Autopilot drives into CURB broad daylight

Autopilot drives into CURB broad daylight

I am going to try to keep this short. I am a huge fan of Tesla and all they are doing but after my recent brush with Autopilot I am at a lost for words... Maybe you guys can help me out here is the situation.

Saturday after in Houston, TX I am driving my Dec 2016 Model X P100DL using auto pilot on a local road that I have used it on several times before without any issues.

7:30PM with the Sun out blasting in the direction of travel. My Autopilot was engaged on a straight road that is very clearly marked with 2 lanes on each sides of the road and a median divider in between.

All is fine when all the sudden autopilot pulls my car into the curb on the right and totally messes up my wheels and tires. I was able to take over ASAP but it all happened so quick (I also did a quick bug report on Autopilot). I did not realize how bad the damage was until I got to my friends house and parked.

Monday morning I called Tesla to report and they said they were going to look into it. I sent them photos of my wheels as the requested and even sent a video of dash cam both back and front where you can clearly see the car run into the curb at which point after autopilot is heard disengaging.

To my surprise I receive a call back from Tesla saying the engineers looked over the videos and logs and did not find any error with autopilot.

I was advised that Autopilot is not meant to be used on local roads and that there is nothing they can do for me.

I am glad the accident was not Major but I know what happened and so did the passengers in the vehicle with me.

Tesla can always say they pulled up logs and saw no error on their end.

I was willing to put up with the FWD not opening most of the times and some other minor issues but after hearing this "BOLD LIE" from Tesla I am just in shock.

I was just wanting Tesla to know about the issue so it can be worked out in future releases or at least look into it but if this is how they respond how are they working with us drivers to improve Auto Pilot.

I am not going to lie and say I am not on the fence thinking about getting outta this Tesla mess by selling the MX .

I do have videos I can post link if anyone is interested but I just wanted to post this and let people know.

lilbean | August 16, 2017

Can you imagine if a plane went down killing everyone on board except the pilot and he said that the autopilot did it?

lilbean | August 16, 2017

But believe me, I believe autopilot sucks balls in my car.

inconel | August 16, 2017

But is it not true that AP is not supposed to be used on local roads?

lilbean | August 16, 2017


Xp100DL | August 16, 2017

if it is true or not is not the point. When you have a problem and it was clearly due to Autopilot and it fails and you contact them for them to say there was no problem and instead point out that it was not supposed to be used on the road is irrelevant. The point is something weird happened.
Even if it is in Beta Mode how are the issues supposed to be issued. Our real life situations is what Tesla should be looking into and not just what they test in that lab created roads.

Do we all not use the autopilot on local roads or am I the only one to do it ?

If ever you are driving and autopilot does something you deem could be dangerous and you bring it up to Tesla you think it is okay for them to just Dismiss it?
Even when there is video evidence?

Point is if it happened to me it can and will happen to others and keep happening until the issue is rectified.
I truly believe the blaring sun was somehow interfering with the radar .. .but what do I know..I am not an engineer...

All I wanted to do is point it out and have it looked out but for them to tell me it did not happen they found to wrong doing in the Autopilot is bull... both front and rear cameras show otherwise.

I just hope no one gets into a tragic even due to simillar issue and instead of them owning up they just deflect and say well we cant help you dont use autopilot on that road...

burdogg | August 16, 2017

I wonder though - if the sun was blaring and caused a problem - AP may not have logged it as a problem. I don't know anything about software but what I do know from my experience is that AP fills int he lines many times. There are areas that I cannot engage AP, yet if I already have it engaged, it drives through those areas and does not disengage. So somehow, it is trying to fill in gaps. So to me, it is possible that the logs show nothing wrong - again, just a guess.

As far as use on local roads, I do it all the time, but I have my hand on the wheel and pay attention - Not saying you didn't, but I have used enough that any tiny deviation, I am able to know before it happens. I have had AP 2.0 try a couple times to drive right into oncoming traffic at night. But it didn't get far at all, as with my hand on the wheel, as soon as I felt the hard torque to turn, I griped and held steady and it disengaged and kept going forward.

