PDX-SFO road trip - auto-steer

PDX-SFO road trip - auto-steer

We just completed a road trip from Portland (OR) to San Francisco and back. The trip went great, but I have a few comments on and issues with auto-steer.

My primary issue was with changing lanes will A-S is engaged. On certain parts of the highway, in particular the 505, the lane change would either not activate (I waited sometimes 20 seconds before I gave up and took the car out of A-S to change lanes) or it would take a highly variable amount of time to begin changing lanes. This did not seem to be a function of traffic, since sometimes lane change refused to work even when there were no vehicles behind me. The condition of the road did not seem to matter since sometimes lane changed worked on poorly striped roads and sometimes it didn't work of well striped roads. I only single out the 505 because lane change consistently didn't work coming or going. I could not detect rhyme or reason for its behavior.

For the most part I really liked A-S, but I didn't find it much less stressful than manual driving. A couple of times A-S disappeared (the icon went away completely) for no good reason that I could tell. Also, short stretches of repaired road that lacked striping caused problems, especially if the repair occurred going around a curve near a bridge. On generally straight stretches of road with gentle curves it worked great. But passing semis can be more excitement than generally one needs since A-S centers the car in the lane, but if the semi drifts toward the car, one has to take manual control. So sometimes less stressful, sometimes more.

I agree with other comments here that there needs to be some delay in the activation of the lane change. And the start or lane change should be dependent on a free space in both the forward and rearward directions. I activated lane change a bit early one time and wound up within two feet of a pickup in from on me. Scared the bejeezus out of both of us.

johncrab | February 23, 2016

You bring up all of my concerns about this new tech. While it really seems like a great idea I think we need smart roads to coordinate with smart cars rather than leaving each car to make up its own mind. Call me an old dog resistant to new tricks here but the idea if screaming down the highway at 75 not in complete control would stress me out beyond belief. We have one car with all of the hardware and don't use it for that reason. We're just uncomfortable with it. I read the new manual which contains dire warnings that the systems may not detect everything, even when auto parking. If I'm going to have to monitor everything the car does and be ready to jump in when it gives up and warns me of imminent disaster, I honestly don't see the point. This in in its infancy and I think when we have smart roads coordinating with smart cars, driving will be better, faster and safe but we're clearly not there yet. Thanks for posting such honest detail about your trip, including the scary part.