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AutoPilot - note to drivers and Consumer Reports

Discussion in 'Model X' started by xkwizit, Jul 16, 2016.

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  1. xkwizit

    xkwizit Member

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    With the recent allegations by some Tesla drivers on the failure of Autopilot on their cars and the media jumping on those incidents, this is a quick primer for every Tesla driver (including spouses, siblings, sons and daughters) and Laura MacCleery, VP of Consumer Policy and Mobilization for Consumer Reports:

    Autopilot by definition is a system that is used to control the trajectory of a vehicle (aircraft, boat, spacecraft, motor vehicle) without constant "hands-on" control by a human operator. The level of control that an autopilot can perform varies even within aircrafts that are capable of using autopilots. However, autopilot should not be confused with autonomous. An autonomous driving vehicle does not need human intervention. It can navigate without human input solely based on sensing its environment.

    Tesla's autopilot is a developing suite of features that meets NHTSA's level 2 unlike Google's car that meets the level 3 designation. As Elon Musk has said many times, Tesla's autopilot represents baby steps towards achieving full autonomy.

    As of writing this note, Tesla's autopilot allows you to maintain lane, change lanes, and park the car. While you should keep your hands on the steering wheel, when driving on a straight road with minimal traffic, you may take off your hands from time to time to relax your arms. However, when encountering curves, construction zones, roads that don't have clear lane markings, busy traffic, inclement weather such as rain or snow, and even direct bright sun, you should keep your hand on the steering wheel and be ready to take control if needed.

    Remember, when you are in an aircraft and if the pilot were to put the aircraft in autopilot mode, what would you expect them to do. I believe you wouldn't want them to be roaming the aisles and talking to passengers leaving the flight control to the computer. It's the same with your car on autopilot.

    And definitely DO NOT:
    a) Go to sleep
    b) Read any kind of literature
    c) Play games
    d) Watch anything other than the road and the dash/screen on your car
    e) Get so engrossed in conversation with other passengers in the car or on the phone that you are not aware of road conditions.

    Did you notice that all of the above also apply to driving any vehicle? I hope you get the point - it is NOT AN AUTONOMOUS vehicle so don't act like you are driving one. There is NO autonomous vehicle authorized on public roads at this time in any part of the world. Once again, autopilot is NOT autonomous. Autopilot still requires you - it will assist you but doesn't replace you.

    I am sure many of you must be questioning then why have the AutoPilot. After putting over 18,000 miles on my car with autopilot, here are the advantages:
    1. It does really well compared to a human driver for keeping the center of the lane.
    2. The few minutes you get to relax your arms go a long way in reducing fatigue especially on long road trips.
    3. Since you can relax out of a fixed body posture and less fatiguu, it helps the driver to remain more alert and less likely to doze off.
    4. The ultrasonic sensors and the radar are quicker than humans to detect if another vehicle is getting into your lane and slow down your car. They also warn you instantly if you need to take over control and avoid a crash.

    Ms. MacCleery/Consumer Reports - the Tesla owners who paid for the AP technology are NOT guinea pigs. Guinea pigs don't fork out $2500 to be part of an experiment. When we purchase the AP option and then subsequently enable it (Tesla makes the driver enable it from the Settings), we take responsibility of using this developing technology.

    For your four recommendations, the only one I agree is about consumer education. The other three:
    a) Disable autosteer till hands on wheel are required - definitely NOT. Not only is it a huge step backwards towards achieving autonomous driving, it defeats the very purpose of reducing driver fatigue. The current version gives just about sufficient time to relax your posture and reduce fatigue.
    b) Stop referring to as Autopilot - It meets the current widely used concept of autopilot and changing the name is not going to make it safer. People will still call it AutoPilot no matter what Tesla renames it too.
    c) No more beta releases - test within the lab. Do you know of any automotive lab that emulates every single road condition? Is it even possible to create one?? Google has been trying to collect real life data from its own Level 3 cars on public roads. However, that approach has been a slow process, does not collect sufficient data and delays the significant advantages of autonomous driving. The practice of using beta testers from public is prevalent amongst several industries including healthcare. If consumers are willing to pay Tesla or anyone else to pay for emerging technologies, then don't brute force your way and cripple their rights.

    My plea to regulatory bodies and insurance companies:
    1. Implement laws that support emerging technologies not cripple them.
    2. Improve and standardize our roads - make our roads smarter.
    3. Provide incentives for drivers and vehicles that use emerging technologies such as Autopilot as they reduce accidents and improve safety.