So again, don't know exactly your case, if you were already right next to the curb and then even with hand on wheel, the half second jerk was enough to hit the curb or not. But again, the biggest thing for any out there on AP 2.0, it is not 100% - of course bean only has AP 1.0 and she hates it. I find everyone has different experiences with it which is odd - my AP 1.0 has never had one problem - been flawless. My AP 2.0 is pretty good, with the exception I mentioned above.

Tâm | August 16, 2017


I understand your common definition of a problem.

However, Tesla is telling you its legal, financial and scientific definition.

As @lilbean pointed out, in airline industry, there have been numerous autopilot crash and every investigation held human operators as responsible cause of crash even though there's proof that there were hardware/software malfunction.

Legally, no one forces you to use a beta product, so that's not a problem for Tesla.

Financially, you chose to pay from your own pocket to purchase an unfinished, unproven product and you agreed for its beta performance, so that is not a problem for Tesla.

Scientifically, Tesla can only program whatever it could, or the machine can only learn whatever it could but the rest must be handled by a driver.

If a calculator can only work up to 1,000 and the rest of larger numbers must be calculated by hand. It's a tough problem for its user, but not the problem for the manufacturer because it works accurately from 1,000 all the way down to zero.

So, it is very thoughtful for you to inform the calculator that you had to take over the duty of the machine when encountering numbers larger than 1,000 because it has "problem" but the manufacturer has already known that.

The question is why you bought it in the first place and complain of the problem?

Tropopause | August 16, 2017

Would not happen if you had your hands on the wheel, because AP would not be able to turn if your hands resist. Very simple. Sorry for your damage while using AP on a local road. Use as directed and it works fine.

Wilber | August 16, 2017

One additional thing. This might be due the "Lane Departure Warning". My AP1 car has this feature. However, it is mislabeled. In addition to a Warning the car will actually steer into the adjacent lane. I had an experience where a temporary construction wall on two lane exit ramp caused the car to suddenly veer into the adjacent lane on the opposite side! luckily there was no other vehicle on my side. I did not like that, so i turned off that feature!
Not sure how it works on AP2, but could be a similar thing. This may have been a factor in your incident.

Tâm | August 16, 2017


It's an imperfect system right now. It works great in many scenarios but it also fails in others too.

The system will gradually get better to the point of driverless but that time is not now.

You just need to be in control your car at all times to learn what work and what don't and adapt to the imperfect system.

borodinj | August 16, 2017

AP is great on highways, but it's erratic on 2-lane roads -- enough so that I won't use it off the highway. I've also seen it pull towards the side of the road, although it did so following the passing of the crest of a hill, where forward visibility of the lanes was limited.

Again, AP (1 at least) isn't trustworthy off the highway, IMO.

LTO2 | August 16, 2017

@Xp100DL: I orient myself in driving my Model X by the same understandings and sense of responsibility required of me as a licensed private pilot: whether using autopilot (in the plane) or hand-flying, I'm the "Pilot in Command" and, thus, am responsible for whatever happens, unless there is a verifiable/verified failure of critical component(s) of the aircraft. As others have noted, Autosteer and Traffic Aware Cruise Control are both works-in-progress with specified conditions of usage. I, too, have used Autosteer on two-lane roads to gain experience with that feature activated. I did so today, and noticed how, on a road without lane markings along the right side of the lane, the display of the radiating signals from the front and rear side sensors were displayed continuously as the system continued to search for detectable boundary-markers to guide navigation. I was impressed with how well the system worked. But, at all times I kept my hands firmly on the steering wheel and ready to hand-drive ASAP if need be. I'm the Pilot in Command; I'm responsible when using a system I know to be in continuous developmental progress...

