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Follow Mode

Discussion in 'Autonomous Vehicles' started by wayno, Jul 5, 2017.

  1. wayno

    wayno Member

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    We recently purchased a motorhome and I was looking forward to using my upcoming model 3 as a tow vehicle. However I don't think it's going to be possible to tow it without a trailer or a dolly due to the regen issues and the fact that you can't do it with an S or an X. But then it hit me that it would be a perfect application for a "Follow Mode" with the autonomous self driving. I'm really excited to see this become a reality as it would make everything much easier in terms of towing and equipping yet another car for towing and the associated hassles and hardware etc. All we would need to do is set the 3 to follow with a target of our RV and then it could go wherever we go. Do you guys think this could work well? As with all Autonomous driving, I think it's the fringe cases where it's a problem as they say the devil's in the details.

    For instance, it could use the app on my iphone to track the rv, which would work until we drive to an area where there's no cell coverage out West. Then it could use GPS to know the location we're headed, but again without my RV sending GPS data it wouldn't know where we were. Unless of course it simply used simple visual object recognition to never lose visual contact with the rv and just track it, similar to the way the new drones have object tracking software. Of course I would need to make sure in that case that we didn't lose visual sight of it at a red light or construction zone or something similar. I suppose it could use a combination of the above techniques to make it happen seemlessly. And then whenever the RV comes to a stop, the 3 could just sidle in 2' off the back bumper or something.

    I think this could open up a pretty sizable market for Tesla to offer something similar across the 3, S, and X, as there are quite a large number of RVers towing Jeep Wranglers and other cars due to purely their simplicity of being capable of being flat towed.

    Of course we would need to stop at the supercharger every 200 miles or so, but as long as there is RV parking near the supercharger, I'm fine with stretching our legs and taking a break as needed. Plus, we could just charge it up right there at the campsite when we reach the destination! I think this would make my RV roadtrips significantly better and I'm really excited about the possibility. So what do you think? Does this sound legit or possible? What kind of timeline do you think something like this would take to become a reality (and legal)? How can I contact someone at Tesla to describe this idea, or do you think it's just understood that "they're on it!"

    Thanks,
    Wayne
     
  2. croman

    croman Active Member

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    I don't think you understand how "follow mode" works. You can't set a setting on AP for it. The system only does follow mode when it loses visual track of the road and it must visually and radar lock onto the lead vehicle. AP performance is much diminished in that situation.

    Just wait for FSD and you'll just be able to use the app to summon your 3 to your destination. I think, based on Tesla's progress thus far, that'll happen in a decade.
     
  3. wayno

    wayno Member

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    I am definitely talking about FSD here. I didn't even know there was something called Follow Mode currently functioning in the AP software. I just used "follow mode" as a term to describe what I want my FSD Tesla to do. But more specifically, to stay with a moving target rather than just GPS locations and summoning. Again it comes back to how would you summon a car if you don't have cellular signal in the mountains or American West with poor cell coverage? I figure it should be slightly easier than fully Level 5 autonomy as I'll be there to help physically plug it into the supercharger etc. Do you think it will really be another decade for that to become a reality at this point?
     
  4. verygreen

    verygreen Curious member

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    If we are sharing pipe dreams about FSD here, why do you need the follow mode, it certainly is a lot less convenient compared to just telling your FSD car "this is the destination, go there", and off it goes, much faster than your motor home, automatically stopping and charging at superchargers.
    So you don't need to make any supercharger stops yourself and slow your trip down more than it is already (I heard those motor homes are not exactly speed demons).
    You'll arrive to your destination at about the same time as your Tesla in the end.
     
    • Like x 1
  5. wayno

    wayno Member

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    I see it as being much more flexible than that. For instance if I want to change the destination, like not drive as far today so we switch to a closer campground en route. Or even change the destination all together, or stopping at tourist attractions or restaurants. Having the car with you can give you more freedom in my mind. I wouldn't need to separately summon the car back if it has gone too far for instance. Also it wouldnt require fully automatic charging at every location yet either.

    It just seemed like there's an option in there that may be between level 3 and either 4 or 5 SAE autonomy which may be a shorter putt so to speak but still a great saleable feature for me. I would hope something like this could be available, usable, and legal within the next 2-3 years.
     
  6. verygreen

    verygreen Curious member

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    Just make the car go to the next supercharger and wait you there, as you approach it goes to the next one (likely would happen anyway), so return back to you is not all that farfetched if you change the plans mid-route.

    The "follow me" mode needs full level 5 SAE pretty much.
    What if the road is slippery, what if somebody cuts in the middle between your motor home and the car (or there's a traffic light that cuts the car off as you race through the yellow light), .... many scenarios conceivable that could make the car lose sight of you and need to do stuff on its own.
     
  7. Randy Spencer

    Randy Spencer Member

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    Yeah I have been thinking about that too. I figure I would use the summon feature when I get to a place where I can leave the Tesla and in the morning it will be out front. We can then use it to drive around and when we find a good place to leave it while we trek elsewhere we just tell it to park itself and if we ever get more than 1000 miles away we just summon it again so we are not too far away.

    I don't feel the need to keep it in sight, if I can summon it from the other coast I can summon it across the state. It's probably going to be hard to mess with so it should be secure wherever we do park it. Safer than trying to have it parked next to me in a campsite every night.

    Of course the first few years we may just take it with us by putting one of us in the car and one the RV and doing basically follow mode so the Tesla does most of the hard work of keeping behind the RV w/o busting any laws before we get real FSD capabilities. Still cannot wait until the RV does the self driving and we can just take the car and go touring while the RV makes it's way to the next town and we meet up with it at bed time.

    -Randy
     
  8. wayno

    wayno Member

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    I like where you're going Randy. This will probably be what we end up doing for the short term as well. Especially since my wife believes the kids are much more safe in car seats with seats designed for them rather that the dinette and couch in the rv anyway. But it means a lot more driving for her. At least she'll get the benefits of autopilot in the Tesla until the FSD rolls out.

    And I am right there with you on the automated Rv! I am already imagining my next RV as a custom built model on a Tesla Semi chassis fully automated and ready to roll. But that's probably a decade out for me.
     
  9. Randy Spencer

    Randy Spencer Member

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    For the longest time I had that pic of the Model X towing the Airstream to the beach as my desktop pic. That would be the way to go. Head out on the road and let the car take you to your destination. Just stop at a supercharger while you drink your morning coffee. Of course you have to unhook the trailer to supercharge! Assuming you could get the power out of the Tesla to run the camper you wouldn't need a generator to boondock, Wow what if you could run the AC off the car.

    -Randy
     

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