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Autopilot Utility

I keep seeing all these glowing reviews of autopilot and how it reduces fatigue on long trips, and honestly I don't understand it. Maybe there's something I don't understand.

For me, I have to keep my hands on the wheel and make some sort of tangible input every ten seconds or so. One problem is I can't go more than 2 or 3 minutes and my 'tangible input' is too hard and it kicks autopilot off. But ignoring that, if I have to pay attention to what it's doing, and make some sort of intervention every ten seconds, it's more of a pain to ride herd on it than simply driving myself.

(One thing I'll say is I won't just cruise in the left lane, that's just wrong.)

Am I missing something? How do people go hours or whatever it is without changing lanes or over-jiggling the wheel or whatever?

Separate question, if you buy FSD or enhanced autopilot (not talking beta) does it relieve you of having to make a tangible input every ten seconds? Or do you still have to keep jiggling the wheel to let it know you're there?
 
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So, try this.

Just let your hand hang on the side of the wheel or yoke in a comfortable position but enough to put a small amount of torque on the wheel.

Often that means letting your elbow rest on the door cushion or center panel with your hand draped over the bottom horizontal element of the yoke or wheel.

As long as the weight of your hand provides a small amount of torque on the side of the wheel, you will never see a notification.

This was the rationale for the (IMO rightfully) much maligned “Autopilot Buddy.” It was just a small weight that attaches to the side of the wheel in an ergonomic fashion. The weight provided enough torque to prevent bugs from autopilot. Clearly it was encouraging hands off which is a no-no. There were even jokes about strapping an orange to the side of the wheel.

When you let the weight of your hand dangle on the side of the wheel, you still need to pay attention and be ready to take over at a moments notice. You are still the driver. But you can count on certain things. Such as, autopilot does a good job keeping you in lane. It will not ram into a car in front of you. You are not going to veer into the rumble strip etc. it relieves you of certain burdens. To change lanes to a faster lane, for example if you come upon a car traveling slower than your set speed, you can just press the lane change button and the car will execute the lane change when safe.

Personally I become a little *more* connected to the flow of traffic around me because I am not having to expend as much mental energy constantly course and speed correcting the vehicle subconsciously.
 
One problem is I can't go more than 2 or 3 minutes and my 'tangible input' is too hard and it kicks autopilot off.
I get around this by using the volume control wheel to let it know I'm paying attention.

Am I missing something? How do people go hours or whatever it is without changing lanes or over-jiggling the wheel or whatever?
I use AP for about 80% of my driving in a small rural New Mexico town. Yes, I have to take over to pass, to turn onto a different street/road, at stop signs, and if I'm the first one at a traffic light. But I still love it. I tried going a week without it and I sorely missed it. It's really great in traffic "downtown".

There were several things I learned to make using it easier.

1) Using the volume control like I mentioned above.

2) I use light upward pressure on the right stalk to disengage AP and TACC. This frequently happens around the same time I'm using the left stalk to signal a turn.

3) Pressing the on-screen speedometer when AP is engaged will set the max speed to the current speed.

I'm mostly driving the same roads over and over. I learned how to mesh with AP, when to use it and when not, where it screws up, etc. like mtbwalt said, it takes care of the drudge work so I can pay more attention to what is going on around me.

Kyle Conner from Out of Spec Motoring also gives AP rave reviews. He does a ton of driving and says AP makes highway driving so much easier. He has reviewed almost all the other autopilot systems and says Tesla's is far superior.

It's probably not for everybody but I encourage you to give it a chance and try to figure out how to make it work for you most effectively.
 
...For me, I have to keep my hands on the wheel and make some sort of tangible input every ten seconds or so. One problem is I can't go more than 2 or 3 minutes and my 'tangible input' is too hard and it kicks autopilot off. But ignoring that, if I have to pay attention to what it's doing, and make some sort of intervention every ten seconds, it's more of a pain to ride herd on it than simply driving myself.
I don't really know what to suggest, but I find AP to be very relaxing. I keep my hands lightly on the wheel - where else would I put them anyway - and it very rarely needs to remind me to apply some force to the wheel, maybe I see that message once per week. I keep a very light grip on the steering wheel and I like feeling it move as Tesla drives, as that gives me some idea of what the car is 'thinking'. Just try to find a comfortable grip that gives some very light resistance to Tesla's movement of the steering wheel.
 
Last edited:

daahlberg

2022 Model Y LR
Dec 7, 2021
87
82
Austin, TX
Agree with most of the comments that it can make driving generally less stressful minus one glaring issue, phantom braking. Went on a road trip last weekend and the car phantom braked at least 10 times in which I learned I had to immediately push the accelerator pedal to make the car stop from slamming on the brakes harder. I felt like I had to constantly monitor the system and was waiting for the cameras to see a large black spot on the road or register a false positive object. I still think the vision only system was a huge mistake by Tesla and still needs a lot of refinement. Running the latest software.
 
I like autopilot for those long stretches of highway driving. What I really dislike is that changing lanes disables it and then I have to re-enable it. It would be perfect if I could signal to change lanes, manually change lanes and have AP re-enable when the lane change is complete. The software is totally capable of doing this but I understand that this would chip away into the EAP and FSD sales so it will never happen.