Vawlkus | August 17, 2017

One of the reasons AS is not intended for use on local roads is because it hasn't been programmed to recognize curbs yet.
Check your display next time you're on a local road. Lines will show, but curbs DON'T. Not yet at any rate.

mathwhiz | August 17, 2017

I can't understand why owners insist on using auto-steer while in an inside lane with a curb... The curb is so close, reaction time so critical and so little needs to go wrong before striking... For the same reason, but much, much more dangerous, is that single lane roads without any divider are out... In that case you'll hit more than a curb. :~

Xp100DL | August 17, 2017

mathwiz both sides of the road has curbs what do you want me driving on.... some imaginary no curbed road on my way home? The street had 4 lanes ... 2 on both side no matter what side there will be a curb....
Like I said.... I just wanted Tesla to know that autopilot pulled and dinged the car.... so they could be like hey we looked at the logs saw that such happened and we have engineers looking at it etc... would have been a better response.. Instead it was like autopilot never did that ... like I was lying or something..

I have never seen AP react like this since I have been using it so that was why I was trying to get their attention.

Now my FWD will not open at all on some days and this is after they said they just put in new Door Sensors but never even put it in the computers that they did that..

it will cost maybe a couple hundred bucks to fix the wheels so no biggie .......

Just know that Tesla says they dont want you to using the AP on Local Roads at all!

inconel | August 17, 2017

I thought that it was well known since AP was made available at the end of 2015 that it is only recommended on highways with a divider

mathwhiz | August 17, 2017

+1 inconel ... Divided roads and highways have shoulders. I would just not use auto-steer on curbed roads, with the margin of safety so scant. | August 17, 2017

@Xp100DL "I truly believe the blaring sun was somehow interfering with the radar"

Not possible. It is behind the opaque bumper and gets no sunlight. Now the camera clearly could be affected by sun and I expect if it is at an angle where humans can't see, neither can the camera. The radar will still work, but it only senses large objects in front of the car. It can't sense lines or road-edges.

We have a nearby freeway that twice a year for about a week, just before dusk, it's impossible to see ahead - you're totally blinded and have to look to the sides to drive. It's sort of amazing there are not a lot of crashes in that area during this time. I'm not willing to try AP2 at that time in that area either. Just seems too risky.

poloX | August 17, 2017

Why did you let it drive into CURB broad? Mine almost climb the curb many times but i took over control well before it does.

eding00 | August 18, 2017

I had the identical situation. The road was curve and single line. My car was in AP mode. It suddenly drove onto the curb before I could react. The right front tire was erupted immediately. In addition to the malfunction of AP, MX is a SUV, it should be able to handle a 3 inch high curb....

Xp100DL | August 18, 2017

@eding00 I understand where you are coming from. Most on here want to act holier than thou and act like it is not possible that this can happen. Telling me to have my hand on the steering wheel like I hid it in my pocket or something.
Like I said AP jerked the car so quickly that even with your hand on there - absolutely nothing you can do.

@poloX - "why did you let it drive into the curb" Try again. I did not let it.. It just happened.. once again on a road that I have driven on numerous time without any type of issue.

@TeslaTap ... you cannot say you know how the sun interferes with the system and how it affects it 100%. I will tell you a fact is that I had AP on in similar sun blaring situation on a road that was perfectly marked and the car acted like it was possessed and bounced around from one side to the complete opposite side. They updated the software and that stopped. The same similar sunlight is what I experienced this situation AP CURB rash situation. So I definately think there is a link. I wont wait for Tesla to admit that to me.

Now having said that ..... Black Permanent Marker works magic to make the wheels look like they are okay from a slight distance.

Drive safe everyone!

poloX | August 18, 2017

@Xp, OK, I will try again. Why did you allow the car to drive into the curb? You must always be prepared to take over and must not have allowed for that to happen to begin with!!! I agree AP is not matured yet and it has flaws. But for your onw shake, you drive!!! And you are responsible, not AP, not Tesla!!! It says so very clearly in the user manual. And even if it does not, it's my life and I am responsible for my own safety.

burdogg | August 18, 2017

I could be reading wrong, but my biggest understanding is the OP is frustrated that Tesla says nothing was wrong with the logs for AP when clearly it was.

