Forums

Sleeping with autopilot

Sleeping with autopilot

Numerous news headlines have reported that some Tesla drivers have fallen asleep behind the wheel and or doing all sorts of other stuff while using autopilot, is that a myth or a fact? I tried to duplicate that scenario with not much success (2018 w/enhanced autopilot and FSD), I tried it with "Autopilot" and "Navigate with Autopilot" (FSD), not much success... since the car would start sending warning messages and start chiming in about 15-20 seconds and within 1 minute or so, if I do not respond to the warnings, the car actually starts loosing speed and coming to a halt (I did this experiment when it was absolutely clear on the not so busy highway). Is my car any different from those who are able to remove their hands from the steering wheel for a long time or, were these reports all but an exaggeration of the car's capabilities? Yes, I remember that Tesla driver ran into the concrete barrier when falling asleep using autopilot, and that would be the likely outcome I expect, but all other crazy hands off the steering wheel for an extended period? come on guys, please, yes, the car is extremely capable, I love it a lot, but let's stick to the truth and facts, do not spread the rumors and make others do and try crazy and dangerous things speeding down the highway be a danger to himself and others.

jerrykham | August 26, 2019

My first response to "sleeping with autopilot" had to be, well, as long as you got consent... But to answer what you are really asking - some of the reports do seem fairly well substantiated (like the ones where the police had to get in front of the car and slow down and stop in order to stop it). But they are probably using a defeat device - these basically add weight to one side of the steering wheel so that it feels "force" against it. They are a terrible idea and defeat something you shouldn't try to defeat - safety. Since the car is not actually capable of safely driving itself without supervision at this time you really don't want to do that.

kerryglittle | August 26, 2019

That video looked staged. You have to touch the wheel every 20 seconds so that would be a pretty short nap. But yeah it only takes a few idiots to wreck if for everyone.

Bighorn | August 26, 2019

Some people are using defeat devices so they don’t have to nudge the wheel. Sure it’s embarrassing to see video of Tesla sleepers, but most ICE sleepers end up in a ditch or head on collision so fast, nobody gets the footage.

thranx | August 26, 2019

The network news report on the sleeper in L.A. concluded with one of the anchors mentioning that the car did exactly what it was supposed to do (I doubt he or the other anchors were aware of the nudge-defeat issue).

evaandmarty | August 26, 2019

Hello
I think I could sleep at the wheel of my AP1 85D just by keeping my left hand at the bottom of the wheel which is how I normally operate my car on proper highways. My hand just hangs there using 2 or 3 fingers, car never nags me.
Sleeping in a Tesla is going to end badly
Cheers

kerryglittle | August 27, 2019

Heck some people spend 20 seconds or more just looking at their phone while driving a car without AP not looking at the road. It's an epidemic. It has now surpassed drunk driving in accidents. People are addicted to the damn things. My mini rant. LOL.

Jeff A | August 27, 2019

There have been authenticated cases of Tesla drivers sleeping and police having to stop them and cite them. Also, it is pretty easy to defeat the warning mechanism. Just get one of those wrap around ankle weights and tie it to the left or right side of the steering wheel. For a bit there was someone who was selling steering wheel weights crafted to fit a Tesla steering wheel until they were shut down for legal reasons.

Jeff A | August 27, 2019

There have been authenticated cases of Tesla drivers sleeping and police having to stop them and cite them. Also, it is pretty easy to defeat the warning mechanism. Just get one of those wrap around ankle weights and tie it to the left or right side of the steering wheel. For a bit there was someone who was selling steering wheel weights crafted to fit a Tesla steering wheel until they were shut down for legal reasons.

rdr1rx | August 27, 2019

Why anyone would fall asleep in a Tesla to glorify General Motors and believe their car is a William Daniels-powered black 1981 Pontiac Trans Am is beyond me.

Sam_S | August 28, 2019

I’m too busy texting to fall asleep.

Pungoteague_Dave | August 28, 2019

No one does it intentionally. The issue is that by its nature, AP lulls drivers, like a Greek Siren, into complacency. That is the case for the position that the (current) AP technology by its very nature isn't safe. While I love it, I conclude it isn't ready for consumer use yet. Google and others in the self-driving game have determined that any self-driving element short of full self-driving isn't safe (in their view) - the weak element being the human interface. They did multiple studies with google employees who were AWARE that they were being studied, and determined that it simply isn't possible for the human to remain sufficiently engaged when the car is doing the steering, even when they are trying and fully committed to remaining alert. This was also confirmed by Navy and Air Force studies of pilot behavior with some of the latest attempts at automating cockpits. Some functions have since been removed and reverted to pilot control because ceding them to the machine reduced pilots' situational awareness. We are the weak link.

https://www.thedrive.com/sheetmetal/15616/google-axed-autopilot-feature-...

