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Autopilot experience with construction zone on I-95 in Needham?

Discussion in 'New England' started by David29, Nov 2, 2016.

  1. David29

    David29 Member

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    What has been your experience with using Autopilot (including the self-steering) through the construction zone on I-95 through Needham and Wellesley, from Highland Ave. to Rte. 9?

    I have used it many times over the past year. In fact, I try to always use it. I figure that the lane alignment has not changed in many months, so the system should have it down pat. I have found that it even works very well on the northbound side where the lanes split, despite the rather erratic lane markings as you exit the split and as the road curves to the left. My one concession is that I reduce the set speed to 50 or so if I am in the left lane that splits off by itself -- that is a narrow, bumpy stretch and I figure there is no reason to be too crazy. (Plus the traffic normally limits my speed anyway.)

    But yesterday I had a scary moment when traveling southbound, just south of the Rte. 9 overpass. The car told me to "Take control immediately" and it looked as if I would hit the Jersey barrier on the left if I did not do so. So I took control and stayed away from the self-steering function until I was heading up the hill towards Rte. 135 in Dedham.

    I have noticed in the past that sometimes the Autopilot seemed a bit shaky in the left lane traveling southbound, especially in the stretch just after Highland Ave. where the road is curving to the left. Maybe it was the proximity of those Jersey barriers. And I noticed yesterday that the barriers are new -- they look different,as if they are polished metal -- is that possible?

    Anyway, curious what others have experienced in this area. I was a bit concerned after the system told me to take over yesterday.
     
    • Informative x 1
  2. EdA

    EdA Model S P-2540

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    I don't have AP HW but this is exactly why I'd never want it (until they take my license away because I'm too frail to drive).
     
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  3. Driver Dave

    Driver Dave Member

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    My experience not exactly in that area, but in general.

    Autopilot 1.0 is just looking at the lane markers and the cars in front of it. It works amazing in a normal condition highway and in bumper to bumper (where it is just following the car in front it)

    I grab the wheel and turn it off as soon as I see construction zone, or lanes not painted right, or jersey barriers really close to the lane, or a pretty sharp curve, or coming over a crest, because it sometimes can get it through it fine, but you are really hitting the limits of the current tech. It can handle a lot of it, but I prefer to just think of it as fancy cruise control to use when highway is clear, or in bumper to bumper, and it is totally awesome then.

    Will be interesting to see how much 2.0 improves on it.
     
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  4. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    I haven't been to that exact construction zone. I have gotten a "take over immediately" in a construction zone a couple of times though - I think it happens when the car sees what it believes are the two sides of it's lane coming close together or crossing.

    (I've also been through several construction zones with no issues - always holding the wheel and ready to override, of course.)
     
  5. aronth5

    aronth5 Long Time Follower

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    Some of the new barriers in that construction zone are in fact metal. I've noticed that on a number of recent construction projects in the area. Whether that affects AP I don't know as I'm not yet an owner.
     
    • Informative x 1
  6. RDoc

    RDoc S85D

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    I've gone through there a couple of times and after a couple of real scares I now turn off the AP. In general construction zones and AP are a hair raising combination.
     
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  7. kort677

    kort677 Active Member

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    you should be aware that tesla says that the AP should NOT be used in construction zones
     
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  8. SureValla

    SureValla Member

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    agreed, the last option I will adding to my 3 is AP (if ever). I'd rather spend money on nicer seats, better sound system.
     
  9. Driver Dave

    Driver Dave Member

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    I must admit I had a similar outlook on it at start and couldn't see myself using it much.

    But then after using it, and seeing that if you use it exactly how you would use cruise control (in that, yeah it is helping, but you are still in driving mode and paying attention), it then becomes really awesome and useful and may even be safer than driving without it.

    But it does take a little time to get used to it, and learn how it works, learn when not to use it of course, and get the general feel of it. But after that, you really can't see driving with out it.

    I can see in the future, part of driving tests will be a "driving with automated systems on" section. Where you have to show you know how to drive using an auto-pilot system. Because even when it is on, it still is you driving.
     
  10. Jurnimon

    Jurnimon Member

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    AP 1.0 does not handle construction zones well. Best to keep it I turned off in construction zones. When I tested a Model X about 6 months ago, the car decided that the right lane was part of our lane and the car in front of us was no longer there. I had to yank it out of autopilot to avoid an accident. I am very leery of using it over there or any construction zone.
     
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  11. mikevbf

    mikevbf Member

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    I will admit I am leary of using auto pilot so far. But, one late evening returning from Boston to VT along the mass pike, I was glad to have it. I kept my hands on the wheel and considered myself still driving, but knew that if for the first time in my life I was to nod for a couple seconds while driving, the auto pilot would back me up. Admittedly the best thing in these situations is to pull over and sleep, but I have driven probably over 500,000 miles in my life and more than a couple times late at night or jet lagged and always stayed awake. I still feel the auto pilot is a nice backup in these cases. It only takes once ...
     