My answer to that is this - I wonder if you are both right :) What I mean by that - I have a curve that my AP 1.0 almost always drives out of the lane on - funny thing, sometimes it doesn't, but I know to always be prepared because if there was another car there, I would hit it (it moves into the oncoming lane). Now here is my thought - does AP really know it did anything wrong? I would say no because I have had this since Nov 2015 and it is this exact same spot. You would think if AP had a log of it always screwing up this spot, that they would fix it. Much like the OP wants, AP screwed up and they need to fix it.

Now, I don't know one thing on how this works - how the software and hardware work, I am no engineer, but to me, it really makes me wonder and think that AP THINKS it did what it was supposed to and just because you took over, does not mean it did anything wrong. So why would the logs say it did anything wrong, when it was just following what the software told it to do? It just opens up to me, how do they keep improving, because sometimes, a clear malfunction to us, may be what the software things it was supposed to do in that instance.

Just my two cents on that issue of the OP.

As far as hands on the wheel comment I made earlier - no holier than thou art attitude, just my observations. You still haven't confirmed whether your hands were on the wheel either :) Hey, I do it both ways, There are times I don't have my hands on, but with my AP 2.0 car, I have put them on and keep them on - my AP 1.0 car, sure, I take them off from time to time (gasp). But I realize when I don't have the hands on the wheel - while I can react, there is a half second lag, where I have had to react when my hand is on the wheel, there has been no lag, because I can feel the sudden torque starting to happen. There is a difference between hands on and hands off in the reaction time :) Again - not saying you didn't have your hands on the wheel, or if you didn't and in this situation if you had them on, you would have avoided what happened, I don't know that at all. Just pointing things out for others coming along and again, you didn't say that your hands were on the wheel - no judgement either from me on it - I am indifferent so don't go blasting me for being judgmental :)

mickeymouse | August 18, 2017

Holy Carp!

Triggerplz | August 18, 2017


Tâm | August 18, 2017

Put it in another way:

A baby has been learning to walk and is doing very well with a baby walker on wheels.

However, without the aid, the baby would fall.

So is the fall a problem?

We must expect the baby cannot stand or walk unaided, so the fall is very much expected.

So, does the baby has a problem?

No! The baby is doing well in the progression of human development and there is absolutely nothing wrong with the baby!

So, if there is nothing wrong with the baby, why the baby fell?

That's because of adults who don't know how to babysit a baby and their babysitting license should be put to question.

Some day the baby will be able to walk independently but not now, not just yet.

And that the way it is with Autopilot when it crashes.

Does Autopilot has a problem?

No. Not according to its current ability and programming.

If it does not have a programming error then why does it crash?

It crashes because the driver is not in control at all times and that would question the driver's fitness to activate autopilot.

lou.secco | August 18, 2017

Take it from an airline captain. Auto pilot is NOT autonomous. I never leave my seat with the auto pilot on unless there is someone in the right seat. Sad to say but you are responsible. I use AP on freeways and interstates. Too unstable for surface streets. | August 19, 2017

Xp100DL "@TeslaTap ... you cannot say you know how the sun interferes with the system and how it affects it 100%. "

Actually I can. As an engineer who understands radar, there is zero chance the sun has any affect to the radar. This is not a Tesla specific thing, but true of all radar used in any car and other applications such as ground-to-aircraft radar. Imagine an airport's radar being blinded by the sun - we'd have aircraft crashing into each other at certain times of the day!

Now the camera can be completely blinded by direct sun. You can demonstrate this by pointing a camera phone or digital camera directly at the sun (do not look in a optical viewfinder), with the possible exception of an eclipse! Tesla's camera (and any other car with a camera or LIDAR) can be blinded by direct sun. I don't mean sun from an angle, but having the front of the car pointed directly at the sun. This is an exceptionally rare, but possible situation at dusk or dawn, with the right road and typically going up a hill. When it occurs, most drivers can't see either - you have to look off to the side and hope you don't crash. I know from real experience that happens to me on one road for about a week every year on the way home at dusk.

Now I suspect (but do not know) that if the sun is just a few degrees off the centerline, it will get a usable picture.

