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AP -- Improvement So Gradual That You Hardly Notice, Until ...

Discussion in 'Model S: User Interface' started by ForeverFree, Mar 12, 2016.

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  1. ForeverFree

    ForeverFree Member

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    ... you suddenly realize that, over time, it's been enormous.

    When AP debuted last October, it seemed more like a parlor trick than anything else. yes, it was a novelty to watch the steering wheel twitch away doing its own thing. But it seemed to take only the fun parts out of manual driving, while leaving all of the anxiety. As someone posted, it was like sitting there on edge, poised to take over, while a nervous and not-terribly-deft rookie teenage driver was at the wheel. No real utility.

    During the intervening months, I've been vaguely aware of AP's subtle improvements and my gradual increased reliance upon it. Nothing earthshaking, though.

    However, last Saturday, toward the end of a 280-mile one-day out-and-back to Palm Desert, it struck me: AP had been impeccable. Yes, I had taken over at a couple of complex freeway merges/changes that required multiple lane shifts and lots of judgment. Even then, not because I'd really HAD to but merely because it seemed like a proper time for human driving. Beyond that, though, AP had gone on-ramp to off-ramp. Not a single hiccup. Not a single punt-to-human. Not a single nervous spot.

    More aware now, I used AP for a couple of thirty-five-mile on-ramp to off-ramp city freeway runs. And was struck by how much surer AP had become, how well it handled some of the tough spots which had freaked out last fall, how confident I had become in using it, and how much it had really made trips more relaxing and less stressful for me.

    Impressive.

    Yes, I share folks' frustration with HVAC quirks that pool cold air at the driver's foot, range algorithm mysteries, 2006-era nav/media feature sets and the like. However, the growing quality of AP 1 is truly a revelation. Previously long and stressful drives are now short and relaxing. Kudos, Tesla!

    Eager to see what M3 will bring. My wife is already poised to make a deposit ...
     
  2. James Anders

    James Anders Member

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    I have to admit I'm curious and concerned about AP.

    Yes, I test drove an AP car and it was kinda cool but it was somewhat nerve wracking because i never felt i could relax. My hands were always hovering.

    Now I understand that over time you trust it more and more...but never to the point of just ignoring the road.

    So, unless the car is completely and fully autonomous to the point where I could sleep in the back seat - I find myself questioning the use and purchase of AP.

    I suppose it's kind of like cruise control - set speed and forget kind of thing but I guess I cant see myself getting to the point where my hands aren't hovering and I'm always on the lookout.

    Am I wrong?

    Needing to make my mind up soon because I'm getting ready to pull the trigger on a MS.
     
  3. Ryan MF

    Ryan MF Member

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    Glad to hear that you are seeing gradual improvement. The continuing investments in R&D in this space will only improve it over time.

    AP seems to be something Elon/Tesla are betting on big. It's a key differentiator of Tesla and their tech capabilities. Can't imagine getting a tesla without it. (If for no other reason than resale value)
     
  4. dpodoll

    dpodoll Member

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    It's pretty amazing now, and getting better. I would not buy one without it. But that's just me.
     
  5. Soolim

    Soolim Member

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    Please don't get complacent because AP is only as good as what the camera can see and interpret the lane marking. When you drive over an undulating road, the lane marking can be momentarily out of the camera line of sight, and car may dart left or right.
     
  6. mmccord

    mmccord Member

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    I drive a lot of non-freeway miles, maybe more of them with AP than anyone (just a wild guess). It has significantly improved since initial release, mostly in the last month or two. It still has some rough patches and trouble spots, but leaps and bounds better than October.
     
  7. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    I agree that there have been a lot of improvements in the last 6 months. Here are the improvements I'd like to see next:

    1. Better vehicle control when cresting hills or going through dips/valleys in the roadway.

    2. More gradual deceleration when approaching slower/stopped vehicles.

    3. Stop light recognition so I don't have to disengage autopilot when approaching a stoplight and am the first in line. (Yes, I know it's "intended" for highway use).

    4. Better vehicle control when passing through intersections--particularly curved intersections with no lane markers in the intersection. (This is already drastically better than it was at the initial release).
     
  8. stevezzzz

    stevezzzz R;SigS;P85D;SigX

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    Good list, Todd. Your 1) is a case where improvements are definitely needed and should be reasonably easy to implement. I travel a die-straight, well-marked, undulating, 2-lane rural road on a regular basis: AP lurches left and crosses the painted center line at the crests of the undulations. I think it's actually gotten worse with the most recent 7.1 releases; everywhere else, AP is significantly better than it used to be.
     
  9. JHellow

    JHellow Member

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    It still does not do well when initiating big sweeping right curves from the far left lane, or car pool lane, of the freeway. It waits to long to initiate the turn, allowing itself to get to far left and near the center median on such turns, and then having to correct hard to center itself in the lane. I still find myself too frequently intervening on such curves. Other than that, pretty remarkable. Generally better centering with the last update, 2.13.120.
     
  10. mikeash

    mikeash Active Member

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    Yep!

    I'd say it takes two or three hours to really get used to it, but once you learn the system and know what it's going to do, you can really relax. No, you can't ever just take a nap or read a book, but you can really dial back your concentration and worry. You can look at stuff out the window more, or fiddle with your music selection, or just watch the car do its thing. You still have to watch, but it's a much more strategic level. Instead of constantly controlling the car moment to moment, you're scanning ahead, seeing what traffic is doing and how the road looks several hundred or thousand feet beyond. Rather than being constantly prepared to take over in case the car screws up, you're planning 20+ seconds ahead and looking for spots where the car might have trouble (which it rarely does) or where you might want to, say, tell it to change lanes. You can focus your attention on where it counts, instead of constantly devoting 30% of your brain to staying within the lines.

