Autopilot Accident On 6-Lane Divided Interstate

Autopilot Accident On 6-Lane Divided Interstate

My Model X is in a body shop awaiting $25-$30K in repairs. I was on a stretch of interstate with three, well-marked lanes in my direction of travel, and the car was on autopilot. Traffic was fairly light, and I was in the center lane. I am not one of those people who texts or reads a book while the car drives, although I do make and take hands-free calls. I keep an eye on the car while it is on autopilot, because it has had a couple of near misses before (at least it seemed so to me). I was looking through the rear view mirror, because as other owners know, as great as the rear camera display is, it is difficult (for me) to judge distances by it. I spent no more than three to four seconds looking, which I have to admit is longer than I would look in a car with no autopilot. I looked back at the windshield just in time to see the rear of a semi in front of me, and at about the same time, the Model X hit it HARD. I careened off the truck, across the left lane (thankfully there was not a vehicle in it), and into the center concrete divider between the two directions of travel. The right front of my car took the brunt of the impact with the truck. I told the investigating officer that I had been in the center lane and the truck changed lanes right in front of me (that was the best I could make out, because the lane in front of me had been empty for at least 1/8 mile before I checked the rear view). The truck was on the right shoulder, and I had not been keen on trying to cross the interstate on foot, so I did not talk to the trucker. He told the officer that he was in the right lane, and I just came up behind him and hit him - and in the end, that is what the wreck report said. There had not been a peep from autopilot; I had just responded to the prompt to apply pressure to the steering wheel before this happened. What really sucks is that I had read about the latest software update, and saw that I could record from the front camera now. I had ordered a high capacity USB drive for this purpose - it came the next day. So anyway, no matter who's story you believe, the autopilot system should have at least attempted to brake under either scenario. I don't know if the following was a factor, but the week before, the large screen would not come on. I got it to come on with a reboot, and notified Tesla, and the fellow I spoke with said they would look into it. The next day after that, I was getting a camera error, which said auto-lane change disabled. I tried to clear that with a reboot and afterwards, neither scroll wheel worked, nor did the buttons above and below them. The warning message later went away on it's own. I contacted Tesla again. The next time I spoke with one of the service guys, just a few days before the accident, I was told that they were sending a technician out to look at the car's problems. The technician did not make it in time. Whether or not these problems affected the autopilot, I could not say.

willgaby | 14 novembre 2018

I wish Tesla would look into this.

jimglas | 14 novembre 2018

Was your dashcam working?

jimglas | 14 novembre 2018


mathwhiz | 14 novembre 2018

So sorry this happened, but glad you're OK?

You made no mention of speed?

Also, you got no forward collision warning? As that warning is extremely reliable (over-reliable), that would seem quite weird if it didn't sound.

mathwhiz | 14 novembre 2018

BTW, on experiencing what seem like hardware-related errors (camera), you should always do a power-off/on reset.

burdogg | 14 novembre 2018

Can't Tesla pull the camera logs right before the accident - I have heard they whether they will and share them is another story...

burdogg | 14 novembre 2018

mathwhiz - unless for some reason it never detected the semi...which then would alarms, no slamming on the brake, etc....

Passion2Fly | 14 novembre 2018

I'm sorry to hear that! Is this AP1 or AP2?

mathwhiz | 14 novembre 2018


inconel | 14 novembre 2018

Sorry to hear and thank God nobody was hurt. That's the most important thing.

Teslapalooza | 15 novembre 2018

First of all thank god you are not hurt. But a 30K expense really hurts.

I must say I have had some close calls while on autopilot when someone decided to cut in front of me from an adjacent lane. In each case I had to manually take over immediately to avert an accident. In one case, the right most lane was ending and there was a truck with a trailer that was merging into my lane. Autopilot just wanted to speed ahead even after the truck had already angled into my lane. Here again I had to brake and manually take over.

willgaby | 15 novembre 2018

I'll attempt to answer some of the comments/questions.

mathwhiz: Absolutely no warning, no chime, no attempt to brake by the X. Speed limit was 65. I had cruise/AP set 70+; if you set at the limit on that stretch of highway, you will have vehicles (cars AND trucks), whizzing by on both sides. If you stay in the right lane at the speed limit, you WILL quickly have a semi, or some other hotdog, riding your rear bumper. Thanks for the tip on power down/up.

burdogg: I contacted Tesla about pulling the logs. They will do it if I go to the courthouse and get a subpoena. You would think they would give access to your own car's data without making you jump through hoops, but they will not, and I have no clue as to how long that would take, and whether that would help me. It might if the data showed a failure on the part of the X, since it is only 8 mos.old. I do not know if I personally could decipher the data, and I would have no way to tell if any data had been redacted. I would certainly look at it if it was not so hard to get, but I am in the process of moving, so I don't really have time to go running back and forth to the courthouse and throwing money at the clerks - speaking of which, I just renewed my tags and they hit me up for over $100 extra because it is electric, which means I buy no gas. Am I mistaken, or weren't the federal and state governments trying to get as many people to drive EVs as possible, just a short time ago? I only drive ~4k miles a year, so I could not be destroying the roads. And what I believe myself is in your last suggestion: The X did not detect the semi, and if it missed that...

Passion2Fly: AP2.

inconel: You are right, and thank you.

