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Autopilot Questions, Experiences, Problems, Concerns

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by yobigd20, Oct 10, 2014.

  1. yobigd20

    yobigd20 Well-Known Member

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    Creating this thread to track Questions, Experiences, Problems, & Concerns with relation to the Autopilot feature. As nobody has it yet, this thread will be a placeholder for 'experiences' until people start driving around using these features.

    This includes anything related to
    • self-parking/valet'ing,
    • adaptive cruise control,
    • lane holding,
    • lane changing,
    • speed limit sign handling,
    • collision avoidance,
    • stopping,
    • etc.

    The biggest questions I have are:

    1) how is the system going to handle construction zones when the lines get all screwed up and lanes suddenly change or even disappear completely with no lines? traffic around you is usually following a pattern but how is the car going to handle not screwing that up and deciding to drive straight instead? i would think there's potential for the system to accidently cut someone off and they'll smash into you.


    2) how is the auto-parking/self-valeting (aka "drive up to where you are waiting for it") going to handle weird situations ? my understanding is that the car will handle the capability to 'pick you up' in a garage or something like that. but what if the car enters a lane marked as one-way or if theres a cop directing traffic and the car decides to ignore the cop's direction and drive ahead instead? that goes for 'autopilot' mode too on roads...could be an accident ahead with cops telling you to turn but the car instead just keeps driving straight... "i'm sorry occiffer, but my car didn't like you standing there directing traffic so it decided to drive around you instead".


    3) how's the car going to pick you up when it's plugged in? is it going to unplug itself ? (obviously not...)


    4) if it's going to read speed limit signs and adapt to speed limits, you'll cause some serious delays and congestion and probably have people smash into the back of you if you're driving on the New Jersey Turnpike at 65mph.


    5) collision avoidance. i'd be worried about the self parking/valeting features and something like a kid tripping in front or behind your car into a spot where the sensors are blind... who gets sued there? you? or tesla? what happens when these systems blip and an accident happens? is tesla liable for these systems? i'd be worried about Tesla's liability with regards to these systems (could bankrupt the company if lives are lost?)


    6) are the systems responsive enough to stop the car in time if someone slams their brakes on or if someone runs out in front of the car suddenly? (aka the latter if someone is not in sight in front of a van and runs in front if your car, the car can only brake so fast....it's inevitable someone is going to get hit).


    7) what is the minimum object size for lane changing to work without hitting something? i would assume it would detect someone on a bike or motorcycle, but what about a dog or cat or gecko?


    8) what happens when someone spraypaints 125mph on a 25mph sign in a neighborhood?


    9) how does collision avoidance work when someone throws a basketball at you? is it going to swerve? what if a truck kicks up a piece of wood or better yet what if an oncoming truck ejects a tire coming right at you? is the car just going to 'stop and wait to get hit?'


    10) how does self-parking work during the fall when the curb is covered with piles of leaves? is it going to 'avoid the leaves' and leave you hanging out into the street to get clipped? what about snow?


    11) how does all of the above work in really extreme weather conditions? what happens when golf ball sized hail starts reigning hell all around you?


    12) what happens when a tornado is bearing down dead ahead of you on the highway ? is the autopilot going to auto-pilot-me straight through it?


    i can probably think of a bunch more silly but still relevant situations that may cause the systems to go haywire....

    so once people start driving around with these features and if something goes haywire, please post your experiences....
     
  2. texex91

    texex91 Banned

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    Someone is 'thinking' too much...
     
  3. RavynArcadia

    RavynArcadia P38188

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    Actually those are pretty good questions.
     
  4. ElSupreme

    ElSupreme Model S 03182

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    #4 ElSupreme, Oct 10, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2016

    I think a lot of these 'no driver in the car' things are a long way off. And would require some legal limited liability laws.

    As for some of the other questions. High speed to dead stop is already working great.