    And to my fellow Tesla drivers - educate other drivers in your household about autopilot and help them use it responsibly. DRIVE RESPONSIBLY AND SAFE WITH AP!!

    And finally back to Consumer Reports and other media - STOP MISLEADING THE PUBLIC - REPORT ON FACTS AND DON'T MISUSE STATISTICS TO PROVE A POINT!!!

    Disclaimer: I do not own Tesla stock nor do I short/long Tesla stock at the time of writing. I do own Tesla vehicles with AP enabled and my only interest in writing this post is to promote autonomous driving. You have my permission to reproduce the above post outside of this forum in its entirety. However, if you want to publish parts of it, please contact me for permission.
     
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  2. systemcrashed

    systemcrashed Please Reboot

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    You should send this to CR as a letter to the editor. If they were truly looking out for public safety then they would publish it.
     
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  3. Chopr147

    Chopr147 Active Member

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    Very good letter from an experienced AP user. Too bad media like CR would not use you as a reference. You do NOT prove their point
     
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  4. Drivin

    Drivin Member

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    People should just keep their hands on the wheel like Tesla states.
    Tesla should disable autopilot if people aren't complying.
    Easy Peasy.
     
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  5. SR22pilot

    SR22pilot Member

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    You left out one major benefit of the AP suite of driver assist features: AP reduces road rage. AP makes it easy to maintain a safe steady speed. It discourages aggressive driving behavior. Because of the lack of latency a Tesla is surgical in its precision. This can lead to very aggressive driving. With AP on the driver relaxes more and goes with the flow so to speak.
     
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  6. aesculus

    aesculus Still Trying to Figure this All Out

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    They do that but what do you do with NimRods who are not paying attention to the Autopilot warnings it's going to disconnect if the driver does not comply and they are also not aware that the car actually disconnecting. Or worse they take corrective action for what they think is an autopilot error and that causes the car to give them back control when they have not acknowledged or accepted that responsibility.

    So to net it out there is a disconnect between expectations with the nut behind the steering wheel and the car.

    Using AP represents a fundamental shift in how people drive cars. Maybe as some media preaches, we should not have automatic driving features until we reach full autonomy. Some of the public and media don't seem to understand the difference or accept this interim capability. So we all lose because of it.
     
  7. xkwizit

    xkwizit Member

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    Even aircraft pilots abuse auto pilot and cause crashes. It's a situation with any new technology and the only way to make it common stream is widespread use. And even then there will be people who will abuse the system.

    There's never going to be complete idiot proof system. Just yesterday I saw a woman cross a six lane road with lights green and traffic flowing across all lanes. And she merrily just walked across with drivers trying their best to avoid her.
     
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  8. S4WRXTTCS

    S4WRXTTCS Active Member

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    I'm starting to see this entire thing as people who don't have Autopilot want to control those with Autopilot out of fear. I don't see the same level of fear among those of us that actually use AP. I don't even really like the full AP (I think it needs more sensors), but I find myself constantly defending the right to have it as it is.

    CR wants to bring it to industry norms, but the industry norms suck. Even AP sucks in various places.

    My recommendation to Tesla would be to be really harsh with the nags/warnings to new driver profiles, and then back off a bit as the owner gets more experienced. Have a break in period for the driver.

    I think we can balance the need to have nice things versus the need to nanny the nimrods. We also have to accept that nimrods will screw up and have accidents. I apologize to the person involved in the Montana crash, but you're a nimrod for doing what you did. Of course sometimes I'm a nimrod, but I don't want to always be protected from my mistakes or I'd never learn.
     
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  9. SR22pilot

    SR22pilot Member

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  10. S4WRXTTCS

    S4WRXTTCS Active Member

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    #10 S4WRXTTCS, Jul 16, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2016
    One other way of seeing this is comes down to a fight over semiautonomous driving.

    I view the Tesla Autopilot as being the only true Level 2 car that's currently sold today. I would disqualify any car that had constant nags to hold the wheel. I would also disqualify any car that did lane keeping so poorly that the driver had to constantly correct it.

    It's also the only car that I know that is sold today that is attempting to improve. Where Tesla used the approach of fleet learning to tackle the problem. Because lets face it Tesla doesn't have the resources other much larger companies do. Plus a good part of it's owners do a lot of driving (why some of you bought a Tesla in the first place).

    CR wants to pull it back, and to put a pause on this entire thing based largely on fear.

