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Autopilot Questions

I’ve only had my Tesla for 5 days now, so autopilot is a new thing for me. I drove from NJ into NYC and hit a lot of traffic on the highway. Autopilot made the stop and go traffic a lot easier to take. My old car had cruise control, which is useless in stop and go traffic. I’ve tried autopilot on the non-highway backroads and it doesn’t seem to do as well. Today I was driving along and there was some people walking on the shoulder, there was no sidewalk along this stretch of road. As I got closer, I crossed the double yellow line to give the pedestrians plenty of room, but then AP basically slammed on the brakes, which I didn’t expect.

  1. So my first question is, should I only be using AP on the highway?
  2. Another problem I have is it keeps saying to “apply slight steering pressure” to the steering wheel, but I often end up steering too much and disengaging the AP. Are there any tricks to get this right so I don’t accidentally disengage the AP?
  3. I also notice that AP freaks out when cars are trying to merge into my lane. It will stop, when just slowing down a bit would have been more appropriate. Are there any tricks to handling this car merging situation?
 

2101Guy

Active Member
Jan 6, 2020
3,665
5,803
USA
I’ve only had my Tesla for 5 days now, so autopilot is a new thing for me. I drove from NJ into NYC and hit a lot of traffic on the highway. Autopilot made the stop and go traffic a lot easier to take. My old car had cruise control, which is useless in stop and go traffic. I’ve tried autopilot on the non-highway backroads and it doesn’t seem to do as well. Today I was driving along and there was some people walking on the shoulder, there was no sidewalk along this stretch of road. As I got closer, I crossed the double yellow line to give the pedestrians plenty of room, but then AP basically slammed on the brakes, which I didn’t expect.

  1. So my first question is, should I only be using AP on the highway?
  2. Another problem I have is it keeps saying to “apply slight steering pressure” to the steering wheel, but I often end up steering too much and disengaging the AP. Are there any tricks to get this right so I don’t accidentally disengage the AP?
  3. I also notice that AP freaks out when cars are trying to merge into my lane. It will stop, when just slowing down a bit would have been more appropriate. Are there any tricks to handling this car merging situation?
Tesla doesn’t require you to touch or hold the steering wheel itself to prevent the nags. They program the software to allow you to just adjust your stereo volume up or down one notch via the volume knob on your steering wheel or adjust your speed 1 mile an hour up or down via the steering wheel knob as well.

If you have a pre-2021 model s (with round wheel not yoke), there are these devices (which are 100% legal to purchase, sell, and use) which prevent the steering nags altogether.


However it’s not popular to mention those on this site. In fact, the popular thing to do would be to reply to this post and say that you would never buy one of those, while you purchased one discreetly on the side.

Also, AP and FSD are officially labeled as beta. They have been beta for about 10 years now. Beta means “ expect the car to do the worst thing possible at the worst possible time” . That’s a direct quote from the CEO of the company.
 
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Autopilot works best on open highways and long distance travel. On smaller roads, with many people, bicycles, on and off ramps and merging traffic, taking over manually is better. You will know instintively when it is best for you to take over, as your car will not be doing what you would do in those circumstances.
Autopilot works better in middle lanes than right next to barriers or where there is a lot of merging traffic in the far right lane.
 
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DayTrippin

Active Member
Supporting Member
Apr 30, 2021
1,644
1,918
Park Cities, TX
Yes, talking about those devices is bad. Not to mention the potential liability if you were in an accident and they found one of those attached to the wheel. Assuming it didn't come off in the crash.

OTOH - some experimentation on the way to working out I found that between a 1-2 lb ankle weight casually draped over the wheel accomplished the same thing. As soon as you turn it falls off (assuming you don't close completely which wouldn't be a good idea anyway).
 
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EVRider-FL

Active Member
Aug 18, 2015
2,145
1,241
South Florida
I don’t actually mind resting my hand on the steering wheel, but apparently that’s not enough. So I don’t understand how they want you to apply steering motion and not disengage the autopilot. Seems like a dumb thing to me.
You just need to give the wheel a slight tug. You'll get the hang of it after a while. What's dumb is using weights or some other device to defeat the prompt -- it's there for a reason.
 

JulienW

Active Member
Jul 7, 2018
3,722
5,256
Atlanta
They are looking for pressure, not motion. That is what a counter balance weight works.
Actually it needs to have torque applied. There are no pressure or capacitance sensors. Weights work (though they should NEVER be used) because the steering wheel is making slight turning corrections and the weight torques against the steering wheel motion.
 
I don’t actually mind resting my hand on the steering wheel, but apparently that’s not enough. So I don’t understand how they want you to apply steering motion and not disengage the autopilot. Seems like a dumb thing to me.
I think they have a "strain gauge" on the steering column to sense the slight torque increase generated against what the system is applying on the steering when the hand is on the wheel. They might also be pulseing slightly the steering on different directionnal rotation to sense the slight torque increase while traveling on straight road.
 