    1) Construction zones will probably always be a problem. But sign recognition and alerting and slowing could probably solve this problem in the near term.
    4) Obeying the speed limits. That is a tricky one. Probably be a setting with the 'driver' being responsible for such actions. Again limited liability legislation would help here.
    7) I wonder about small object recognition, and pot holes, as a big question mark. My guess is the car plows over some stuff you would avoid, and stops for stuff you would plow over. And slowly over time gets better and better. But generally does'n run down dogs and children.
    8) Geodata will prevent gross speed limit errors.
    9) Like 7, it doesn't do what you would do in all situations. But doesn't make major mistakes. Over time this slowly gets better. And autopilot on surface streets is a long way away.
    10) It probably wont work too well with 'soft' obstacles.
    11) Probably won't change autopilot at all. Easy noise to ignore. It might be programmed to be 'safer' in the rain.
    12) Plow dead ahead. You need to pay some attention. Maybe after a couple of decades of autopilot improvements, and much better tornado modeling this might be avoidable.
     
  5. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    Random thought... Public service vehicles (police/ambulance/fire) can have light transmitters that trigger traffic signals to change in their favor (so they get to the emergency sooner.)
    Perhaps those transmitters could also command others cars to automatically pull over to the side of the road? Or maybe the car should do that when it hears a nearby siren?

    I am sure some people would dislike such a "feature", but if you are the one hoping the emergency crew gets to you soon, you could appreciate that inattentive drivers would be helped to do the right thing.
     
  6. omarsultan

    omarsultan Active Member

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    Let me see what I can answer based on what Elon said last night:

    The ultrasonic sensors can detect soft objects like kids and dogs - I think in this scenario the car would stop since there is a person standing in front of it

    Elon mentioned some sort of autonomous plug/unplug but also cautioned this was the first time the engineers were hearing about this


    The new sensors are supposed to provide 360 coverage, so no blind spot, unless you meant vertical blind spot

    Elon called out the new electro-mechanical brakes are been much more responsive than traditional hydraulic brakes

    The fwd facing radar is supposed to work through rain, snow, "sand" (?), etc, so it seems we have rainstorms, snowstorms and sandstorms covered.
     
  7. green1

    green1 Active Member

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    Elon has specifically stated that this is NOT self driving, it is "auto-pilot". You can't take a nap while the car is driving. you still have to pay attention. it's just a better cruise control, nothing more.


    This feature is only available on private property and not public roads. there should be no cop directing traffic, and no one way streets to worry about between your garage and your doorstep on private property.

    It won't. Elon hinted at a future automated plugging/unplugging setup, but admitted he'd never told the engineers about it...

    nothing announced for certain yet, however other posters have speculated that because you can set a tolerance level for the speed warnings, you'll be able to do the same for speed settings. I can't imagine this isn't something they've thought of.

    Elon emphasized the capabilities of the ultrasonic detectors at identifying that kid or what not. In fact you can be pretty certain that this will be safer than a human driver pretty much every time. As for who's liability... this is one of the reasons it's not available on public roads yet. Not until there's a legal framework in place.

    The systems are way more responsive than any human being is physically capable of being.

    not yet stated, however dogs were specifically mentioned as being detectable. best guess, smaller than you would see if you were driving by yourself.

    Unless it looks like an official speed limit sign, the car won't be tricked. If it does look like an official speed limit sign... well... Elon has specifically stated that this is NOT self driving, it is "auto-pilot". You can't take a nap while the car is driving. you still have to pay attention. it's just a better cruise control, nothing more.

    nobody knows yet. best guess, in both of those cases it will swerve if it is safe to do so, and brake hard if it is not. In the vast majority of cases it will avoid the incident far better than any human driver would be capable of.

    nobody knows. but as self parking only works on private property, and not public roadways, there should be little risk of getting clipped.

    The radar is supposed to be able to see through all sorts of weather conditions that humans can not. this will help with auto-braking and blind spot collision avoidance. however, as with several other things, the most important thing to remember is Elon has specifically stated that this is NOT self driving, it is "auto-pilot". You can't take a nap while the car is driving. you still have to pay attention. it's just a better cruise control, nothing more.

    well... Elon has specifically stated that this is NOT self driving, it is "auto-pilot". You can't take a nap while the car is driving. you still have to pay attention. it's just a better cruise control, nothing more.


    I'll leave you with the most important point: Elon has specifically stated that this is NOT self driving, it is "auto-pilot". You can't take a nap while the car is driving. you still have to pay attention. it's just a better cruise control, nothing more.
     
  8. Larry Hutchinson

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    And what happens if a paper bag or tumbleweed blows across the road? The ultrasonic system, I suspect, would not be able to distinguish such things from a dog or child and would slam on the brakes resulting in a rear-end collision.
     
