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2018 Model 3 Autopilot - Is this a normal experience?

goldengate

Member
May 9, 2018
396
464
san rafael,ca
I love my Model 3... a 2018 Long-range with EAP. I use TACC all the time and usually experience sudden braking about once an hour on freeways.
However I have used autopilot a total of just a few hours (cumulatively) since I've owned the vehicle because it is so erratic I can never relax. I actually feel like I'm working more when AP is engaged than when I'm just driving it myself. Today I decided to try it again on a freeway, and it was doing pretty well... told me to move over (autopilot on navigation) and I was impressed how it executed the lane change. Then on the next freeway there were missing white lines on the right but nice bright lane lines on the left and it just started to veer right, looking for that line. I took control.

I engaged it again and then had a sudden braking for no reason and decided to just engage TACC. I also noticed that the "drift to the right" which I noticed in 2018 is still there - where it starts to go into a merge lane instead of hugging the left.

Is this normal? I know some people who use AP all the time and either it works better for them or they are more trusting / less nervous than I am. I even know some people who text and use AP (pretty much everyone I know who has a Tesla) but no way can I trust AP like that. So I'm wondering if I should have the service center pull a log.... and do the newer model 3's / y's have greater processing capacity (3.0 vs 2.5) which maybe makes these issues not happen? Trying to figure out if this is normal behavior.

Thanks for any feedback...
 

Frank99

April 2018 Model 3 LR RWD, EAP, FSD
Apr 7, 2016
317
413
Arizona
The “drift to the right” is still there, but it’s vastly better than it was in 2018. Nowadays, for me at least, it drifts slowly a foot or two to the right; it used to make an aggressive move to center itself.

We don’t tend to have many missing lane lines here in Phoenix, so I haven’t seen the issue you’re describing with them.

I think the people who aggressively use AP do two things:
1. They don’t drive in the right lane, because that’s where the most issues are going to be (merging traffic, worn lane lines, on/off ramp divergence, etc)
2. They just let the car do its thing, and assume that other drivers will adjust for any oddities.

I find that AP is tremendous on road trips out of the city, as well as in rush hour traffic in the city (with reservations). I’m not so enamored with it in the city with flowing traffic.
 

CanadianRob

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Feb 26, 2021
172
182
Trenton, Ontario, Canada
Hey! I've got a 2021 M3P with FSD. I absolutely HATE using AP on roads that don't have a right side painted line. It's even worse if it's a really wide lane because it seems the car has a really hard time figuring out where to go and pinballs back and forth in the lane.

Also, I'm finding on winding roads with AP enabled, when going around a right hand bend, the car goes way too close to the center line.

In 6000 kms of driving, I've yet to experience this "phantom breaking" issue and I use AP/NAP on the 401 here in Ontario Canada daily.
 

Knightshade

Well-Known Member
Jul 31, 2017
12,791
18,889
NC
Also, I'm finding on winding roads with AP enabled, when going around a right hand bend, the car goes way too close to the center line.

AP is not intended for use on roads that have a center line.

It's intended for use on divided controlled-access highways- the manual points this out in several places.


As to the folks driving someplace both sides of the lane aren't marked- AP tries to center in the lane... if there's a white line on the left and another one 12 feet to the right (standard highway lane width in the US) it'll center between those.

If the left line is there, but your state/country does not bother putting any dotted lines on the right when a merge lane appears then it'll think the one on the right is WAY over to the right and you're in a super wide lane, and try and center in it.

In NC they dotted-white-line in those situations so I never have this problem- but different DOTs seem to do or not do this properly elsewhere.
 

goldengate

Member
May 9, 2018
396
464
san rafael,ca
Thanks for your responses above! Very helpful. My neighbor with a model Y with 3.0 hardware says he has none of the issues I experience. Anyway, from the above it appears I do not need to initiate a service call and that this is normal behavior of AP.
Thanks again!
 
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Fernand

Active Member
Mar 22, 2019
1,555
1,563
Northern california
Moving to the right to center in the available lane surface is startling until you get used to it. There's a logic to it, like when you have a car coming from an on-ramp, it's better for your car to take up the whole lane that's narrowing. Try just letting it do it, see how it works. It took me weeks to get good and comfortable with NOA. No shame in disengaging, but first give it a chance, see what it does, get to know it. Keep all your camera lenses wiped clean.

Now I use it 99% of the freeway time, with No-Confirmation Mad Max lane changes. It just drives, changes lanes, takes the right freeways, like San Rafael through the Maze to Walnut Creek with no interventions other than trimming top speed and requesting songs by voice command. I'd pay $10k for NOA alone. In California the "relinquish passing lane" is the one feature I don't use, it ends up unnecessarily changing lanes, it's not a California custom.
 
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Fernand

Active Member
Mar 22, 2019
1,555
1,563
Northern california
@goldengate I have HW3 on my midrange RWD model 3 that had EAP and got FSD added w/ the HW 3. I had practically no phantom slowdowns since end 2018 delivery until recently, maybe 3-4 in 2 whole years, on either HW2 or HW3.

It's strange that I've had some of late, still very infrequent and seems related to uncertainty near exits, with maybe one out of the blue. It's never been braking, just a slowdown. Maybe a temporary misreading of speed limit with new software? But it's like some cars are more or less prone to it. Do you keep your cameras clean? If it happens a lot, it wouldn't hurt to have your car looked at.

Texting is easy to do with voice dictation if your phone is set up right. Works surprisingly well. Stupid to do it on a phone.
.
 
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daniel

Well-Known Member
May 7, 2009
5,006
3,824
Kihei, HI
Model 3 with HW 2.5 here. I've never use NoA because I've never lived anywhere with intersecting freeways since I got this car. I use EAP whenever I'm on the highway. Center line is no problem. Except that on curvy roads it always hugs the wrong side of the lane. Or more properly, it tries to stay centered but can't quite manage in with curves. And on roads with very narrow lanes, where I want to hug the outside, it won't do that. So I don't use it on very narrow roads or curvy roads.

I used to use autosteer in town, where I could manage a few blocks at a time between disengagements, but I no longer do that. There are too many situations it cannot handle, such as bicycles where there is no bike lane and pedestrians where there is no shoulder.

So that leaves about 70% of my driving when I can use autosteer and it works beautifully and I can devote my entire attention to keeping an eye out for issues that it is likely to have trouble with and disengage ahead of time. It makes for a much more relaxed driving experience.
 
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Fernand

Active Member
Mar 22, 2019
1,555
1,563
Northern california
Say "Show rear camera" and look at all 3 images, make sure they are nice and clear, and use a kleenex with a little windex if they're not. On the front it's all about the upper windshield. If there's crud on the bumper behind which the radar sits, to the right of your license plate, or the little circular IR sensors all around, it doesn't hurt to wipe. Who knows, maybe it's coincidence, but it's when I've forgotten to do the pre-flight wiping and the cameras turn out to be dirty that I've gotten more indecision, so I just pull over, do the holy ritual, tell Nicki it's all good, and we're cool :cool:
 
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