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Autopilot scares the crap out of me!

2021 M3 LR with no radar running software version 2021.32.21, and autopilot is all but worthless. Admittedly, on city streets with lots of traffic, where it was probably calibrated in California busy rush hour traffic and where there is lots of sensory input, it does pretty well. But leave the city for more rural roads and the frequent, aggressive ghost braking makes it completely unusable. Driving from Moab to Salt Lake City on long straight stretches this weekend and about every 2 miles it would quickly decelerate from 75 to 35. Sometimes there was a truck coming the other direction, in its lane, not over the line, and posing no threat. But sometimes there was absolutely nothing! This was basically in the middle of the desert. I've had this issue on freeways in Utah, Idaho and Oregon as well. If the road is rolly-polly (even with biggish, smooth hills) and there is little or no other traffic, Autopilot completely freaks out when it gets to the crest of a hill and cannot see over the other side, suddenly slamming on the brakes and scaring the crap out of me and my wife. Note to Tesla engineers: THE EARTH IS NOT FLAT. This happens both with autosteer, which I don't use very often, and with me steering. It was an issue with 2021.4.21.3 and I was hoping it would get fixed with 2021.32, but it's no better. I really wish that the Tesla just had plain old vanilla cruise control, even non-traffic aware -- just set the speed and the car maintains that and I'll take responsibility for not rear-ending the guy in front of me. The 2010 Mazda 3 that the Tesla replaced had "dumb" cruise control like that, and I would take that reliability over the buggy-phantom-brake-I'm-going-to-need-more-Tide-pods-to-clean-my-soiled-underwear Autopilot. I really like a lot of things about the Tesla, but not being able to use cruise control/AP on long road trips is a huge disappointment. My fear is that it's going to unexpectedly brake hard with someone behind me and I'll get rear-ended. So, I'm going to quit trying to use it. Does anyone else with a non-radar 2021 M3 or MY have this issue? Edit: I paid the $200 for a month of FSD to see if it works any better with that, but it behaves exactly the same.
Same thing happened to me on the freeway in CA! A truck was on the side of me and I went from 65mph to about 25 in 1 second! Threw my back out and scared me so much I don’t want to use it anymore. Thank god no one was behind me!! No was was in front of me either. I keep reading trucks set it off :/
 

Fernand

Active Member
Mar 22, 2019
1,622
1,797
Northern california
I don't know why some people have more of these issues. Never had mad braking for 2 years. Now with the pure vision and the FSD Beta it's more common, but if you're attuned to the machine it's usually easy to deal with. If you keep all your cameras wiped clean and it's still decelerating, learn where it happens, and be ready to override it.

First of all, never trust it 100%, don't sit back and wait for proof of failure. You have it, you paid for it, so there's no point in grading it. Stay on top of it, learn its limits, and it's a helpful assist system. I use no-confirmation Mad Max lane changes in NOA, and always use NOA on the freeways, but I always check my surroundings in the screen AND mirrors. Another thing is to be ready to tap-up out of autopilot for a bit where you can do better. Nothing wrong with that.

Keep your foot by/on the accelerator (and brake). This is especially necessary in "FSD Beta" on the streets, that's a wild one for sure :eek: , and pushing through with the accelerator is often needed at this stage. Of course it's all scary at first. It's a very different way to drive. In early 2019 the system was primitive. I was terrified but determined to squeeze my money's worth out what it could do. That attitude helped a lot :oops: . I think if I had an hour or two with people who hate it, I could show you. It's like actively riding a horse, and not at all like sitting in a buggy. It's hard to explain, but if you make the (significant) effort to get to know it, it's very useful, because most of the time it's handling the chores just fine.
 
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Twiglett

Single pedal driver
Oct 3, 2014
3,140
3,299
Austin
main thing is that you have vision based AP.
I've been happily driving radar AP and have been really impressed with it.
Now I'm on the FSD beta which doesn't use the radar any longer - its back to the early 2018 release of AP with crazy slowdowns and uncomfortable driving experience.
I'm sure it will improve but its a shock to the system experiencing such a dramatic loss of functionally.
 

tivoboy

Active Member
Jun 12, 2018
2,028
4,625
palo alto, ca
main thing is that you have vision based AP.
I've been happily driving radar AP and have been really impressed with it.
Now I'm on the FSD beta which doesn't use the radar any longer - its back to the early 2018 release of AP with crazy slowdowns and uncomfortable driving experience.
I'm sure it will improve but its a shock to the system experiencing such a dramatic loss of functionally.
FSD beta still uses the radar and sensors on the highway (or above a certain speed I beleive) so that highway experience shouldn’t be too much different.. phantom braking comes and goes with builds, but it shouldn’t be the vision foundation that is influencing it on the highways.
 
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Reactions: hellocar

Twiglett

Single pedal driver
Oct 3, 2014
3,140
3,299
Austin
FSD beta still uses the radar and sensors on the highway (or above a certain speed I beleive) so that highway experience shouldn’t be too much different.. phantom braking comes and goes with builds, but it shouldn’t be the vision foundation that is influencing it on the highways.
That isn't what it says in the email from Tesla which says its now running Tesla Vision along with all the limits of that.
Above 65mph speed limit is definitely old stack AP but that doesn't imply that its still using radar. If it was then it wouldn't have the temporary 80mph limit of vision cars.
[edited to add "temporary" to the 80mph limit :) ]
 
Last edited:

Fernand

Active Member
Mar 22, 2019
1,622
1,797
Northern california
I suppose the last thing the development teams should be spending precious time on is explaining all the software changes to the peasants, but some of us would appreciate more information. It would impart more positive sense of belonging, if nothing else.

It might also help in identifying anomalies that we should promptly e-mail about, as opposed to the ones to just ruminate on.

I'm evidently not alone in feeling that the elimination of Radar was never adequately explained. I paid for a car with N sensors and now I'm driving a car with N-1 sensors. I'm being told that this ADDS ... limitations (thank you for the honesty). I can understand the problems in reconciling data sources, but bats manage OK, and I'm not feeling any safer for it. What's next? Do y'all really need stereo on the radio ;) :p ?

It's very hard to say, as the character of freeway NOA already kept periodically changing before FSDbeta, but it doesn't feel like the two modes are entirely separate. It's like some behaviors (including mo' lane change game-of-chicken assertiveness) have "leaked" over from :cool: The Street :cool: .

But, seriously, which of the options and settings affect both modes? How separate are Freeway and Street NOA stacks? When/how are all the sensors used? What is handled by old/new code? This peasant is grateful but would love to know more.
 

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