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Botts Dots AP Guidance Added Under 7.1 ?

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by SomeJoe7777, Jan 16, 2016.

  1. SomeJoe7777

    SomeJoe7777 Marginally-Known Member

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    #1 SomeJoe7777, Jan 16, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2016
    For those of you who are in northern climates, you may not have heard of Botts Dots before because they aren't used up there. They are round plastic discs that can be glued onto the roadway to make lane markers instead of using paint or heat-fused plastic lane stripes. They're common in construction areas for temporary use because they're durable, relatively easy to remove when the construction is finished, and give tactile feedback to drivers to help with lane guidance. They're not used in northern climates because they're incompatible with snow plows.

    BottsDot.jpg


    Under firmware 7.0, I never thought autosteer handled Botts Dots very well. But under 7.1, I see very accurate lane guidance with Botts Dots. I noticed this today while driving with AP engaged north bound on the West Sam Houston tollway in Houston. There is a small section of construction going on that has all lanes deviate to the left for about a half mile and then return to the normally-marked lanes. AP never used to navigate this reliably under 7.0, but take a look what I saw this morning with 7.1:




    This is quite excellent guidance from AP.

    Then I remembered something. There was a screenshot of 7.0 leaked during the beta period that had the Autosteer diagnostic display shown, and it looked like this:

    AP70Debug.png


    Looks like here, autosteer can use 6 possible means of guidance: Left lane markers, right lane markers, other vehicles, navigation system, holistic path prediction (HPP), and "model".

    But wk057 posted this screenshot of the same diagnostic screen from firmware 7.1:

    AP71Debug.png


    There's been a 7th item added: Botts Dots. :smile: To me, this appears to be a new guidance mechanism that's been added to the 7.1 firmware, and it appears to work very well.


    Realizing this, it reminded me of a conversation I had back in July at the Houston North Freeway service center open house/grand opening. I was there for a small reception they were having for all Houston Tesla owners, and I had a long conversation with someone from Tesla (don't remember his name). This person wasn't someone who normally worked at either the Westchase service center or the North Houston service center, I believe he was from California, possibly involved with one or more of the technical teams, and was only there for the reception.

    I was talking with him at length about Autosteer -- this was obviously 4 months before 7.0 was released. He was describing to me that they were working feverishly to get it ready for release, and that there were several special cases that they were trying to overcome. He mentioned driving directly into the sun on light concrete (I believe this one was kind of publicly known), and also mentioned using the radar to identify lane markings in addition to the camera. While he did not mention "Botts Dots" by name, he was clearly talking about raised lane markers, and specifically mentioned identifying them with the radar, not the camera. I have no idea if the radar is sensitive enough to discern something as small as a plastic lane marker -- but if the camera is used to detect them, why would this have to be differently handled than painted lane markers (i.e. different enough to warrant a 7th entry on the "autosteer uses" diagnostic app)?

    I'm speculating here, but it appears to me that 7.0 was kind of an interim release of autosteer to get a workable version out to the fleet, but the following major autosteer features which may have been intended to be released with 7.0 were moved to 7.1:


    • Botts Dots detection for guidance
    • Radar identification of vehicles in adjacent lanes and associated display

    The Botts Dotts detection and guidance is a welcome addition, and goes to show how amazing the software and hardware in the cars are that these kinds of major capabilities can be added after the fact.

    Has anyone else experienced markedly better guidance with Botts Dots lane markers in 7.1 as compared to 7.0?
     
  2. green1

    green1 Active Member

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    Actually, they are used here, and snow plows have no problem with them. The plows are not actually designed to scrape along the roadway, they have small skids or wheels under them that keep them just a hair off the roadway, this decreases damage to the road, and extends blade life.

    More commonly though we use ones that look more like this:
    HTB14tyWFVXXXXcGXpXXq6xXFXXXK.jpg
     
  3. dpodoll

    dpodoll Member

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    7.1 is dramatically improved with Botts Dots. They are widely used here in paradise. 7.0 was almost useless with the dots.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Anyone know how to get the diagnostic to display?
     
  4. green1

    green1 Active Member

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    Several people know, but they are very determined not to tell. It's behind Tesla's password, which changes at least daily, but a few people with some serious skills have got around it by hacking at the centre cluster from the back.

    Tesla is very determined not to let owners access any of this stuff, and I think people are worried if they let anyone know how they got in Tesla would immediately "fix" their access route.
     
  5. DanTheMan

    DanTheMan Member

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    Yes, 7.1 is much improved on the botts dots. Here in Vegas 7.0 during the day didn't work well, although it did seem to improve a little. Night time it was good. Today daytime drives with 7.1 worked excellent! Just like painted lines. Great to see and use these improvements!
     
  6. Jool

    Jool Member

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    Drove a lot this weekend and can confirm that Autopilot in 7.1 now tracks those dots very well! There was a whole section of freeway around here with just the dots and the camera never picked those up as lane markings. In 7.1 I am now able to use auto-steer on those sections with no issues :smile:
     
  7. jeffro01

    jeffro01 Active Member

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    I was just noticing this weekend that the car was finally picking up these "turtles" (that's what we call them) as they are everywhere in my neck of the Bay Area. A very welcome addition to the capabilities.

    Jeff
     
  8. MikeBur

    MikeBur ManualPilot

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    These dots are pervasive here too and AP works significantly better now. The combination of working on many more roads and better algorithm for bends (i.e. no longer a seeming piece-wise line approximation ;-)), and dampened corrections far far outweigh restricted roads added. I have noted that every 25mph road I've been on is restricted, whereas there are few undivided 30mph+ roads with restrictions applied.

    overall, a great update, yes
     
  9. SabrToothSqrl

    SabrToothSqrl Active Member

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    that is some tricky and COOL stuff :)
     

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