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Almost Got Hit While on Autopilot Today

Discussion in 'Model S' started by wdolson, Jun 30, 2016.

  1. wdolson

    wdolson Active Member

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    I did a trip to Salem, OR and back today and there were actually two incidents while on AP, though if they had resulted in an accident, I don't think either would have been my fault.

    The first was going down I-205 with moderately heavy traffic that was moving along about 45. Suddenly the line of cars in front of my stopped with some screeching of tires and AP saw it as critical enough to engage the physical breaks (instead of regen). I thought AP was breaking a little harder than I would have in that situation, we were down to about 10 mph before we closed to within 3 car lengths with the car in front. Then I heard major screeching behind me and when I looked in the rear view mirror there was a fairly new Mustang with a cloud of smoke from burning rubber coming up. He just barely missed me.

    I disengaged AP immediately and pulled forward closer to the stopped cars in front to give a bit more room. It may have made the difference. He finally stopped very close to my car. He probably wasn't paying enough attention, but I did think AP was braking a bit hard for the situation.

    I did think it kind of odd when I've seen a lot of people complain that AP doesn't react fast enough or stop hard enough. Maybe an undocumented tweak from the last firmware update? Or just an edge situation.

    On the way back there was a more minor incident when I moved from the inside lane to the middle lane (3 lanes in each direction) on AP, and just as I pulled into the lane someone zoomed from the outside lane into the middle lane and had to pull up short to keep from rear ending me. She continued on into the inside lane and kept going. I didn't see her until we were in the same lane, she was completely in my blind spot the whole way, even checking the mirrors (I don't trust AP unsupervised). It probably would have happened in most cars with any kind of rear quarter panel. The only way to have seen her was with all around glass and looking over shoulders (which I do, even on AP).

    AP 2 needs a rear camera to visually see all the cars to the rear and spot this kind of thing. The ultrasonic sensors don't have the range to spot someone two lanes over from moving into the lane you're trying to move into.

    Fortunately nothing bad happened to anyone except the Mustang driver burned off a couple of hundred miles worth of tire tread and maybe he needed a change of underwear.

    On the upside, we were going down there to look at kittens. I think we may have found our new family members, but it will be a few weeks until we find out.
     
  2. Canuck

    Canuck Active Member

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    You might want to consider getting a rescue cat instead. It teaches your kids a valuable lesson and can be really rewarding.

    I agree AP needs more hardware. When I had an AP loaner for a week, and I did a lot of highway driving with it, I never really trusted it. You always have to be in complete control. For this reason, I might as well drive myself until AP 2.0 comes out.
     
  3. kort677

    kort677 Active Member

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    help me out here, what exactly are you hoping for regarding the AP system protecting you from people who follow too closely?
     
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  4. Canuck

    Canuck Active Member

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    Just like a human -- move forward if room or change lanes, etc. I've avoided a few people nearly rear ending me as did my wife just recently.
     
  5. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    For safety reasons, ideally AP would brake early and gently, gradually increasing pressure. That gives early warning to following cars, but allows for lack of attention of the people behind you.
     
  6. wdolson

    wdolson Active Member

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    I'm all for getting mutt kittens or young cats, but my SO is insisting on getting young pure bred cats. There is one valid reason, she has a bit of a cat allergy and she found the Siberian cat which is lower in allergens than most cats. The breeder we met with today is a retired veterinary geneticist from UC Davis. He spent his career investigating cat genetics. He's also allergic to cats and has no allergies around the Siberians so he decided to breed them.

    My SO is against getting rescue cats because she doesn't want to get any that have behavior problems from mistreatment. Plus there are very few rescue Siberians around. The nearest one is 1000 miles away. It's still a rare breed and because of the hypoallergenic quality, they are in high demand.

    I'm not fighting her criteria, she was dead set against getting more than one until our 21 year old cat died last week and suddenly she completely caved on my wish to have two. I had three when we met, but they are all gone now.

    So we're getting two Siberian kittens. The breeder is also an expert on cat training and does quite a bit with the kittens to encourage good behavior before they go home with someone like training them to always keep their claws sheathed when interacting with a human.

    I'm probably never going to fully trust fully autonomous cars, no matter how safe they are. I think of driving a car like a pilot thinks of flying a plane. Even if the autopilot has control, the pilot is there to take over in the edge conditions where the auto pilot gets confused.

    I have found AP is nice in slow traffic and most conditions where I would use regular cruise control. But if traffic either speeds up after crawling along, or slows down suddenly, I take it off AP, manually adjust to conditions, then put it back on AP.

    Odd, I clicked Post Reply, but it didn't post. Further answer...

    In the first case, not much, though I wouldn't have braked as hard in that situation as AP did. I thought it odd because other people here have complained that AP didn't brake hard enough in emergency slow down situations.

    If any changes are appropriate, it would only come after examining the data from a number of emergency stop situations. The car may have picked up some indication that I missed that led it to believe the traffic in front was coming to a complete stop instead of slowing dramatically.

    In the other situation, it's something I would hope would be in AP 2 which is a high mounted rear camera that spots people trying to zip into the same lane you're changing lanes into. It's a condition where the ultrasonic blind spot protection doesn't work. The other car is too far away until it's too late. The current AP just doesn't have the hardware to make it possible.

    Mostly I was just relaying some AP situations I encountered.
     
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  7. WannabeOwner

    WannabeOwner Member

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    I like the idea of brake lights flashing when its an emergency-stop, but on the videos I've seen of cars fitted with these (I forget, MB or BMW I think) the emergency stop is achieved in such a short distance that the brake lights only actually flash a couple of times - maybe they can/should continue to flash until foot is taken off the brake pedal - something to give the following car a clue that the braking is not normal / light.

