Basic Autopilot discussion

Basic Autopilot discussion

I am a big fan of this forum and for all of the people who have spent their time contributing to the conversation. What a great place to learn from everyone's experiences, expertise and advice before deciding to purchase my model 3.

I just upgraded my SR+ (purchased in March 2019) with basic autopilot. I thought the community might be interested in seeing the video I made showing that.

I have been incredibly impressed with the videos I have seen of Tesla's autopilot avoiding cones and stopping and swerving away from potential accidents.

However, I tested my autopilot on a stretch of road that had a construction zone with very obvious cones angling cars into the next lane over. Had I not intervened, it is obvious that my car would have run all of them over and likely ran into the big flashing arrow sign that also indicated traffic to move over a lane.

I have looked all over the web, but have not found a good source of information telling me what basic autopilot will do in terms of avoiding potential threats on the road. For instance, will my car attempt to swerve if someone in the next lane over starts to come into my lane, or will autopilot just give me a warning? If cones do appear in my lane, is it supposed to attempt to avoid them or at least give me a warning?

wiscy67 | 30/06/2020

That's a good question. I don't have AP and don't know the answer, but I'm wondering if HW version makes a difference in your scenario on what the car is able to detect and the actions it might take to alert and avoid the problem. The HW version might make no difference.

I bought my SR+ same time frame as you did. The new cars mostly started receiving HW3 a few weeks after our purchase.

Bighorn | 30/06/2020

I have HW3 with FSD and I don't yet trust it to avoid cones and it can entirely miss narrower pylons. I had the car try to merge back into the right lane when it was beginning to narrow with a coned in lane closure immediately ahead on a couple occasions. Otherwise, it handles the open road impeccably.

BuffaloBillsFan | 30/06/2020

I think that AP sees, but does not yet respond to traffic cones . . . Though I could be wrong.

stingray.don | 30/06/2020


AP does respond to traffic cones with FSD. Not sure about basic AP.

ATJ | 30/06/2020

I think you are confusing Autopilot with Full Self Driving.

Basically, Autopilot just gives you Traffic-Aware Cruise Control and Autosteer (keeps you in your lane). You need Full Self Diving for the car to drive around cones, etc.

andrew | 01/07/2020

@JoeRussell +1
Subscribed. :) Nicely made. Really looking forwards to seeing more videos from you.

Reading through the forum, be warned about building a false sense of security. Having AP for the period of a week, I've learned to drive differently. In a very short time of AP ownership, I have 2 phantom brakings (Fwy) and steering to a different lane (surface road; not recommended) under my belt.

However, after using it more, AP seems to behave much better. I truly believe it needs time to recalibrate once it's activated.

For a few days, the anxiety of all the possibilities that could go wrong did not make my learning period enjoyable. After all, it's a software-driven car relying on the integrity of the processor speed (AP). All the infinite variables calculated in a millisecond traveling well over our own speed of reaction time for any needed evasive maneuvers if something were to go "wrong" is always on top of my worrisome mind.

In the last couple of days, I became much more confident. Not confident that AP will perform without any errors, but more confident in ways that I can make evasive moves without added anxiety.

hokiegir1 | 01/07/2020

I can confirm that neither AP nor FSD will avoid a random sink that fell off a truck and was laying in the middle of the road.

Luckily, hubby was paying attention and even saved the dashcam for me. ;)

EVRider | 01/07/2020

@ATJ: The safety features are available with basic AP, you don’t need FSD.

vmulla | 01/07/2020

A car with basic autopilot will
- follow clearly marked lanes on a divided highway
- modulate speed to traffic ahead of the car upto the limit shown on the screen

Everything else is a bonus.

Keep in mind the car does not react reliably to stationary objects on the road. You need to pay attention to stopped/disabled cars and road debris.

FISHEV | 01/07/2020

@vmulla | July 1, 2020 Keep in mind the car does not react reliably to stationary objects on the road“

That would mean adaptive cruise doesn’t work and auto-braking doesn’t work. Stop and go cruise requires stopping for “stationary objects on the road” aka other cars, trucks, motorcycles, pedestrians and bikers.

As we know with phantom braking, Tesla’s adaptive cruise is overly sensitive to what it perceives are objects in the road but are not, overpasses, cars safely in their lane, bikers safely in bike lane.

And before lane keeping comes lane departure detection which Tesla does so inconsistently as to be not useless, especially bad at the most dangerous which is left side line detection and warning.

This discussion is a bit confused as what the original poster describes not working is really auto braking. The car should brake when it sees objects in front of it including construction cones. Nothing in basic Auto Pilot would have the car moving to another lane, that would require driver intervention. If it does not avoid a collision with objects in front of it, then the original posters Auto Braking needs to be looked at.

RayNLA | 01/07/2020

It was nice to see you order Autopilot in real time. I’m confident you will be pleased with your purchase. I would advise you to be especially vigilant while encountering stationary vehicle, ie. police cars, fire trucks, disabled vehicles and objects in the road. The aforementioned is Autopilot’s achilles heel. I have a personal rule to disengage Autopilot whenever I see emergency vehicles responding to a situation on the road.
Be safe and enjoy!

JoeRussell | 01/07/2020

RayNLA Thank you for the advice! I will take extra care for sure. My instinct (since everyone in my family is either EMT, Fire or police, would be to turn off AP if I see an incident anyway.

@vmulla. Great wording there "Everything else is bonus." Hilarious and true.

@Andrew I appreciate the kudos. One more epic video to come.

Everyone else, thank you!

M3phan | 01/07/2020

AP does detect and avoid some objects. Here’s a video from Saskatchewan Canada of AP swerving automatically to avoid a deer:

It’s getting better and better. : )

andrew | 01/07/2020

OK now I'm intrigued!!!

What is the mystery car?? :)
Any hints? Please!!!! Suspense is killing me!!

Could it be Toyota Sienna with OpenPilot vs M3 Autopilot?

Joe M | 01/07/2020

Basic AP

Sometimes I want to go a little faster than set and choose not to use the thumb wheel. Warning comes on cruise control will not brake. I assume that means AEB will not brake as well?