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  12. wozzinator

    wozzinator Member

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    I tried out AP northbound in the section where the highway splits into one lane on the left and two on the right and it handled both pretty well. I kept my hands on it the whole time just in case, but the ultrasonic sensors used the dividers to keep me a safe distance from the walls at all times.

    Southbound it can handle the change in lane markers, but the out of lane warning comes up even with AP on.
     
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  13. Hota

    Hota Member

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    i drive this stretch every day and for the most part AP 1.0 works pretty well.

    Southbound is the smoothest with generally no problems staying in lanes except for one sharp lane shift which might cause a slight incursion into an adjacent lane before AP can fully correct.

    Northbound is a bit sketchier especially entering the divided lane split. The problem is that there's a lane shift in the left lane as the barrels and Jersey barrier appear on the right. With software 8.0, AP doesn't pick up this shift and will put you into the water barrels. in addition, i don't think the radar will give you a collision warning either since the barrels don't seem to return a signal. Be careful here!!!!

    Once you are in the split, everthing seems to be fine up and through the exit as long as there is a car to follow as you exit.
     
  14. David29

    David29 Member

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    Interesting. I had used AP several times through that split, with good results. I was always impressed with how well the car would navigate the duplicate and confusing lane markings at the exit of the split where the left lane joins the rest of the traffic. But the last time I did, it did not seem to handle that left-most lane shift going into the split very well. I may have been going too fast. Usually I drop my speed quite a bit before I enter the split. Or for that matter, usually the traffic slows me down anyway all through that area. But over the holidays, one day the traffic was lighter and I also had a bit of a scare there. As you say, I felt as if I would hit the water barrels. I think something must have been changed there, maybe when they opened the new right lanes further down the hill, not sure.

    The comment above not to use AP in construction zones is likely the prudent advice to follow....
     
  15. aronth5

    aronth5 Long Time Follower

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    I drove both southbound and northbound on Sunday in my Prius and am surprised AP seems to be doing as well as everyone is reporting. I would have assumed drivers would simply decide to take over in the construction zone.

    The southbound lane shift created many problems for drivers near me and not a single car was a Tesla:)
     
  16. Hota

    Hota Member

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    I feel like the change came around the 8.0 update. Before that point, I think AP seemed to enter the split lanes just fine. I don't recall if the split lanes were actually moved around that time or not.

    I pretty much try to enter the split lanes every day on AP just to see if there's any "learning" going on and every day, I get a little bit of a scare!

    Exiting the split lanes has never been a problem for me.
     
  17. David29

    David29 Member

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    I went through this area again today, using autopilot. I had been avoiding the left-most lane but today I made a midday trip alone and decided to try that northbound left-most lane. As before, the car seems to head directly for the barrels and seems to ignore the lane lines. Very disturbing, especially as it used to work quite well.

    What I would like to do if I ever get a chance is to drive this section in light traffic, maybe on a weekend morning in the wee hours or something, go slowly, and watch exactly what happens, being prepared to take action but as late as possible.

    Whether or not I will ever have that chance is another thing. It looks as if the construction is approaching the point at which there will be another realignment, so the split may disappear.

    As for the idea that this is a construction zone and we shouldn't be using AP1 in such places, I generally agree with that principle, except that the geometry and markings here are not unlike other locations where lanes split, so I think the AP function should be able to handle it. At the moment, it seems to be surprisingly incapable. I would love to know what changed such that it worked well here before, but not now. Was it the environment that changed? Or the software? Both did change but which one made the difference? Most likely, we will never know....
     
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  18. EdA

    EdA Model S P-2540

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  19. David29

    David29 Member

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    Ouch, I had not seen that video.
    I agree, it is a calculated risk to use it at that location. But the point was that something changed, either in the software or in the environment, that causes the system to fail. And it puzzles me. I suppose that is one of the risks of AP, that one can become adapted to it and comfortable that it works, and then encounters a situation that is outside its capabilities in some way that may not be obvious, and one gets burned.
     
  20. Hota

    Hota Member

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    I've been driving the split most days to better understand how AP "sees" it. Right in front of the barrels the right lane marker splits making a yellow "V" starting the lane split. Often what happens is that the camera drops or loses confidence in the lane marker on the left side of the car and the camera interprets the right side of the "V" as the right lane marker putting the car right into the barrels.

    I've been able to successfully navigate the split only a 1 or 2 times in traffic using AP when driving under 40mph.
     
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