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Autopilot: Crashed at 40mph

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by Tam, May 16, 2016.

  1. Tam

    Tam Active Member

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    There are a few articles covering a same incidence in Lebec, CA on 4/26/2016:

    Another driver says Tesla’s autopilot failed to brake; Tesla says otherwise

    Tesla Autopilot Misfires, Model S Crashes into Car at Speed on the I-5

    Second Model S driver crashes and blames Tesla Autopilot for not stopping

    Arianna Simpson was driving her Model S north from Los Angeles on I-5, cruising in autopilot mode. "All of a sudden the car ahead of me came to a halt. There was a decent amount of space so I figured that the car was going to brake as it is supposed to and didn't brake immediately. When it became apparent that the car was not slowing down at all, I slammed on the brakes but was probably still going 40 when I collided with the other car,"

    The article reported that Tesla's log showed the autopilot mode was disengaged when she manually hit the brake.

    If I understand correctly, in summary:

    1) the driver blamed the crash to the "beta" automation that did not slow down the car in time and she had to manually applied the brake when it was too late.

    2) Tesla blog shows that the automation was disabled at the time of the crash and the car was in manual mode at that time when the driver manually applied the brake.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. hockeythug

    hockeythug Active Member

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    #2 hockeythug, May 16, 2016
    Last edited: May 16, 2016
    Isn't auto emergency braking active all the time?

    Edit:
    Confusing.
     
  3. wycolo

    wycolo Active Member

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    Either you are IN or you are OUT of this driving game. No pussyfooting allowed!!

    I had not heard of this 'feature'.
    --
     
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  4. Boourns

    Boourns Member

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    Haven't driven an AP car, but is it possible she accidentally tapped the brake when she noticed stopped traffic, and this disabled AP? How hard does one have to brake to disable AP?
     
  5. JAFO

    JAFO Member

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    Autopilot has tried to kill me a number of times, maybe it's a new Darwin test.
     
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  6. pchilds

    pchilds Member

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    Touching the brakes at all disables autopilot.
     
  7. Naonak

    Naonak Member

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    My autopilot is a sneaky bastard. It doesn't try to kills me, but pretends like it's about it ... swerving hard, braking for no reason, popping up the warning chirp for a car in front when there isn't one there ... it's slowly lulling me into a state of dismissal... then it 's going to strike, I just know it. Once I'm used to all the false positives and ignore them, it will make it's move. That day is coming.
     
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  8. Tam

    Tam Active Member

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    #8 Tam, May 16, 2016
    Last edited: May 16, 2016
    AEB, Tesla's Automatic Emergency Braking is a free feature to current all, including barebone Tesla. It has never been meant to brake to a stop. It is meant to soften the blow and it has never been meant to prevent an accident.

    Its manual explains this kind of collision very clearly.



    [​IMG]



    However, when you are on Autopilot (a $2,500 feature,) it should easily prevent this kind of collision.
     
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  9. Canuck

    Canuck Active Member

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    I only drove an AP car for one day and one the most difficult things for me to get used to was the way it slowed down when traffic came to a stop (not soon enough!). I don't know if that can be changed in the settings. I tried a number of different settings, car lengths, etc. but no matter what it doesn't slow down until it gets too close for my comfort to the vehicle ahead. Again, I'm a novice, so others can correct me, but that's what it felt like to me, and maybe that's why the driver thought it was going to stop until it was too late? It was probably the driver's fault but Tesla needs to try to minimize even driver fault accidents while using, or not using, AP.
     
  10. Tam

    Tam Active Member

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    It would be more helpful if the log would say more in detail and if Tesla would advise what to do in this case.

    Should the driver continue on autopilot without manually applying the brake and continue to have faith that the car would finally brake on its own?
     
  11. artsci

    artsci Sponsor

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    Makes one wonder. Does autopilot become an excuse for driver error? Let the blame game begin.
     
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  12. JohnSnowNW

    JohnSnowNW Active Member

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    I would say the recent instances of driver error while using AP features has already answered that question.
     
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  13. Canuck

    Canuck Active Member

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    Perhaps similar to the "sudden acceleration" claims of the 80's, the conclusion of which was driver error:

    1989 NHTSA SA Study Report & Appendices A-D(1).pdf
     
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  14. AB4EJ

    AB4EJ Member

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    See similar thread here.
     
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  15. Tam

    Tam Active Member

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    Other companies such as Mercedes, Volvo, Google... will accept liability if you buy their system.

    Volvo, Mercedes And Google Accept Liability For Autonomous Cars

    The downside is you might have to wait for years for them to perfect the system.

    So it is nice that Tesla has released its beta system for the public. The problem is the public may not realize that it is still an imperfect system that does not work in certain situations so you use at your own risk.

    That said, whenever something goes wrong, it is valuable to communicate so beta-drivers can be educated and be able to attempt to avoid that scenario in future.
     
  16. AB4EJ

    AB4EJ Member

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    The consensus of opinion is that you should not try to depend on TACC to stop the car, especially in high speed (55 mph +) travel.Tesla may get the system to be able to do that at some point, but the system can't reliably do that now. I'm guessing that the radar they use doesn't have the range to be able to figure out a high closing speed far away enough to have sufficient braking distance.
     
  17. GoTslaGo

    GoTslaGo Learning Member

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    When I see the traffic start to back up, I will increase my car length setting (usually 5, I bring it to 7) on TACC. This will slow the car down slightly more quickly and give my plenty of room to apply brakes if I have to (haven't had to). Naturally I check to make sure no one is tailgating me, which is why I typically do not drive in the left lane.

    Been pretty happy with how TACC responds when I do this. Main issue is that given the space I leave in front, more cars tend to pass in front of me, but I'm ok with that, especially how Zen AP makes me feel in the car. Need to try it multiple times to get beyond the "OMG, I'm not driving and WTF is the car doing anxiety!". What tipped it for me was that I was extremely sick once, and AP got me home safely.
     
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  18. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    It has been discussed many times on TMC that TACC does not recognize stopped vehicles, and Tesla also says that. The driver is responsible for their driving and safety at all times, whether Autopilot or TACC is on or not. This driver failed to stop in time.
     
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  19. boonedocks

    boonedocks Member

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    +1 @JAFO "A Darwin test" . Bwha ha ha ha ha
     
  20. SomeJoe7777

    SomeJoe7777 Marginally-Known Member

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    Nope. No driver aid or automation capability can be used as an excuse for anything, because the driver is still responsible for everything.

    Commercial airliners have been routinely flying with autopilot since the 1950s. Not once has the NTSB ever cited the autopilot as the cause of an accident because the autopilot by definition has no responsibility for flight safety. That responsibility rests solely on the pilot and no one else. Autopilot, flight management systems, GPS, instrumentation, glide slopes, etc. are all pilot aids.

    Telsa's autopilot functions identically. The purpose is to let the driver assume a supervisory role instead of an operational role. But the responsibility for safe driving doesn't change with the activation of autopilot.
     
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