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Autopilot is perfect for long highway commutes

Discussion in 'Model S' started by mkjayakumar, Feb 8, 2016.

  1. mkjayakumar

    mkjayakumar Active Member

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    #1 mkjayakumar, Feb 8, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2016
    I know the type, because I am one. You have a daily commute that stretches to an hour and most of that is on highways. You know the route every bit that sometimes you get the feeling you even know every lane stripes and every pot hole on the way. You have mentally mapped every section of the highway that you know which lane to latch onto the faster moving traffic. It is not always the left lane. In the evenings, you want to leave office a bit early to get ahead of the bottlenecks, but you can rarely do that. A good portion of your daily planning is consumed on how well to manage the commute. Fridays are different from Mondays. You feel exhausted by the time you reach office, and even more so when you reach home that all you can think of is dinner, getting to bed in time to be prepared for the next days commute. You get a lot of sympathy from your co-workers, but there is nothing they, you or anyone can do to reduce the stress levels.

    You often wonder, how nice it will be if there is a commuter train that starts from your home and ends in your office parking lot.

    If you are one of those that fit that category, Autopilot is perfect to reduce your stress level and get you as close as you can get to the magical subway/commuter rail that you have been longing.

    For the last many years I have been commuting 75 miles roundtrip, of which close to 70 miles is on well marked 3 lane (each way) freeway. One single highway end to end. Anywhere between 45 to 70 minutes each way depending on the time and day of the week. Sections that go at 75 and sections that come to a crawl at 20 and sections that are packed at 50 mph.

    Now with Autopilot much of the minutiae and numbing details of driving out of the way, it is a completely different experience. Going down the highway with AP on, I was thinking the other day, 'this is like being on one of those airport trams on the front carriage, watching the tracks in front of you go by, while driver-less tram takes you around'. As simple as that, or almost..

    One thing I realize now, is that taking a short test drive with AP does not do any justice at all. Most likely you are going to be extremely nervous for the short 10 minute ride, that you may conclude that it is not worth it all or you may never get comfortable enough to use it. The first few times it is an un-nerving experience and it takes a while to get the confidence and to fully understand which situations you can trust it fully and when you should be extremely watchful.

    Gas car driving to EV driving is a big leap, that only if you have done that and lived with it you will understand and appreciate. Similarly manual driving to AP assisted driving is a big leap, and you need to get comfortable with it to appreciate that. After that there is no going back.

    If you have long highway commute and if you can afford it, run and get your Model S with AP.
     
  2. jgs

    jgs Member

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    I think this is completely right. It's in the category of features that are incredibly valuable, but difficult to sell because difficult to demo well. And so we see the plethora of online comments of the form "I would never want Autopilot, why buy an expensive car if you're not going to drive it?" These completely miss the point, but in my experience it's not even worth arguing about it unless you can put the person behind the wheel, preferably for an extended drive.

    An interesting sales dilemma. Hopefully one that will self-correct within the next few years, as Autopilot and similar features move from being exotic to being mainstream.
     
  3. kort677

    kort677 Active Member

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    I drove from FLA to CO using AP the majority of the time, it worked out real well and I am glad that I bought an AP equipped tesla to replace my older one. While the AP is not quite perfect all the time, I had minor glitches like not changing lanes on command the overall experience is fantastic and AFAIK is not found in any other car on the road.
     
  4. DougH

    DougH Active Member

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  5. JenniferQ

    JenniferQ Member

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    I love it. I use it whenever I can. I really look forward to road trips now and love the feeling that the car and I are working together on the road. It occurred to me yesterday that having one of the first AP cars could make it a bit of a classic one day. My kids think it will be "cool" when their kids can actually drive cars, rather than cars drive them. Something to think about
     
  6. AndY1

    AndY1 Member

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    How come, that in the USA you're not driving on the most right lane and use left lanes only to pass other cars?
     
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  7. BobtheV

    BobtheV Member

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    Ego. Next…
     
  8. Bimbels

    Bimbels GoldMember

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    AP has changed my commute. I drive 180 miles from RI to JFK. The i95 corridor through CT is a nightmare - but AP has changed everything. I agree you can't get the full feeling from a test drive. To me it's one of those things you don't want to do without once you have it.
     
  9. DougH

    DougH Active Member

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    In that section of I-5 there are several off and on ramps. Do to traffic I prefer to stay in the middle lane and it also is better for smoother AP staying in lanes with constant strips.
     
  10. mkjayakumar

    mkjayakumar Active Member

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    To reduce the commute stress, I did contemplate car-pooling, shared rides and such, but the rigid timings and the extra time that it takes to pick up and drop off was a downer. AP is like having a personal chauffeur, except that you don't pay !! Well almost.