Teslamania: I had caught it acting whacky once or twice before, so I will admit I was not smart to look away for even the few seconds I did. What this says to me is that Tesla is a very long way from delivering full self-driving.

mathwhiz | 15 novembre 2018

@Teslamania ... I ran across what seems almost a mirror image our your AP situation yesterday, and I recognized the similarity immediately when I read your account... Just got Nav on Autopilot (NOAP) early yesterday morning and wanted to test it out, so went on an extended drive that included transitions to a couple diff limited access, multi-lane highways. At first, I was bummed out that NOAP seemed pretty lame (clumsy, and of limited use) but as I got further into the trip, it systematically got better and better. Then, NOAP was coming up on a tractor-trailer in the right lane that I thought AP was gonna zip right past. But surprisingly, NOAP braked and slowed, giving way to the truck - I wondered WTF? Then I suddenly realized why... The rightmost lane was ending, and although I didn't have enough familiarity with the route to know, NOAP obviously did. I was impressed... FYI.

The vehicle is a Model X P100D AP version 2 running software 9.0 2018.24.2...

mathwhiz | 15 novembre 2018

@willgaby ... Thanks for the info... 10-4.

I hope you get your X back soon.

Teslapalooza | 15 novembre 2018

@mathwhiz: Good to know in some cases NavOnAP does the right thing. I am guessing it is dependent on the relative speed between the 2 vehicles at that moment. Needless to say they need to get to a point where it works 100% of the time. As @Willgaby has said, Tesla has ways to go before FSD.

mathwhiz | 15 novembre 2018

Agreed. But let's not lose sight of the fact that Autopilot requires close supervision during its progression, and is years from a high confidence level. And that a flawless 100% *is not* achievable (per E Musk), just much better than the human it's meant to eventually replace. Tesla makes this very clear with warnings, disclaimers and the steering wheel reminders that so many seem to regard with disdain. And it unfortunately takes examples like this to remind us just how unforgiving it can be.

wmyers | 17 novembre 2018

@mathwhiz - Same for me. When cars merge in my MX never sees them. Not at all. I always have to manually brake. | 18 novembre 2018

@willgaby - Sorry about your crash and glad you're not hurt. I doubt the problems you had reported would affect AP, but who knows. | 18 novembre 2018

It's a bit hard to compare different cars/events when there is no word of which major hardware you have (AP1 or AP2), nor what software version (v8, v9). | 18 novembre 2018

These make a huge difference in what AP can do and how well it works. Even the latest is not perfect and requires paying attention, but it is quite a bit better than older systems.

Cuttin | 19 novembre 2018

Yes. Version of AP would be helpful.

I do notice with merges it comes too close. I test it out. Accepting that I'll piss off the person merging. But I just HAVE to know.

In the ten times or so I've tested it on 42.2, it comes within inches before backing off and allowing the car to merge. It sees it the whole time but doesn't let it go. Obviously this is at very slow speeds and my hands are on wheel and foot right near brake pedal.

Bery frustrating.

markcohen | 19 novembre 2018

Interesting. My last time out I was actually very impressed that it slowed down in plenty of time to allow a car on the right to merge. It was the first time that I've seen it do that.

jjgunn | 20 novembre 2018

Me too @markcohen - at speed the merge is 100x better than when slow.

Also taking high curvature at slow speeds seems to be poor as well.

But I keep teaching the car & interestingly it "learns" & gets better on the same roads.

Keep diligent & continue helping it learn. We'll get to FSD faster.

willgaby | 21 novembre 2018
If you will check my November 15th comment, I said it has the AP2 package. However I did not mention software version. Latest V9, which has NavOnAP & front camera recording; was not recording. I had ordered a high capacity USB - it arrived the day after the accident, Whoopee%^@#*!

Thanks. There was no lane ending merge. I had not had a problem with the AP(2) missing any obstacles during my period of ownership. There were a couple of close calls on 2-lane roads where I wasn't sure it was going to stay in the road so I took over, but you are not really to use it on undivided 2-lanes.

Teslapalooza | 21 novembre 2018

@willgaby, if I am not mistaken, ONLY AP2.5 is capable of camera recording on a USB stick. I have AP2.0 and it does not do any recording on USB.

davidahn | 21 novembre 2018

Sorry about your experience.

I agree long glances in your mirror are ill advised, but I also agree that RELIABLE FSD is years away, and we're all helping train the AI. Need to be on full alert at all times. Autosteer still decreases my stress level overall even as I watch it like a hawk, while NOAP increases my stress level as there's too much to keep track of, plus you have to worry about people's frustration as it cuts people off or makes people brake behind you, etc. I rarely use NOAP... it adds too much stress to my drive.

Thefoz | 22 novembre 2018

Glad there were no injuries but I think since the last major update I have begin to trust autopilot less than ever now that the center display shows cars around me jittering like crazy when I'm fully stopped at a light (FYI my car is 5/2018). I feel like Tesla needs to be more brutally upfront about this BETA feature before purchase and perhaps issue some kind of exam to even allow owners to purchase it because of all the examples showing that it can and will fail from time to time. With that said I have seen my own MX try to kill me a handful of times which is why 100% attentiveness cannot be undervalued with this amazing technology till it matures.

info | 23 novembre 2018

Glad your ok. However, you never mentioned your speed. Assuming your traveling at 60 mph , you would have traveled 264 feet within 3 seconds, 352 feet in 4 seconds. Way too much distance to be fixated on the road already traveled. I do understand your frustration though, I also have a MX. | 24 novembre 2018

I have the braking to prevent collision enabled and tried testing it. I let the car approach vehicles stopped ahead of me in my same lane without braking until the last second I'm willing to let it go. The car has not braked yet.

I don't get why the car would let it go any longer than I would. I don't need for the car to wait until it needs to lock up the wheels to slow up. It could at least warn me and ease off the accelerator some.

I guess release 10 maybe? | 24 novembre 2018

PS When you are in an accident with a truck they believe the truck diver if there is no evidence to the contrary. I know, I've been there.