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Calibrating Backup Lines

Discussion in 'Model S: User Interface' started by SUN_Spot, Feb 14, 2015.

  1. SUN_Spot

    SUN_Spot Member

    Oct 21, 2014
    Ogden, Utah
    For those of us driving classic vintage Model S vehicles (mine is a mid-2013 P85+) that lack parking sensors, the introduction of backup lines on the rearview camera with 6.1 can be helpful. My previous vehicle had some extra lines on the backup camera that helped to determine distances and clearances around the car. Today I conducted a few experiments to see where the Tesla programmers put their lines.
    The first test was to simply lay out some rope to match the lines on the screen. The photo below shows where the lines fall relative to a standard 108 inch (2743 mm) parking slot. The rope lines were a 70 inches (1778 mm) apart and the ends fell approximately 78 inches (1981 mm) from the back bumper. According to Tesla specifications, this compares to a rear track of 66.9 inch (1700 mm) and an overall vehicle width of 86.2 inch (2189 mm). That means the car is about 8 inches (203 mm) wider on both sides than the lines. The ends of the lines extend roughly 1/3 of the car length back from the bumper.

    You can see where the lines intersect the rear tire on my 21x9 P85+ rear wheels.

    The next test involved calibrating the curved lines when steering in reverse. Repeating the rope layout, the photo below shows what a full turn to the left produces.

    Leaving the wheel fully turned, I backed the car to determine how well it tracked the curved lines. Reaching the end of the ropes showed the car turned tighter than the lines indicated. This is particularly helpful when parallel parking if you use the lines to avoid the curb and unsightly rash on your wheels.

    I don’t know if the location of the backup camera or any other changes through the Model S evolution creates different results for different cars, so you might want to investigate yourself before threading your car into any tight spots.
  2. Larry93428

    Larry93428 Member

    Feb 26, 2014
    Cambria California, United States
    Interesting. Thank you for sharing.
  3. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

    Mar 8, 2012
    I've kind of gotten used to the lines now, but for critical maneuvering the mirrors and the bottom of the display are what I use, the lines are mostly ignored. The lines are great for showing that your front wheels are in the straight-ahead position.
  4. Kalud

    Kalud Active Member

    May 7, 2013
    Montreal, QC
    Thanks for sharing, I see similar results on my vintage dolphin gray MS.

    I'm glad they stopped using video overlay and now process the image in software which allows things over the image (as the lines and climate control temperature, homelink menu, etc).

    But... I still use exclusively my side mirrors when backing off... I don't find the camera (even with added lines) useful for that task. I just use it at the very last few inches to avoid the curb or check the side lines in a parking lot.
  5. markb1

    markb1 Active Member

    Feb 17, 2012
    San Diego, CA
  6. Cottonwood

    Cottonwood Roadster#433, Model S#S37

    Feb 27, 2009
    What you show here is my experience in the P85S and the Sig P85. The car consistently backs tighter than the inside curve, and roughly tracks the outside curve when backing and turning.
  7. caddieo

    caddieo Member

    Mar 21, 2013
    Palm Coast, FL
    Thanks for the nice experiment. In spite of the confirmed correlation, I prefer to use the curved lines specifically to start me off in the right direction or for centering and then finalize my position with the tilted outside mirrors. YMMV.
  8. Sigma4Life

    Sigma4Life Member

    Dec 17, 2012
    Dallas, Texas, United States
    Thanks for taking the time to do this experiment. It definitely confirms what I've thought I was seeing when using the backup lines.
  9. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

    Apr 2, 2010
    Ottawa, Canada
    From what I've seen with my car, the lines are a little bit "ambitious" with respect to the turning radius. They're still very useful for initially guiding the car into the spot, but I mainly use the mirrors for final alignment.
  10. BerTX

    BerTX Active Member

    May 2, 2014
    I did not even see her when I first looked at the picture.

    I called myself and I answered, so apparently I'm still alive...
  11. Gizmotoy

    Gizmotoy Active Member

    Sep 16, 2013
    Bay Area, CA
    Agreed. I park daily in a tight garage and navigate around big cement pillars. I'd be a happy guy if the car could do what the lines suggest.

    They're still terribly useful for backing into parking spots, though. They're definitely helpful in getting everything lined up. When paired with reverse mirrors pointed at the rear tires, both getting this boat in tight spots and parallel parking is simple.
  12. eco5280

    eco5280 Member

    Mar 27, 2014
    Thanks for this post. It's really bizarre how off the lines are, isn't it? They wait so long to add them, and they're inaccurate. It's sort of mindboggling. We can debate this on and on as has been going on for months/years on the two forums, but honestly, other cars have had guide lines for many years on their rear cameras. Tesla should update theirs and get it right. For god's sake, at least make it WIDER than the car, not NARROWER! You shouldn't hit something outside the guide lines.
  13. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

    Sep 21, 2013
    San Mateo, CA
    Agreed but nevertheless I find the new backup lines extremely useful in the real world. I don't expect them to be accurate to a few inches as I would never try to get that close to anything that could damage the car. They are a very useful guide.
  14. Andyw2100

    Andyw2100 Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2014
    Ithaca, NY
    It's not a question of "trying" to get that close. Sometimes you have no choice.

    I have had a hard time getting used to using the back up camera. I'm still definitely not used to it, and don't rely on it. The back up lines definitely help. But in some situations they would help even more if they indicated either the full width of the car with the mirrors folded, or even the full width of the car with the mirrors fully extended. Perhaps Tesla could make that a user preference, and one option could be that the guidelines automatically adjust to the current mirror-fold state. But back to the point I was making...I have to back out of a very tight garage. I always fold my mirrors in. If all I had to do was make sure that the lines were through the garage door opening to know nothing was going to scrape anywhere, it would be a heck of a lot easier to back the car out of the garage. As it stands now, I kind of use the lines, but I really don't trust them yet.
  15. CaptDaveHowe

    CaptDaveHowe Member

    Mar 12, 2013
    LI, New York
    Nice job. I back into my driveway, which has another car on one side and a retaining wall on the other and have noticed that the lines really do not help for side-to-side distance. However, they can be of some assistance in range from back of the auto to an object. It would have nice if the lines had incremental distance marks, something I saw on Hundai SUV.

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