I had a loaner with non-beta FSD last week and was able to try out the auto lane changing and it was OK but I'd prefer to to be able to do it myself - sometimes halfway through a lane change it would stop and return me back to the lane I was leaving. This might be because I have not figured out all the idiosyncrasies of EAP/FSD in the short time I had it but it did absolutely convince me that 6k EAP and 12k FSD (as of Q3 2022) is totally not worth it for my use cases here in NH. I might be convinced to spend 3k on EAP if I had to sit in traffic commuting every day or if I was doing a lot of highway trips.
 

TwelveVoltMan

He'll make sparks fly round your head
May 14, 2021
191
248
Raleigh, NC
I like autopilot for those long stretches of highway driving. What I really dislike is that changing lanes disables it and then I have to re-enable it. It would be perfect if I could signal to change lanes, manually change lanes and have AP re-enable when the lane change is complete. The software is totally capable of doing this but I understand that this would chip away into the EAP and FSD sales so it will never happen.

I had a loaner with non-beta FSD last week and was able to try out the auto lane changing and it was OK but I'd prefer to to be able to do it myself - sometimes halfway through a lane change it would stop and return me back to the lane I was leaving. This might be because I have not figured out all the idiosyncrasies of EAP/FSD in the short time I had it but it did absolutely convince me that 6k EAP and 12k FSD (as of Q3 2022) is totally not worth it for my use cases here in NH. I might be convinced to spend 3k on EAP if I had to sit in traffic commuting every day or if I was doing a lot of highway trips.
Check out S3XY buttons. A button configured to "start autopilot" attached behind the steering wheel at 9 o'clock is perfect for resuming autopilot.
 
When I use autopilot, I usually have one of my elbows resting on the center or door armrest and lightly hold the steering wheel with that hand so it naturally pulls down on it. It keeps enough torque on the steering wheel so I almost never get the prompt to hold it. About the only times I would get that prompt is when I forget and put the other hand on the wheel so it counterbalances the torque from the hand already holding the wheel.
 
Autopilot encourages / requires one handed driving to avoid the nags unless you want to use one of the various "AP Buddy" products available.

AP buddies are of course a "use at your own risk" items... they got a really bad reputation because people trust AP way too much, and would use one of these items while sleeping, or reading a book, or watching a movie on their phone and then crash into something because they were not prepared to immediately take control like they should when using auto pilot.

Keith
 
Check out S3XY buttons. A button configured to "start autopilot" attached behind the steering wheel at 9 o'clock is perfect for resuming autopilot.
Yeah that is a solution that I have checked out before. If I used it frequently I'd probably consider it but since i use AP so infrequently right now it doesn't really matter.

More than anything I know they CAN (easily) do it but choose not to, that is what I dislike.
 
Are two quick down strokes on the shifter, not even full down, just half downs (after your lane change) really too much work? Does a button really simplify it that much?

Yup. It is not needed... but it is so much better! You would not believe it until you try it. My AP button mounted on the back of the left hand steering wheel spoke is a wonderful thing.

Keith <---- Abstract Ocean fanboiiiiii
 
Are two quick down strokes on the shifter, not even full down, just half downs (after your lane change) really too much work? Does a button really simplify it that much?
You're totally correct that two down strokes on the shifter isn't much work, and I thought this too when I saw someone mention this method with the S3XY button. But then I mounted one of my S3XY buttons behind the left spoke to try it out and, as ridiculous as it might sound, for me it was a game changer. I personally found it to be so much better working the AP lane change using just my left hand. Until Tesla implements auto AP re-engage after lane change, I think doing it this way is probably as good as it gets.
 
I had couple false positive FCW (Forward Collision Warning), suddenly slow down, lane change not working, so I’m not trying to use TACC (cruise control) and turn off the FCW. I may turn off completely the auto pilot.

Sadly the expensive EV didn’t have much (or not worked correctly that you cannot use) smart feature as my 30k ICE car.

I’m feel lucky that I didn’t spend more money for enhanced auto pilot or FSD or more expensive models
 
I keep seeing all these glowing reviews of autopilot and how it reduces fatigue on long trips, and honestly I don't understand it. Maybe there's something I don't understand.

For me, I have to keep my hands on the wheel and make some sort of tangible input every ten seconds or so. One problem is I can't go more than 2 or 3 minutes and my 'tangible input' is too hard and it kicks autopilot off. But ignoring that, if I have to pay attention to what it's doing, and make some sort of intervention every ten seconds, it's more of a pain to ride herd on it than simply driving myself.

(One thing I'll say is I won't just cruise in the left lane, that's just wrong.)

Am I missing something? How do people go hours or whatever it is without changing lanes or over-jiggling the wheel or whatever?

Separate question, if you buy FSD or enhanced autopilot (not talking beta) does it relieve you of having to make a tangible input every ten seconds? Or do you still have to keep jiggling the wheel to let it know you're there?
Autopilot nags suck. Tesla needs to tweak feedback to be much lower. Here is what I did that will bring in the downvotes.

I bought this


It blends in with the car. It makes the back of the wheel nicer to grip. It follows the contour but makes it thicker. Kind of hard to explain. It’s enough weight to remove the nags without hands. But I keep mine rested on it and don’t have to worry about it anymore.

Autopilot without a weight is absolute crap. There’s many variations of this weight. I bought this and love it. No affiliation with the product or seller. Lots of people selling the same thing. I would buy the cheapest.
 

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