    But the following car should have ACC too, and then it will detect the rapidly closing interval distance and, also, brake heavily. Bluetooth to car-in-front would no doubt help too, but all cars having ACC should be enough perhaps?

    I had a situation, similar to yours, recently where overtaking (extra lane available) going up hill; the truck at the front of the queue was only just going to make it, car in front of me was going to run out of room!, and I lifted off (full regen) to give him some space, and the car behind me had clearly not read the situation and was closing on me alarmingly, so I accelerated back into the gap I had just made to create some more room ... when we get from Assist to Autonomous presumably the cars are going to have to be capable of that sort of evading action.

    Don't them thoroughbreds have anti-lock brakes then? :rolleyes:
     
  8. kort677

    kort677 Active Member

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    did you miss the part where it was mentioned that it was a rapid emergency stop? I am surprised the AP reacted so well. there is no gentle/gradual way of making an emergency stop.
     
  9. msnow

    msnow Active Member

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    Are you saying that Automatic Emergency Braking kicked in (you would see the notification on the IC and you'll here a chime) or was this just the TACC component reacting to the slowing/stopped car in front of you?
     
  10. mikeash

    mikeash Active Member

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    Keep in mind that you can press the accelerator pedal at any time to make the car go faster without disengaging Autopilot. If you want to close the gap with a car in front more rapidly than Autopilot does (because someone is about to ram you, say), a brief push of the pedal will make that happen. Similarly, if the car doesn't accelerate the way you'd like it to while changing lanes, you can push the pedal to make it accelerate sooner and faster.

    Both of these were clearly not your fault, but of course it's good to know your options for evasion regardless. Breaking your car is never nice, even if the other guy pays for it!
     
  11. Spidy

    Spidy Member

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    Found this video. According to that it actually turns on hazard lights afterwards if you are faster than 70km/h and come to a complete stop. If you drive faster than 10km/h they turn off again.

    Can skip the first 15sec...
     
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  12. Reeler

    Reeler 6 Years of Pure EV

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    The blind spot detection doesn't work well enough to be useful. It would be nice if the back-up camera could be used with AP to detect these situations.
     
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  13. beeeerock

    beeeerock Active Member

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    I'd prefer too much space to too little in a panic stop situation. Don't forget, AP doesn't know why the guy ahead is stopping so suddenly... he might be about to pile into the back end of a semi. If that happened, his hard deceleration would become a dead stop about the length of his crumple zone. Assuming the car ahead is going to continue braking at the same rate and matching that with AP would be dangerous - better to leave some space in case he slows faster than you can.
     
  14. Electric700

    Electric700 Member

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    Good points. I have the Autopilot space setting to maximum (the one you can twist on the Autopilot control bar), to help account for emergency situations like the ones the OP described.
     
  15. Wuggado?

    Wuggado? Member

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    I agree with this. In my limited use of AP so far, it seems to wait longer than I would to apply the brakes (to the point where I'm considering hitting them myself), then has to apply them much harder than I would as a result. In traffic, I would say gradual is much better than abrupt just about every time.
     
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  16. mikeash

    mikeash Active Member

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    I've been doing a lot of driving this week on a large, fairly high speed road (3 lanes each way, big median, 45-55MPH speed limit) with stoplights. Autopilot is doing most of the driving and is doing a great job of reducing my stress and rage level, but it really doesn't handle stopped traffic very well. I tend to be slightly slower than the flow (I'm only willing to go 5MPH over the limit) so what tends to happen is we all bunch together at a stoplight, then we get moving and the other cars pull ahead a bit, then they reach the next red light and I approach them and Autopilot waits way too long to start slowing down. I usually disengage it in advance when this happens and handle my own slowdown, because it's just a lot more comfortable. I don't know just how far out it can reliably see, but if it can see sufficiently far, then it would be great if it could start braking earlier and less.
     
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  17. Mattzilla

    Mattzilla Member

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    I find myself practicing similar driving habits. I generally seem to simply disengage autopilot/TACC when I see stopped traffic ahead so the car can slow itself down without using the brakes. Leaving it to autopilot/TACC, it will wait too long and apply too much brake. I don't find it to be much of an issue to simply disengage and reengage autopilot/TACC depending on current driving milieu. It's strange because many times I spend more time playing and operating the TACC lever than the accelerator or brake pedal, lol.
     
  18. Cr8it

    Cr8it Member

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    This is my biggest complaint about my P90D. I find the blind spot detection almost useless. I would have paid extra to have a warning system similar to that in my previous Mercedes. It was flawless. To me, it seems like old technology that is now available on most cars. Can't figure out why Tesla did not include it. Love the car with the exception of a couple of minor items like this.
     
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  19. ggr

    ggr Roadster R80 537, SigS P85 29

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    There's another practical reason for stopping a bit back from the car in front in a situation like this. All too often, if you do get rear ended by the Mustang, you might get pushed into the car in front of you. Then it becomes an argument about who hit whom, when. But if the front of your car is untouched, responsibility is obvious, even to the insurance company.
     
  20. TaoJones

    TaoJones Beyond Driven

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    I too have noticed more blindspot-related risk when using AP and would welcome/expect significant improvement in this regard from AP2.0.

    Unlike taking the AP promises on faith 1.5+ years ago (note we are still waiting for traffic light/stop sign reaction - not to be confused with recognition), my approach to upgrading will be to wait *until* there are practical improvements from AP2.0 before donating another $100K toward depreciation.

    AP1.0 has been a nice nice-to-have, with glimmers of "hey, that's s lot better now" - see TACC. But it has also been inconsistent to say the least.

    From all accounts, leaked or otherwise, AP2.0 should be stellar. What took a year to improve markedly (see TACC) may only take a few months after general release, hopefully. To the extent that we have blindspot relief, well, we'll see.
     
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