    Had MB taken the next step then I doubt much would have come from it, but it was Tesla that took the next step. Everything Tesla does is analyzed to the 10th degree. MB didn't really take the next step because semiautonomous/autonomous driving isn't that important to their bottom line.

    Tesla is first and foremost an Energy company. What does an energy company care about? They care about usage, and how to do push usage? You get people to drive. What in the world is a person from Ohio even doing driving in Florida? Did it have a lot to do with AP? Probably (at least the TACC portion of it). Did it have to do with the feeling of freedom an electric car + superchargers gives you? Probably.

    The single biggest advantage an electric car has over an ICE car is how natural an electric car goes with automation. Automating an ICE car is really pretty silly if you think about it. We know the future is electric, and we know the future of cars isn't about car ownership. Even now with Uber we're allowed unprecedented freedom from car ownership in the states. Unless you happen to live in Austin.

    The continual improvements to Autopilot is absolutely essential for Tesla to exploit the strong points of an electric car, and to continue their gradual shift to being seen more as an energy company.
     
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  11. Jim R

    Jim R Member

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    I read Howard Clark's piece in the reference above. I didn't find it to be a convincing argument. I found he took side trips that were not supporting the argument. He also includes this, which I find detracts from the points: "Clark is among those willing to take his chances. He says..." WTF!! You want to bolster your argument with this?? Kinda support CR's take on the situation.

    I wasn't moved enough to watch the video.

    OTOH, the OP (XKWIZIT) DOES in my opinion make a compelling argument that should be sent to CR. He states the facts and leads the reader to consider the situation clearly and concisely. Nice work, OP.
     
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  12. scottf200

    scottf200 Active Member

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    That is not true.

    Do this search as Mobileye is doing crowd sourced maps with GM, VW, Nissan, etc, etc.

    crowd sourced maps mobileye - Google Search
     
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  13. xkwizit

    xkwizit Member

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    That's true that MobilEye is signing up with several auto manufacturers to crowd source data collection, it's not yet offered in any vehicles. It's the same concept Tesla is using for collecting autopilot data.
     
  14. S4WRXTTCS

    S4WRXTTCS Active Member

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    The key take away was "sold today"

    Even Tesla is offering to share the data they collected. From what I've read they actually offered the data to the NHTSA.

    I do strongly believe continuous fleet learning among all makes/model is needed. Where there is an actual official dataset for precise road mapping information. It's nice to see things starting to go in that direction. It's not surprising that Mobile is going to offer it since its the chip that Tesla uses.
     
  15. mkjayakumar

    mkjayakumar Active Member

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    Great post, xkwzit.

    Every nimrod in this forum - you know who you are and I have called out your names often - CR, and others should read his post.

    As I have said earlier many times: Those that have been driving with AP for a reasonable length of time, understand its strengths and LOVE it.

    It is those that have not owned a Tesla and have no intention of buying one, are the ones doing the fear mongering. They should just shut up and listen to those who have been driving for sometime now
     
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  16. Model X 460

    Model X 460 Member

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    do these CR editors diving on the rd can guarantee they pay 100% attention on the rd 100% of the time ? no phone, no change radio channel,, change ac temperature, look the navigation,, rd signs ....? AP can let you do these split seconds stuff lot more safer...!
     
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  17. llngoc

    llngoc Member

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    Completely agreed, I found myself setting Autopilot to 65 mph on my regular 25 miles commute route on an Interstate highway and let the car take over. I would just follow the traffic and slows down as the car in front of me slowing down. Instead of speeding up and trying to weave in and out of traffic which are:

    1. Riskier behavior
    2. Create more traffic jam

    I am doing this because now I do not feel the need to "do something" about the traffic and also want to get better mileage out of the car. We all know that speeding an extra 10-15 mph on on a trip like this will not likely to get you to your destination significantly faster but just make you think you are there sooner. With AP, it completely takes that urge out of me.
     
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  18. mkjayakumar

    mkjayakumar Active Member

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    It is very relaxing and much less stressful.

    It is like going in a Cab and you don't tell the driver to keep switching lanes, but let him do the driving. Very similar.
     
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  19. miemrich

    miemrich Member

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    The new Mercedes E-Class includes the optional Street Pilot which maintains and changes the lane. I watched a video review and it seems to work great. But I'm not sure if it is offered in the United States at this time. Could be restricted to Germany only. There are also rumors about Over The Air updates for this model.
     
  20. EVie'sDad

    EVie'sDad Member

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    Excellent retort! One more, make the roads safer by properly striping lanes and roadway edges and posting signage and fixing bad spots or potholes.
     
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