  9. invisik

    invisik Member

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    Many emergency vehicles have automatically ejecting power sockets so the driver doesn't have to manually unplug (or remember to unplug) the cord when trying to get to an emergency.

    http://www.kussmaul.com/091-159-30-250.html

    Maybe some variation of this could work to self-unplug.

    -m
     
  10. Cottonwood

    Cottonwood Roadster#433, Model S#S37

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    Will Tesla have any liability (or perhaps pay out of good will) if the parallel, auto-park auto-pilot rubs those nice 21's on the curb or hits another car in the process?

    Cameras are there to record the events...
     
  11. physicsfita

    physicsfita Member

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    I would sincerely hope the programmers would have done sanity checks against the fact that it is higher than the highest speed limits in the US and against the fact that it is five times the most recent speed limit stored in the GPS database.
     
  12. aronth5

    aronth5 Long Time Follower

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    If you just think of this as driver assist and not autonomous driving many of these examples are easily handled by the driver taking over.
     
  13. yobigd20

    yobigd20 Well-Known Member

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    #13 yobigd20, Oct 13, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 13, 2014
    Let me tell you, coming straight from a software engineer myself, **** like this is DEFINITELY POSSIBLE. I've come across some craZzyyy software bugs in the last 10 years. Here's just one example: some software engineer left out the "training mode" for an offboard countermeasure system on our next generation navy littoral combat ships. That meant that while the ship was docked and if the crew set their stations to "training mode" and started training on the systems, if they got to the part where they simulated the firing of the offboard countermeasure system it would actually fire the real countermeasures off the side of the ship while it was docked at port. LOL. my job there was to fix this and add the training mode....
     
  14. DJung

    DJung Member

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    As Elon mentioned before, thats the difference between Autopilot and Autonomous Driving. Autopilot requires a driver'a attention while the vehicle is in motion. It's supposed to help the driver, not replace them. The driver always has the final say on what the car does and can override the autopilot systems, just like on an aircraft. If the vehicle starts to accelerate to 125 mph for whatever reason in a school zone, the driver better be paying attention and disengage cruise control. It would be the driver's fault for any injuries or speeding tickets.
     
  15. brkaus

    brkaus Member

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    Any idea how the system will feel? In actual use, I'm thinking it would be something along the lines of driving down a road with groves or a slight mis-alignment pull. Basically you still keep your hands fully on the steering wheel and the car "drifts" or "pulls" along keeping centered in the road?

    Since your hands are still on the wheel, your fully in control. Much like a long straight section.
     
  16. donv

    donv Member

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    I think the Mercedes system is kind of like that. With the Tesla system, it appears to be designed for hands-off operation.

     
  17. green1

    green1 Active Member

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    In the demos they removed their hands from the wheel, and that makes sense, you shouldn't fight the system, but you should be ready to take over at any time.
     
  18. PBP

    PBP Member

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    I can see that a lot of new Tesla's including the new hardware Again will be testers for Tesla paying for the Development. This thread illustrates the noumerous problems still to come. I guess that this will result in a new Tesla 12 months later capable of doing what Elon has promised right now!
     
  19. green1

    green1 Active Member

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    Not necessarily. There's nothing that Elon has promised that would require any new hardware. What needs new hardware is the extensions to what he promised that everyone thinks are inevitable.
    The hardware is plenty to follow traffic on the freeway, read signs, follow lane markings, brake as needed, and adjust speed. The hardware is also enough to change lanes as long as the human occupant has determined it is safe to do so and asks the car to do it (nowhere has Elon promised that the car could change lanes on it's own, it does so only in response to a request from the driver)
    The hardware is also enough to park and recall on private property where you aren't worried about high speed cross traffic.

    The hardware is not enough to handle cross traffic at intersections, or change lanes without user input, but neither of these are features Elon has promised for this hardware.

    That said, yes, I anticipate future improvements with new and better hardware, but I would have said the same at any point in history where I was asked, and I don't expect a change in that answer any time soon.
     
  20. brkaus

    brkaus Member

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    It wasn't clear to me if that was for dramatic effect- "look ma, no hands" - or it was the intended use.

    It seems to me that keeping your hands on your lap, armrests, etc would add significant time to react. That, perhaps, would put liability back on Tesla.
     

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