster.
  • edited April 2016
    As usual, we have people in the forum who think we are complaining and decide to sermonize.

    The intention is for Tesla to note this and as they move forward perhaps look at it.

    We all love our MS. We all like Autopilot. We are just pointing out some of the challenges - which I am sure Tesla will fix over a period of time.
  • edited April 2016
    Thanks everyone. I definitely don't trust Autopilot as a chauffeur, but do feel it should be more aware; particularly of dead stop traffic straight ahead. The blondspots are evident. Still, I absolutely would not buy another without it. It is essential for stop-N-go traffic. At least I know that it isn't just my car.
  • edited April 2016
    I've had my MS for a little over a month - overall fantastic car!! When I compare my expectations of autopilot before I bought the car to the reality, I have to admit that it doesn't work as well as expected. AP truly deserves the "beta" tag.

    What I'm not sure about it is how much of the current limitations are due to software vs processing power vs sensor hardware.

    I use AP every chance I get but keep a very close eye on ensuring that what I see matches the console (what AP is "seeing"). I'm surprised at the variability in how AP detects lane markings. Many times very visible lines to the human eye seem to have problems - especially on asphalt versus concrete.

    Highway driving with clearly marked lanes on concrete versus asphalt - works fantastic!

    Stop and go traffic - awesome!

    Anything else - pay close attention.
  • edited November -1
    +1 cephellow
    I have over 48 years experience driving and one of the most important things I've learned in all that time of driving is that a hugely significant portion of driving are the assumptions I and every other driver are continuously making. Traffic is a sort of ballet except not all the dancers/drivers are equally equipped in the skill department.

    Tesla Beta Autopilot is not (NOT) autonomous. It is not close nor is it designed to be. That is why upon Beta Autopilot engagement you are reminded to keep your hands on the steering wheel. The driver is ultimately responsible for the vehicle's actions. Using Beta Autopilot still requires significant driver involvement. Some traffic/road conditions can allow the driver to relax more than other traffic/road conditions but under no circumstances is it a game of chicken between the driver and Beta Autopilot as to whether or not to take evasive action.

    Personally I do not like to take back control from Beta Autopilot by using the steering wheel since it is not a smooth transition but of course I will if I have to. I reserve my personal use of Beta Autopilot to traffic/road conditions that are most appropriate.
  • edited November -1
    +1 cephellow
    I have over 48 years experience driving and one of the most important things I've learned in all that time of driving is that a hugely significant portion of driving are the assumptions I and every other driver are continuously making. Traffic is a sort of ballet except not all the dancers/drivers are equally equipped in the skill department.

    Tesla Beta Autopilot is not (NOT) autonomous. It is not close nor is it designed to be. That is why upon Beta Autopilot engagement you are reminded to keep your hands on the steering wheel. The driver is ultimately responsible for the vehicle's actions. Using Beta Autopilot still requires significant driver involvement. Some traffic/road conditions can allow the driver to relax more than other traffic/road conditions but under no circumstances is it a game of chicken between the driver and Beta Autopilot as to whether or not to take evasive action.

    Personally I do not like to take back control from Beta Autopilot by using the steering wheel since it is not a smooth transition but of course I will if I have to. I reserve my personal use of Beta Autopilot to traffic/road conditions that are most appropriate and are best described by reading the Owners Manual and personal experience.
  • edited April 2016
    +1 cephellow
    I have over 48 years experience driving and one of the most important things I've learned in all that time of driving is that a hugely significant portion of driving are the assumptions I and every other driver are continuously making. Traffic is a sort of ballet except not all the dancers/drivers are equally equipped in the skill department.

    Tesla Beta Autopilot is not (NOT) autonomous. It is not close nor is it designed to be. That is why upon Beta Autopilot engagement you are reminded to keep your hands on the steering wheel. The driver is ultimately responsible for the vehicle's actions. Using Beta Autopilot still requires significant driver involvement. Some traffic/road conditions can allow the driver to relax more than other traffic/road conditions but under no circumstances is it a game of chicken between the driver and Beta Autopilot as to whether or not to take evasive action.

    Personally I do not like to take back control from Beta Autopilot by using the steering wheel since it is not a smooth transition but of course I try to be attentive enough and will intervene when I have to. I reserve my personal use of Beta Autopilot to traffic/road conditions that are most appropriate and are best described by reading the Owners Manual and personal experience.
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