    For the first time I am actually tolerating my commute!! I only wish the scenery here is a bit nicer to make it more enjoyable..
     
  11. drsaab

    drsaab Member

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    I got you beat. I do 100 miles X 6 days a week. I have used all the tech since distronic plus in mb which is TACC and now have 41k already in my model s autopilot. I tell everyone the same thing. It's life changing. [emoji3]
     
  12. Doug Darby

    Doug Darby Member

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    Because I retired 5 years ago I really only "commute" one day a week to my volunteer job that is 30 miles away... I come home in Dallas rush hour traffic at 6:30pm and it is soooo relaxing... The worse the traffic the more relaxing it is... I lay my head back on the head rest.... Keep a couple fingers on the wheel... Set the TACC distance to 2... and watch the world go by.... I get home feeling refreshed...
    If I had had this technology 10 or 15 years ago I would be 7 years younger today.....
    and...
    I did a road trip to Madison Wisconsin from Dallas and it was even more spectacular... I left Madison at about 5PM headed back towards Dallas. I drove late into the night and got to Colombus MO because it was such fun to ride along with the auto pilot with almost no traffic late at night... Eating my popcorn, drinking my coke, chatting with my wife, checking a few texts.. and being mindful of what is on the road... An experience that is hard to describe to a non owner...
     
  13. ianBlackburn

    ianBlackburn Member

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    You are right, it is such a different experience. I find I am very relaxed, and wondering why everyone else seems to want to accelerate and decelerate and nip in and out of lanes.... (though come to think of it, that was me all of two weeks ago in a Porsche!). It almost feels like an out of body experience!

    Do you ever get the urge to show other drivers how relaxed you are though, perhaps putting your hands behind your head while the car gently steers round a bend.... :)
     
  14. mkjayakumar

    mkjayakumar Active Member

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    Ha ha.. absolutely. I tried doing that a few times and perhaps scared a few people.

    Why didn't this amazing technology come by a few years ago when I started the gruesome commute? Between ICE to EV, and manual driving to AP, I think AP is a bigger leap in technology and how we do things. While the smooth torque of EV wows you, AP is in a way mind-boggling.

    When there is a gap in the adjacent lane, I normally get the urge to switch and accelerate and gain a few feet, but now with AP none of those matter really.
     
  15. dlinkeg

    dlinkeg Member

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    My hope is that the Model 3 has the AP option. I will still like it without AP, but I will LOVE it with AP, AWD, and a few other goodies. Can't wait for the end of March to reserve.
     
  16. mkjayakumar

    mkjayakumar Active Member

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    #16 mkjayakumar, Feb 14, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2016
    Just like how moving from stick-shift to Automatic gear transmission changed the driving lifestyle completely, I strongly believe semi-Autonomous driving will be a systemic change in how we view driving. It is not an incremental change but a fundamental shift.

    When I came to US many moons ago, stick-shift were getting phased out and you cannot get a stick-shift from any rental outfits. My wife or I simply don't know how to drive one, because we have never driven one. Now days stick-shift is relegated to only those that are nostalgic and want a 'connected' experience. You simply cannot get one for most of the models easily. Similarly I think in a decade from now we will look back and say the same thing about driving manually. 2014 October will be marked as a seminal point in automotive history.

    It is stunning that I am driving something so advanced but yet 99% of the population does not even know such a driving experience is possible today - no hyperbole.

    Mark my words: Luxury will be redefined by how autonomous the driving experience your automobile provides, rather than how flush your interiors are which I think are silly (Mercedes - yes I am laughing at you).

    None of this would make sense to a non-owner who has not seen this in action. It is one of those things that you have to experience it, not just test-drive it.
     
  17. Electricfan

    Electricfan Member

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    Just remember to keep both hands on the wheel and be ready to take over at any moment - word for word what Tesla recommends!

    I used to say the same things the posts above say. No more. AP tried to drive my Tesla into a truck in the next lane. I have provided dashcam video to Tesla and they say they have pulled the logs, but this was two weeks ago and they haven't responded with any kind of explanation.

    AP is Beta. Do not trust it with your life. Or the lives of the people in the cars around you.
     
  18. Twiglett

    Twiglett Single pedal driver

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    The best part for me regarding AP is that Tesla where being dinged initially because they didn't have AP and the others did.
    Now its being used and constantly improving and the others are already long behind.
    The reviews show that AP is already much, much better than BMW 7 and MB S etc.
    But while everyone else has to release a new car model to improve the self driving, Tesla just keep learning at a million miles a day and releasing software updates to existing cars.
    No wonder Model S is outselling them :)
     
  19. jgs

    jgs Member

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    Spoken like someone who has never driven a rental car in Europe. :)
     

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