2101Guy

Active Member
Jan 6, 2020
3,665
5,803
USA
Yes, talking about those devices is bad. Not to mention the potential liability if you were in an accident and they found one of those attached to the wheel.
In every state in the USA, Assuming you, the Tesla driver were at fault? The device isn’t a factor. You the driver would be found 100% at fault for the collision. Device or no device.
 

TresLA

Member
Jul 15, 2018
406
419
L.A.
I don’t actually mind resting my hand on the steering wheel, but apparently that’s not enough. So I don’t understand how they want you to apply steering motion and not disengage the autopilot. Seems like a dumb thing to me.
This amount of pressure should come with experience. Like many others, I’d strongly suggest against using any weight/defeat device. I rest my hand on the steering wheel and rarely have any accidental AP cancellation issue.

As for your other questions, AP is fine to use on surface streets, but you have to learn in what situations it works best and when it doesn’t.

The quote someone made about the car doing the wrong thing at the worst time was for FSD beta, not AP. FSD beta does much better at not freaking out when cars cut across/in front of you, and with pedestrians/cyclists on the edge of the road. But those “skills” haven’t come to production AP yet.
 

DayTrippin

Active Member
Supporting Member
Apr 30, 2021
1,644
1,918
Park Cities, TX
One thing I learned from my Y, is assume AP is always trying to kill you. I thought people were joking about it first until I lived through a few experiences myself where if my hands weren't on the wheel when AP decided to make a rather sever course correction, I definitely would have been in an accident. Two of them would have been very severe.

My model 3 has almost been the poster child for how good it can be. After the Y though, I pretty much never take my hands off the wheel. About the only place I feel I can sort of relax a bit is on the highway when no vehicles are around. It still struggles a lot when you have the lane widening, or when you have a lane merging, then it tries to (sometimes very quickly) split the difference. So it might move over at least a half a lane or more.
 
You just need to give the wheel a slight tug. You'll get the hang of it after a while. What's dumb is using weights or some other device to defeat the prompt -- it's there for a reason.
Actually the prompts are there to satisfy haters, jealous people and corrupt NHTSA officials that want to hold back Tesla and also they used the excuse that they were trying to stop the idiots that were misusing the features. The prompts were many minutes apart in AP1, you could go for quite a while without touching anything.
 
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MRuth85

OD 8/30/22 DD 2/26/22 MYLR7 W/W 19"
May 11, 2018
28
38
Rockford
Actually the prompts are there to satisfy haters, jealous people and corrupt NHTSA officials that want to hold back Tesla and also they used the excuse that they were trying to stop the idiots that were misusing the features. The prompts were many minutes apart in AP1, you could go for quite a while without touching anything.
2022 MY. I think a recent update changed the rate AP asks for the wiggle. It used to be every minute or so but now every ~30 seconds. Which is distracting as hell. I barely use anymore.
 
My experiences with AP on a -6 lane divided highway ;interstate), light traffic: wires fir stretches then disengages multiple times without any apparent reason; lane change works sometimes. Sometimes when changing from the fast lane to the slow lane, it seems to go too far towards the shoulder so when I correct, I get lane departure warnings 😅. Then Auto steer has a “System error”, (will not re-engage) then cruise control isn’t available. Why anyone would buy EAP or FSD is beyond me.
Autopilot works best on open highways and long distance travel. On smaller roads, with many people, bicycles, on and off ramps and merging traffic, taking over manually is better. You will know instintively when it is best for you to take over, as your car will not be doing what you would do in those circumstances.
Autopilot works better in middle lanes than right next to barriers or where there is a lot of merging traffic in the far right lane.
AP
 
My experiences with AP on a -6 lane divided highway ;interstate), light traffic: wires fir stretches then disengages multiple times without any apparent reason; lane change works sometimes. Sometimes when changing from the fast lane to the slow lane, it seems to go too far towards the shoulder so when I correct, I get lane departure warnings 😅. Then Auto steer has a “System error”, (will not re-engage) then cruise control isn’t available. Why anyone would buy EAP or FSD is beyond me.

AP
Interesting, though not sure what "wires fir stretches" means.

BTW, since claim Dallas in your profile: I drove 30 miles on Bush Turnpike today on NOA. Worked like a champ with great lane changes, good lane centering, no disconnects, perfect merges on and off the highway, no phantom braking. Good drive out and back along same route. I use auto lane change. 2021 M3LR.

It's disconcerting how much variation there is in performance between cars.
 
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Interesting, though not sure what "wires fir stretches" means.

BTW, since claim Dallas in your profile: I drove 30 miles on Bush Turnpike today on NOA. Worked like a champ with great lane changes, good lane centering, no disconnects, perfect merges on and off the highway, no phantom braking. Good drive out and back along same route. I use auto lane change. 2021 M3LR.

It's disconcerting how much variation there is in performance between cars.
This was on I-45 between Houston and Dallas. 2022 MY LR
 

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