    Note that TACC is really about 80% of the benefit. Just not worrying about running into the car in front of you is wonderful. In my previous car, I always found highway driving kind of frustrating, because I'd always be too fast for the slowpokes in the right line, and too slow for the speed demons in the left lane. I'd constantly be adjusting the setting, or just canceling cruise control. With TACC, it's much simpler. If I come across someone going 2MPH slower, my car just matches theirs automatically. I usually just leave it like that if it's a small speed difference. If they're going more than 4MPH slower than I want to go, I'll pass. But there's no urgency and no stress, because it's all being handled for me.

    Autosteer is pretty cool. It's definitely an added win. But I'd say it's only 20% of the total. TACC is the big deal, autosteer is just a nifty bonus.

    If you drive regularly on interstates, especially in traffic, then I highly recommend it.
     
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  11. Carl

    Carl Member

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  12. chriSharek

    chriSharek Member

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    What was it like when cruise control came out 20 something years ago? Was everyone nervous? Did cars smash into one another because the drivers weren't paying attention? Of course not! I'm fascinated that this evolution is any different than cruise control! Delivery in a week and I can't wait to play with AP on the way home from the service center!
     
  13. AustinP

    AustinP Member

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    The AP is indeed a must. Like most here, the first hours are scary, as you need to learn how it works. Once you get how it sees the road, it is really relaxing. You indeed need to still look at the road now and then, but as explained above, more to identify potential difficult situation. And on highways and most roads, there ain't much situations like those. The fact that the car shows you what it sees helps you in that learning phase. Basically, as long as there is at least one side of your lane with a line, it works. It can even detect lane without lines, as long as the contrast is sufficient. And again, in such situation, the display shows you your lane without the lines. Really amazing. Though I would not take a nap or start reading a book, checking your mails, searching some info on the web, planning a trip with the gps or FaceTime with your kids has become much less dangerous than ever before.
     
  14. calisnow

    calisnow Active Member

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    I have to chime in that while still not perfect, Autopilot's latest 7.1 build is a big improvement over 7.0. Only 3 months in the real world and it's shockingly good. Can't imagine how smooth the software will be a year from now.

    Honestly it is good enough now that the only reason I will trade up for version 2 of the hardware is that I would like to see hardware redundancy.
     
  15. Jool

    Jool Member

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    For me, Autopilot has been massively improved over these past months. Off the top of my head:

    -Camera detects lanes marked with just reflectors now
    -Handling of curves is much smoother
    -Lane centering is tighter
    -Traffic-aware cruise control accelerates and stops more smoothly

    Good stuff all around, even if Autopilot is still in beta!
     
  16. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    Another huge thing I notice is that the ability of the camera to find the lines in low contrast situations is remarkably better than when it first came out.

    Slightly faded white lines on light asphalt or concrete can be seen in harsh sunny conditions, with stark shadows crossing the road, in situations where previously it would get confused or not find the lines at all. Hugely better. Still many scenarios that can be improved, but definitely moving in a positive direction.
     
  17. mkjayakumar

    mkjayakumar Active Member

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    Once you go EV there is no coming back. Same with AP.

    It's a shift in paradigm on highway long distance driving and commutes.
     
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  18. benfrank3

    benfrank3 Member

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    I agree with the statements here but What I can't stand is the car hugging the lane markers and getting dangerously close to neighboring traffic. It pisses me off the car has a love affair with cars and big trucks directly to my side. I wish I could dial in a bias to the left or right side of a lane. It tries to keep the middle but on every turn it seems momentum swings it to the outside - often very close to other traffic.
     
  19. wcalvin

    wcalvin Member

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    It's getting so good that begineers need lessons on what it doesn't do. You can get so used to it handling stop-and-go that one can forget that it doesn't (yet) handle stop signs and red lights when no vehicle is in front of the Tesla.
     
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  20. CHG-ON

    CHG-ON Still in love after all these miles

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    Before TACC, I never used cruise control. It was too much of a PIA to adjust the speed constantly, as I never drive on totally open and free roads, which is a true dream of mine. I used to be able to in the 70's. But that was a long time ago in a far away place...

    I am always watching the road and what the car is doing when in AP (one exception in a sec). At first, it was stressful and I doubted the value. But now that I have begun to understand the AP logic and have gained confidence in its abilities, I am no longer stressed at all. My ability to take over when I judge it necessary has become as automatic and as drama-free as any other normal driving experience. We all know it: the unconscious part of driving, where we realize that we don't remember the last 5 miles of driving.

    The one exception I have, which has proved very useful and a safety feature, is when I need to look at the 17" display for something more than a quick one-press. I have always disliked how far I have to take my eyes from the road and the time it takes to do a more complicated task. Now, when conditions permit, I turn AP on so that I can simply look away, get done what I need to do and then get back to the road.

    The best experience I have had with AP was after a day-long hike at Ano Nuevo and then dinner after at Costanoa, about an hour from home on the Central CA coast. I was exhausted. I got on HWY 1, which many know as a challenge. I set AP at the limit and sat back and relaxed for a good 45 minutes until I entered Santa Cruz, where I took over. I think it was the most relaxing time I have ever had in a car, while driving, and it really proved the value of AP to me. I just sat back and watched as the car not only negotiated the road flawlessly, but also slowed down at the speed limit changes and then went back to cruising speed with no intervention. And in all that time, the car only asked me to hold the wheel once. Now THAT is true luxury, IMO.
     
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