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Autopilot needs to learn "courtesy."

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by MarkS22, Apr 27, 2017.

  1. MarkS22

    MarkS22 Member

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    One of the most glaring pieces of the puzzle missing for me is the ability for Autopilot to be, for lack of a better term, a courteous driver. I feel like this could be achieved with both HW1 and (definitely) HW2.

    Specifically, I find most of my manual disengagements are because a car is in another lane, slightly ahead of me. They put on their turn signal, indicating they're going to enter my lane. Autopilot does nothing, maintaining speed. I feel it would be a massive improvement to detect the flashing turn signal and slowly ease off on the accelerator, just as a safe and courteous driver would do.

    Clearly they're working nonstop to improve Autopilot as they approach Level 5, but this one thing has been nagging me since its inception. There's clearly enough FOV even on AP1's camera to see speed limit signs. Detecting a flashing turn signal seems relatively simple by comparison and a false positive (of gently slowing) has minimal risk, if any.

    Thoughts?
     
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  2. pilotSteve

    pilotSteve Member

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    This is one of the many important (and difficult) problems that MobileEye CEO talks about where "Driving Policies" is the 3rd leg of automation (after Lane Keeping/basic driving and Vision/Sensor for traffic lights, pedestrian detection, etc.)

    Tesla has been mute on Driving Policies. I truly hope they have something amazing for us.... that will actually be DELIVERED to those of us (me) that paid for FSD when I bought my S90D!
     
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  3. Max*

    Max* Banned

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    I thought about that too. This and alternate merge are two times I always disable AP.
     
  4. BrettS

    BrettS Member

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    While it is interesting to think about I don't think it's really so cut and dry.

    There are some situations where you are coming up on a car merging onto the highway and the speed difference is so great that it will be much smoother for both cars if you pass them and let them merge in behind you. You don't want autopilot detecting the blinker and slamming on the brakes to be curtious and let them in.

    What about a situation where someone forgot to turn their blinker off and has no intention of switching lanes or if someone is driving slowly in the right lane with their flashers on. It could look like a left blinker and you don't want the autopilot car to slow down indefinitely to let these cars in when they never actually intend to change lanes. You really don't even want it to slow down at all in those cases... it's not like slowing down for a short time and if there is no motion from the car to merge then speeding up again would be acceptable. That would be annoying for the driver of the autopilot car as well as everyone behind him.
     
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  5. scottm

    scottm Active Member

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    #5 scottm, Apr 27, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2017
    Good idea. Need to sprinkle a little AI into the mix. This would be a patch for the old world paradigm of using signal lights.

    The long view on this is cars won't need to have signal lights in the future when they're all auto-driving and fully connected with a local area network, the hive will move as one.

    The investment to make is not in the video recognition of a signal bulb blinking... it should be in an RF beaconing protocol for requesting an exception to the rule of straight forward travel among the cars around you.

    The fact that a car is changing lanes will be known (requested and acknowledged from all around) before the steering vector moves from its current direction. Allowances will be negotiated and given by all others to accommodate the move.

    When all cars are connected like this, the spaces are reduced, tighter tolerances and less margin needed for maneuvers.. Imagine changing lanes slipping in 2 feet behind the rear bumper of a car in the lane you're moving into....at 81.7 MPH. Leaving any more distance and you'd clip the nose of the car behind it!

    There better be no windshield to speak of so people inside don't soil themselves by seeing this.
     
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  6. MarkS22

    MarkS22 Member

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    I don't think it needs to be over-complicated in an initial iteration. It's just an assistance tool.

    For example, if someone leaves the blinker on, then let the user disengage Autopilot or manually accelerate. Let a human make the call on safety. In terms of merging where the speed difference is great, there's a math formula for that. Ultimately, I'm not talking about slowing to a dangerous level. It would be practically the same as the car in the adjacent lane and happen very gradually, never exceeding a set % of your current speed. I mean, it would still be prudent to keep a close eye on that car with the blinker on because who knows if they'll decide to turn into your lane?

    Since we're not close to Level 5, I'm talking about day to day issues. We have to be watching anyway, so you could probably take care of 90% of the problem. Simply: "If speed differential < 10mph and distance to blinking car is < 10m, ease up on the accelerator, but never more than ~15% of your current speed." Can anyone see the above formula being dangerous in any way? Or more dangerous than doing nothing?
     
  7. Haxster

    Haxster Member

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    As the current leader of the free world often states, "I didn't know it could be so complicated."

    IMO, AP2 has a LOT to learn about not only courtesy but defensive driving.

    And I fear that robust FSD may be way way out there. There are way too many edge-cases that can get you killed. (And this is coming from an experienced optimistic engineer.)
     
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  8. kort677

    kort677 Banned

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    the system is not sophisticated enough to allow for what you are asking. people need to have more patience. the technology is far from perfect, hence the beta tag, and too many people are seeking that the technology be rushed along. I think we are a long way from seeing FSD, or even the things that were promised in the AP release.
     
  9. MarkS22

    MarkS22 Member

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    I've been driving an HW1 car for two years, so I have plenty of patience (and understanding of the complexity). I'm just starting a dialog on a piece that will need to be solved and how fellow owners would like to see it behave.
     
  10. MP3Mike

    MP3Mike Active Member

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    Where do you live that anyone actually does that? Around here turning on your turn signal is an indicator for the other party to speed up and close the gap making it impossible for you to merge.
     