The following video is must-watch for people who care about FSD viability - starting about 6:30, the chief of google's self-driving tech explains how and why they gave up on partial steps, incremental implementation of self-driving:

"Fell asleep for 27 minutes" "we are the problem"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sw3Y0ftBsFA&feature=youtu.be

PrescottRichard | August 28, 2019

I suspect there will be an accelerator pedal nag in the near future, where you’l have to tap it with your foot.

That will work until someone figures out how to defeat that.

Pungoteague_Dave | August 28, 2019

Good Vibrations: Tactile Feedback in Support of Attention Allocation and Human-Automation Coordination in Event-Driven Domains
Aaron E. Sklar, Nadine B. Sarter
First Published December 1, 1999 Research Article
https://doi.org/10.1518/001872099779656716
Abstract
Observed breakdowns in human-machine communication can be explained, in part, by the nature of current automation feedback, which relies heavily on focal visual attention. Such feedback is not well suited for capturing attention in case of unexpected changes and events or for supporting the parallel processing of large amounts of data in complex domains. As suggested by multiple-resource theory, one possible solution to this problem is to distribute information across various sensory modalities. A simulator study was conducted to compare the effectiveness of visual, tactile, and redundant visual and tactile cues for indicating unexpected changes in the status of an automated cockpit system. Both tactile conditions resulted in higher detection rates for, and faster response times to, uncommanded mode transitions. "

Pungoteague_Dave | August 28, 2019

"As technology grows in capability, we seem to be taking the approach of using humans as safety nets for computers," Stephen Casner, a co-author and research psychologist at NASA's Ames Research Center, says in a press release. "We need to sort out the strengths and weaknesses of both humans and computers and think of work environments that combine and exploit the best features of both to keep humans meaningfully engaged in their work."

https://psmag.com/environment/automation-encouraged-pilots-wandering-min...

PhillyGal | August 28, 2019

@PD - I wholly disagree that AP lulls you. Driving yourself down a highway just staying within the lines lulls you in my opinion whereas changing from operator to "manager" while driving using AP actually makes you MORE aware! You're constantly thinking and wondering and watching what the machine is doing.

That being said, I'd rather be on the road next to someone sleeping an an AP equipped Tesla than any other car out there. Happens every single day and usually ends a lot worse than a video or a police slowdown.

Pungoteague_Dave | August 28, 2019

That's what the studies show. Science.

kerryglittle | August 28, 2019

Most times I don't use AP on the freeways. Number one is big tractor trailers don't always stay in their lanes and tend to wander over them at times. Whether the driver is tired or distracted or just a strong gust of wind pushes them over the lines. AP would work great for them when that happens in 50 years or so. LOL. Then AP would be constantly adjusting to stay between the lines. Number 2 is that AP refuses to see or avoid potholes. As for me I like to keep my 21' rims round and not bent or broke.

redacted | August 28, 2019

There are optimistic models and pessimistic models: An optimistic model will figure that sometimes there will be screwups, whereas a pessimistic model assumes you have to avoid screwups at all costs. Google and Tesla clearly come out at different ends of the spectrum. The question I have is whether autopilot is overall safer than manual driving, even with people falling asleep. Even if we accept that autopilot will lull some to sleep, if it's safer than manual driving, it's defensible.

Tesla claims to be overall safer.

NKYTA | August 28, 2019

PD said “That's what the studies show. Science.”
Always good!

Part 1 of PDs link shows that Level 5 FSD seems to imply that all vehicles won’t be capable until all moving vehicles are level 5.
- that is not going to happen, ever ;-) There can’t be a great switchover. But there has to be a gradual one at some point, that is inevitable. So don’t give up control, and be more aware of your surroundings. Which is what PG said. She is now more aware. Apparently not all Tesla drivers are. Neither are most of the the rest of car owners. Are Tesla owners better, I don’t have stats. I’ve taken over AP in my wife’s 3 on the 101 because non AP, non Tesla, drivers are idiots. I’ve done it in my Classic S with tired truckers over the years.

Part II of PDs link

“We need to sort out the strengths and weaknesses of both humans and computers and think of work environments that combine and exploit the best features of both to keep humans meaningfully engaged in their work."

This doesn’t have anything to do with driving, it has to do with pilots on a multi hour AP plane journeys.

I waited overlong at a stop sign today, because a Google Car couldn’t shit or get off the pot. LIDAR is dead.

NKYTA | August 28, 2019

Clearly it is all about $$$$. If Elon can prove he has saved dollars, Insurance complies must heed.

Can we go back to politics and talk about Big Oil subsidies.

It needs to be addressed. Now.