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Autopilot's last weak spot: driving into the sun on the freeway

Discussion in 'Model S' started by calisnow, Mar 22, 2016.

  1. calisnow

    calisnow Active Member

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    AP is now so good 99% of the time that I notice when it isn't performing at its best. My question is - is this last weak spot fixable with the current hardware? I'm wondering if it's a limitation of the imaging chip used in the camera. Or, if as the high precision GPS maps get gradually "built" by the fleet, if the low contrast, high glare situations will get fixed?

    These situations are noticeably better after only three months of the software being in service - but the car still seems to wander a bit on certain stretches of I-10 in Southern California where a series of factors stacks up simultaneously, making for very challenging conditions:

    1 - Low sun ahead, causing glare
    2 - Poor lane markings
    3 - "Shiny" pavement, for lack of a better term - 'causing even more glare
    4 - No cars to my sides or ahead for the car to use to get extra information on its position.

    In this situation I've noticed the car wandering - not nearly as bad as 7.0 but still some "hunting."

    Since it is blind to the rear past 16', a situation has arisen a couple times where I've felt the need to grab the wheel because a car was approaching at high speed in an adjacent lane from behind and I didn't want the Tesla to swerve toward that car's lane at the wrong moment.

    In any case - what is your speculation on whether this behavior can/will be further improved on the current hardware suite?
     
  2. calisnow

    calisnow Active Member

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    Oh - actually a second weak spot is in the scenario when a high speed motorcycle lane splitter approaches from behind in heavy traffic. Again, the Tesla could swerve into the bike's path at the wrong moment if, for example, a car next to me moves into my lane and the Tesla then moves over further to avoid it. I assume this issue will be solved when we have cameras facing the rear.
     
    • Like x 1
  3. Edmond

    Edmond Permanon

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    As to the Sun, a quality circular polarizing filter would help with that, although it would cut down performance at night.
     
  4. JenniferQ

    JenniferQ Member

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    As to the 'lane splitter,' they are idiots. Only supposed to lane split in stationary traffic, right? Ugh. They scare the peewaddaledoo out of me. But, yes, I have noticed the same. Until all cars are on the same algorithm it will be tricky, I think.
     
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  5. dlv1984

    dlv1984 Amp'd

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    On surface streets I was surprised to find that AP would switch to tracking the car ahead of me and follow it when the lane lines disappeared (highlighted it in blue and moved where it went), does it only do this at low speeds? I've never seen it happen at freeway speeds.
     
  6. JenniferQ

    JenniferQ Member

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    I've only seen this at low speeds.
     
  7. JenniferQ

    JenniferQ Member

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    I saw this today while on the freeway. When sensors could not find the botts dots (due to sun, I think) the car switched to tracking the car in front at 70mph. That worked well until said car changed lanes and my car proceeded to as well. I did not want that. Hm.
     
  8. nienco2

    nienco2 Member

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    I don't have AP but am wondering what is it you folks do with your hands and eyes while on autopilot? You've still got to be watching the road so is the benefit that you can put both hands in your lap? Please don't tell me it's so you can text and read emails at 70mph.
     
  9. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    It will do this at any speed. Autopilot has a series of methods it can use for determining guidance. Preferentially, it will use lane markings if it can reliably detect them. The next best thing it will use is the car you are following.

    Next time you pass through an intersection without lane markings while following a car on autopilot, notice on the console that as you enter the intersection, the blue highlighting (indicating what the car is using for guidance) will change from the lane markings to the car in front. Once you get to the lane markings on the other side of the intersection, it'll switch back to the lines.

    This also means that you need to be careful in the intersection (or whenever a lead car is being tracked). For instance, if the lead car illegally changes lanes in an intersection, your car will follow.

    You will also find that if you are on a residential street with zero lane markings, you can initiate autopilot behind a car and it will follow that car, even in the complete absence of any other guidance.
     
    • Informative x 1
  10. calisnow

    calisnow Active Member

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    What do you think people are doing? You think you're dealing with perfect risk-reducing machines - or you realize that people who drive Teslas are human?
     
  11. Edmond

    Edmond Permanon

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    I hold the magazine I'm reading in one hand, and a mixed drink in the other.

    (j/k. My drink is actually straight up)
     
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  12. JenniferQ

    JenniferQ Member

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    Hands on the wheel. Mostly. Especially because stuff I posted above can always happen. If data is good and consistent and I know the car is in control, I relax them on my legs or the armrests/cupholders. :p
     
  13. scottf200

    scottf200 Active Member

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    I've been on two roadtrips with my family. 95% of the time was AP so about 1200 miles. If I did NOT have my hands one the steering wheel my X would be a wreck and possibly my family in serious condition. I've had to take control multiple times (IL, IN, KY major highways/roads). It canNOT be trusted to be hands free (and the enabling dialog box states to use your hands). People are playing russian roulette driving without there hands on the wheel.
     
  14. bmah

    bmah Obscure Member

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    Hands: Resting position in my lap (close to the steering wheel), or maybe hanging on the bottom of the wheel. In clear and/or slow traffic I'm willing to do some short, two-handed operation like opening a water bottle.

    Eyes: Normal visual and instrument scan to maintain situational awareness. In clear and/or slow traffic I might look away briefly or adjust something on the center screen.

    If you're comfortable with autopilot, and know its limitations, you can relax a little bit when driving. That doesn't mean let the car do all the work, it means you don't expend quite as much mental effort. Or you can do a better job navigating or paying attention to traffic further away, because the autopilot is dealing with the immediate tasks of keeping you on the road.

    Oh yeah, one benefit I've just realized, since my allergy season is starting up. My car is definitely safer on autopilot if I need to sneeze while driving.

    Bruce.
     
  15. doctorwho

    doctorwho Member

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    Another remaining weak spot is early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the sun is low and casting multiple tree shadows right across the road. The car becomes confused and starts to hunt left and right across the lane. This has been a regular problem in the (just finished) Aussie summer, you guys may start to notice it now.
     
  16. CHG-ON

    CHG-ON Still in love after all these miles

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    I am always watching. Hands are normally in my lap directly below the wheel. I never assume the car knows everything and take control quite often when I think there is the slightest possibility of an issue.
     

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