Now I do not know how AP handles the camera in this situation. I think it should return control to the driver if the camera is overloaded like this for more than a second or two. You stated the sun was directly at you, but not if angled or not. If truly on the direct centerline, the camera would be blinded. Do you think this was the case?

jvs11560 | August 19, 2017
Captain_Zap | August 19, 2017

jvs11560 is a persistent troll. How many years has it been?

jvs11560 | August 19, 2017

@Captain_Zap - So let me get this straight.....A Tesla slams into a Motorcycle that is stopped at a red light. Numerous witnesses report that the Tesla din't even attempt to brake. I post the article and I'm a troll??? Well, they I guess I'm proud of that title because you might flag me, but I am a man of convictions. last time I checked, I'm allowed an opinion. It's a perk of living in a free country.

If it bothers you so much. don't read my posts.Why would even bother? Instead of spending quality time with friends and family, you read the post of a troll? How does that make sense???

It's funny, I post an opinion, with a relativie news link, and it upsets you? Maybe, you neeed to get a life and stop interphering with someone just trying to show others that technology used incorrectly, can have consequences.

patswin | August 19, 2017

Where in article does it say autopilot was being used?

Captain_Zap | August 19, 2017



patswin | August 19, 2017

Yes, I guess we would have to draw our own conclusions since the investigators have not gathered all the facts yet to come up with a conclusion of their own. | August 20, 2017

Perhaps we should give jvs11560 a break. Just because almost every made up conclusion he makes puts Tesla in the worst possible light, perhaps 1 out of 100 times he could be right. As long as he clearly states it's his personal opinion and not based on any facts - he's free to produce as much fake news as he wants. Then again, it makes you wonder what his real motivations are - clearly not to help Tesla, owners or the public at large.

Tâm | August 20, 2017

Phoenix Police confirmed March Tesla Model X VS police motorcycle collision in March 2017 although no one was hurt.

The driver reported that it was on autopilot.

Technology to RELIABLY avoid accidents will come true some day, but not right now.

As long as drivers don't have full control of their Tesla Autopilot for now, accidents will continue to happen.

Vawlkus | August 21, 2017

I take issue with that sentiment.

Anyone that doesn't have full control of their Tesla Autopilot is being negligent. Autosteer is A DRIVER AID. It DOES NOT REPLACE THE DRIVER. The Driver is STILL responsible for what his vehicle does. Tesla mandates that the Driver keep their hands on the wheel in the case of spurious sensor results.

Tesla is not your nanny, they are not responsible for your actions, OR LACK THEREOF. Take responsibility, don't try to pass the blame.

zanegler | August 22, 2017

Am I the only immature guy on this thread? I still can't get over @lilbean's comment.

lilbean | August 22, 2017

Even I was over my comment as I didn't remember what I said. I scrolled up to check and oops!

PedanticOne | August 22, 2017

Even if the camera is not being directly blinded, the sun can certainly cause other (contrast, etc.) issues which would cause tracking to falter. As someone who recently worked on a lane-tracking algorithm, I can say that it's hard to get right in every circumstance (at least with a computer vision model... perhaps a deep learning model could do better or is what's in use by Tesla. I can only guess.).

burdogg | August 22, 2017

No, I laughed and thought - man, it would be funny if I was in person and heard lilbean say that :)

Triggerplz | August 22, 2017

@burdogg it would be even funnier if you were in person and you watched lilbean do that :-)

lilbean | August 22, 2017

Oh he** no, no teabagging for me!

Tropopause | August 23, 2017

I'm offended.

lilbean | August 23, 2017

Oh no. I'm triggered!

Triggerplz | August 23, 2017

lol don't blame me I didn't say anything about any Cojones in your car :-)

zanegler | August 23, 2017

The hijack is now official!!!!

@lilbean - Can you please explain this term 'teabagging'? I am unaware of its meaning but suspect it is relevant to the discussion.

Tropopause | August 23, 2017

In China, they don't use teabags.

inconel | August 24, 2017

But I am sure that they also suck balls

Vawlkus | August 24, 2017

Zane: it's a term lifted from modern video gaming. I'd suggest searching it on YouTube. It's hard to describe, but easy to understand when you see it.