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  11. scottm

    scottm Active Member

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    Some rouge asshat in a Corolla will go whipping down the freeway with hazards blinking just to knock out all the Tesla's from the AP program, seeing which ones he can force to crash because of non-attentive drivers.
     
  12. S4WRXTTCS

    S4WRXTTCS Active Member

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    At speed or crawling?

    At speed I could swear Tesla added turn signal detection to smooth things out. Where the car would give more room if it detected a turn signal. Or maybe I'm remembering some dream I had.

    Crawling along it doesn't detect. I'm sure it eventually will, but I'm hoping for car->car communication. Where the car does some kind of wireless agreement first.

    Personally I think the car should have an a-hole mode. Where it detects those constant lane changers and prevents them from changing lanes.
     
  13. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    I had the same thought. In some areas, a turn signal means the driver speeds up to make it impossible to merge.

    I touched on this before in other comments. Some users would prefer their AI to not be courteous, but rather be as aggressive as they are in driving.
     
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  14. timvracer

    timvracer Member

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    Out here in California, "white lining" is an acceptable thing, where motorcyclists ride the white line between lanes during traffic. It is pretty accepted practice to accommodate them, and as such, when I am in the left lane (carpool lane), I want to be on the LEFT side of the lane to make room for them. However, AP2 insists on being in the middle or even right side of the left lane, which puts my mirror at risk from the white-liners, and is considered inconsiderate (I am happy to move over for them).

    These sorts of little things would be nice to be able to configure. (like when in left lane, lean left, when in right lane, lean right).
     
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  15. MarkS22

    MarkS22 Member

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    Ultimately, it's up to the car company though. Just like your Uber driver can courteous or aggressive. Until then, it's probably my biggest annoyance and reason for taking over. Even if it was an option until a Level 4/5, good enough for me.
     
  16. clostridium

    clostridium Member

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    Totally agree that there should be a way to nudge the car more to one side of the lane or the other. I know you can gradually do that with force on the wheel but sometime soon it disconnects which can leave you with a jerking motion since the tension on the wheel drops suddenly.

    You should be able to choose the part of the lane the car preferentially occupies - it could default to center but you would be able to tweak it left or right. That would help with the motorcycles and also for those times when the car seems drawn to larger vehicles in adjacent lanes. The control would ideally be on the steering wheel to make it easy to change - maybe it could use the cruise control stalk so that when you hold down one of the steering wheel buttons moving that stalk up or down would nudge left or right or something like that.
     
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  17. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    I think it was the initial 8.0 release. There was certainly discussion from either Elon or one of the Press Releases saying that they'd added turn signal detection to improve the merge experience last year.

    I haven't really noticed it working effectively, but maybe it's just subtle enough that I missed it. I try not to do merges under Autopilot because it doesn't tend to yield to or acknowledge merging cars until they're halfway into the lane or more in my experience.
     
  18. OBX John

    OBX John Autonomous Driving Enthusiast

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    I spend most of my time while the car is on autopilot (AP2) thinking about just how hard the FSD problem will be to solve. There are so many little things the car will have to do, like the OP states with letting a driver merge, or moving over slightly to accommodate a bicyclist or pedestrian, or where eye contact or waving someone ahead plays a part... it's going to be interesting to see how long it actually takes to solve the problems that will allow for something more than a system that essentially just holds the wheel and follows a line for you while you still do the driving.
     
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  19. MarkS22

    MarkS22 Member

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    #19 MarkS22, Apr 29, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2017
    Agreed on all the little challenges. I specifically picked this example because I believe the solution I proposed would be "simple" and safer (and work on both HW 1.0 and HW 2.0). Just today, I was driving home on a highway on Autopilot. A driver to my right, going my speed and about 4 car lengths ahead, put on its signal. The current AP does nothing... until the car is in front of you, when it decelerates noticeably as it adds the proper separation between you and the car you're following. I'm proposing the slow down happens more gradually (safer to any cars following) before the signaling car even starts to enter the lane. It also adds separation between you and the soon-to-be lead car sooner (again safer). This example isn't a corner case but the most common reason for me to disengage Autopilot on a highway.

    Again, all the nuances (like eye contact or waving) will be interesting challenges to solve, but can anyone tell me how my proposed solution might be negative in terms of safety or not having to disengage Autopilot as often? This just seems like a low hanging fruit to me.

    (On your bicycle example, that one is particularly interesting and more complex. For example, will the vehicle ever intentionally cross double yellow lines to give a cyclist or a parked mail truck more room? How much will it be allowed to go over? Under what specific circumstances? There are quite a few examples of real-world driving where you essentially have to break the letter of the law, but are generally accepted as safe and normal. If not done correctly, you're talking about the potential of an autonomous car just sitting and waiting behind a parked mail truck because it won't go an inch over the yellow line to safely pass.)
     
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  20. Joe F

    Joe F Member

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    Sadly, many around you are not themselves courteous enough to signal...

    First Tesla needs to fix AP need for speed when it sees the lane open up when the vehicle in front of you changes lanes, and TACC floors it to close the gap.

    Scary when in a center lane and TACC has you zipping past much slower traffic, any one of which might change lanes into your lane to fill the gap that just opened. I've had cars in front of me with their signal on waiting to change lanes, meanwhile traffic in front of them moves on, leaving a several car gap. Inevitably cars change lanes in front of you, signals or not engaged, just as TACC accelerates, only to brake hard.

    Interesting problem, with many variables.
     

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