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AP---What do you wish you had known at delivery?

blc1017

MYLR Blue/Black | 5 seats | no tow/FSD | OD 5/23
Jan 1, 2013
185
132
Folsom, CA
Apologies if this has been covered elsewhere. I've read several good descriptions of AP and how it functions...including the Tesla manual, PapaFox's "a flight instructor teaches AP" as well as viewed Todd Burch's great video. I feel like I'm pretty well prepared. That said, I'm sure there are things that all of you with AP have learned since getting it. In preparing to pick up my second Model S this Saturday, I'd like to know from those of you who use AP a lot...what 2 or 3 things do you wish you had known from the very beginning about AP?
 
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chillaban

Active Member
May 5, 2016
3,723
6,599
Bay Area
The best general advice I can give is: Start out assuming the system is a very advanced traffic-following cruise control system, nothing more. Then be pleasantly surprised as it handles situations you wouldn't expect such a system to handle.

Don't get swept away by broad claims of "AI" or self learning, or be fooled into thinking the system is smarter than it really is. It does mess up from time to time, which is why you're always in charge. At any given time, think "what is the worst thing that can happen if the car turns the steering wheel the wrong way, or doesn't steer, or doesn't brake?". A lot of the times, the answer on uneventful freeway driving is, "nothing bad will happen" or "the car behind me will think I'm an idiot". But if the answer even remotely sounds like "I'll crash", be extra vigilant :)

Autopilot can handle vast stretches of highway driving and even some types of city driving really well, and it's easy to be tempted into being distracted. Don't let the temptations win!


P.S. Another thing that's easy to forget: TACC is really good even in areas where AP is not very good at finding lane lines. So don't forget about using TACC while steering the car yourself on problematic roads / situations.
 
I picked up my Model S on Friday, and have discovered a couple of things:

  • My previous car had cruise control controls on the steering wheel itself, and as you know the Tesla has them on a stalk on the left side of the steering wheel. On more than one occasion I've signaled to change lanes and found myself accelerating rapidly to whatever setting the TACC was left on.
  • Getting used to when TACC vs Autosteer is enabled - I've been mostly using autosteer either in situations where (a) I'm on the freeway, life is good, traffic is going, and we're just cruising, or (b) traffic sucks, it's stop and go, and it's frustrating to drive in. I did already have one situation, though, where I thought Autosteer was on and it wasn't...found myself drifting out of the lane and not knowing why. Goes back to chillaban's point above about paying attention
  • Also following on to chillaban's point - in stop and go traffic, it seems like the car tries to follow the car in front of you. That's great, until the car in front of you changes lanes. I found my car starting to move to follow him, and maybe it would have self-corrected, but I jumped on it and pulled back into my lane.

Looking at these three points, I think they're probably all summed up as PAY ATTENTION AT ALL TIMES :)
 
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Xenius

Active Member
Apr 24, 2015
1,046
1,478
Havertown, PA
I picked up my Model S on Friday, and have discovered a couple of things:
  • Getting used to when TACC vs Autosteer is enabled - I've been mostly using autosteer either in situations where (a) I'm on the freeway, life is good, traffic is going, and we're just cruising, or (b) traffic sucks, it's stop and go, and it's frustrating to drive in. I did already have one situation, though, where I thought Autosteer was on and it wasn't...found myself drifting out of the lane and not knowing why. Goes back to chillaban's point above about paying attention
  • Also following on to chillaban's point - in stop and go traffic, it seems like the car tries to follow the car in front of you. That's great, until the car in front of you changes lanes. I found my car starting to move to follow him, and maybe it would have self-corrected, but I jumped on it and pulled back into my lane.

1) If you're unsure look for the lights at the top of the center graphic. The one in the upper left (if blue) means TACC is on, the one in the upper right (if blue) means autosteer is on. The one in the upper right can't be on without the one in the upper left, but the in the upper left (TACC) can be on without autosteer (which is the situation you were describing being unaware of).

2) It likely would have autocorrected. I've had this exact scenario happen multiple times in the few short weeks since taking delivery and it's worked every time.
 

u00mem9

Member
Jun 8, 2016
943
1,290
USA
The 2 big issues that are not intuitive from early use, but can really bite you:

1) Crests: The system will lose track of the road edges on even moderate crests. The system won't make lots of noise indicating it is in over it's head...it will just do its best. Often that means a final desperate steering action to the right or left...if there is oncoming traffic, you won't get a chance to respond. You need to anticipate the issue and if there is any chance of crests on the road being used, don't plan to use the system...except as an experiment to understand it's limitations.

2) Speed-limited Autosteer: The system has an oversight which I expect will be patched in the future. It is a result of the previous patch of autosteer speed limited to 5mph over local speed limit on certain roads (usually non-divided highway). Let's say you are travelling along in a 65mph zone with the Autopilot on and set to 70mph. All is well. Now you enter a 45mph zone...and the car will slow to 50mph (5 over). Now let's say you see some road debris, and decide to steer the car to avoid it. The steering input will cancel Autosteer, BUT TACC will remain active...and it is still set to 70mph. The car will suddenly accelerate. In the wrong circumstances, this can result in bad news.
 

chillaban

Active Member
May 5, 2016
3,723
6,599
Bay Area
Another thing I forgot to mention that was immensely helpful: Autosteer tends to work better when following a car (either in your lane in front of you, or two cars in adjacent lanes around you that allow the car to assume your lane is between them). So if you find it struggling on a particular kind of road, you can consider finding someone else to follow.

Of course the flip side is what others have already noted: When it cannot see lane lines clearly, it tends to copycat what the person in front of you is doing, so be prepared to take over if they are a bad driver or are going somewhere that you don't want to go!
 
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NikeWings

Active Member
Apr 7, 2016
2,117
2,848
California
I wish I knew how awful usbank would treat me as a lease holder. Customer service non existent. Draconian exit policies. Excessive fees. Took me 3 months to surrender my lease which only took place after Notifying the better business bureau and attorney general's office. Worst banking experience in my entire life. Hands down.
Caveat Emptor

Ouch. Good to know. US Bank is the leasor (sp??) for my 90D. I'm only three months into it, but no problems yet. The only thing they won't do for me (so far) is permit advanced payments or full lease payoff.

One of the many benefits of the forum.......learning from polar experiences and views. Wow, what happened Blue Millenium? I would think a bank should be able to take a payment and process it every month. Scary thought if they can't do that right and then struggle to fix it too.

Sounds like a good problem to have Mustang, being stuck with you own money! :) Maybe you can auto pay, to at least remove the task of doing so every month.
 
There are some very good pieces of advice in this thread. I would add the suggestion to look for situations that might confuse AP's visual recognition: dappled tree shadows, interruptions in side lines or lane lines, marks in the road unrelated to lane lines, debris, poorly marked right exits off of left curves, and most of all (as was mentioned here before) the crests of hills.
 
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