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For me the big benefit of autopilot is that it makes driving so much less fatiguing

Discussion in 'Model S' started by BrettS, Feb 4, 2018.

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  1. BrettS

    BrettS Member

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    TLDR: I had a couple of long annoying drives, but autopilot made them much more bearable.

    I had a pretty crazy schedule this weekend. Some of my family came to spend the weekend at Disney and I wanted to bring my kids down and spend time with them.

    Unfortunately the driving logistics were a bit of a nightmare. On Friday I left my house at 12:30 to drive about 20 miles south to run an errand that I couldn’t find any other time to do. Then I turned around and drove 70 miles north (passing my house on the way) to pick up my kids from my ex’s. I then turned around again and drove 120 miles south to Disney (passing my house again and stopping for 40 minutes at a supercharger and grabbing dinner on the way). We hit rush hour in Orlando, so there was a lot of stop and go traffic to deal with too. In the end I got to Disney at 6pm, 5.5 hours after I started and went 210 miles, with autopilot driving almost exclusively.

    But the amazing thing to me was that after that trip I really wasn’t tired at all. Normally driving long distances like that and dealing with traffic would fatigue me but I didn’t feel any of that.

    Tonight was another nightmare drive. I spent the morning and early afternoon walking around the park at Disney, then I had to bring my kids back to my ex’s since they have school tomorrow. I left Disney at about 3pm, drove 105 miles to drop off the kids, then turned around and drove right back to Disney taking a 30 minute stop at my house to grab a few things and charge for a bit. Luckily there wasn’t much traffic to deal with tonight, but it was raining the whole time and dark for the last part.

    Again, autopilot did almost all of the driving. And again, even though normally driving for hours in the rain and dark would fatigue me I arrived without feeling tired.

    To me this is the biggest benefit of autopilot.
     
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  2. morrisdl

    morrisdl Member

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    I noticed the same. The lower noise level makes for conversation with lot less effort too. Louder speech effort and mental straining to hear over noise will also wear you down over a long period of time.
     
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  3. X Fan

    X Fan Supporting Member

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    Absolutely agree. Similar to many other owners views, long distance trips are longer but so much more refreshing.
     
  4. ICUDoc

    ICUDoc Member

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    Yup, agree.
    Love it for long drives.
     
  5. NewTMSMan

    NewTMSMan Active Member

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    Completely agree. Stress if traffic and ling drives is much less. One of the best things about our Teslas .
     
  6. Snowstorm

    Snowstorm Active Member

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    Autopilot can definitely reduce fatigue, but if it does, then I am paying less attention to the road condition then manual driving which means I am not using the system as I am supposed to (keep hands on wheel, be prepared to take over at any time). Keeping 2 hands on wheel and brain alert to take over at any time is going to be more stressful and tiring than manual driving. You would know if you have ever driven with a teenage learner driver.

    AP is better than it is claimed to be tesla legal team, and I am suspecting that many of us are using it not exactly as the disclaimer requires us to, so it is indeed less tiring on long drives.

    Som day which I hope it will be soon, we can have a level 3 system and it will allow to use it the way it is supposed to be used and be less tired too.
     
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  7. pilotSteve

    pilotSteve Active Member

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    Disagree! You are judging (with no visible evidence) that “many of us” are misusing AP. In the 20k miles I’ve driven my S90D, when it’s on the highway my left hand is resting at 7 o’clock enough to resist wheel motion yet be instantly ready to take over. It is the 10-30 minutes of relatively relaxed yet vigilant driving that makes AP so valuable even with the intermittent disconnects. Huge net gain for me.
     
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  8. Snowstorm

    Snowstorm Active Member

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    I supposed I have not mastered the art of relaxed yet vigilant driving...

    I will be very happy when the day comes when I can be just relaxed while AP is on under the right set of conditions and the system will tell me when I need to be viligant. I want to be relaxed, and then vigilant without having to do both at the same time.
     
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  9. bob_p

    bob_p Active Member

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    Did another 5 hour road trip yesterday (including one charging stop) and drove much of the way with AP2 AutoSteer enabled.

    It works pretty well on lane keeping, though I still don't trust it when the left lane line (US) is close to a traffic barrier or the vehicle in the right hand lane is hugging the lane line.

    Lane changing still needs work. It has a tendency to do a lane dive, a more abrupt lane change - and sometimes it isn't able to lock onto the far lane line quickly enough and will get close to or cross that line before syncing with the new lane and aligning properly.

    It's good enough though to allow both hands to come off the wheel for short periods - such as to open a bottle or do something else in the car with both hands.

    Though I don't yet trust it enough to take my eyes off the road ahead for more than a second or two.

    While it seems to make the trip easier, there is a risk of losing focus on the driving - and not being ready to take over control when the software hits a case it isn't prepared to handle.

    It's still a huge improvement over TACC, even with some flaws (which should be addressed in upcoming releases).
     
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  10. BeardedBro

    BeardedBro Member

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    Agree with most sentiments on this thread.

    I don't think I'll ever forget how clutch autopilot was when my family and I were outrunning hurricane Irma a few months ago. Relative to friends' ICE vehicle experiences who were also evacuating, I felt less fatigue.
     
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  11. jaguar36

    jaguar36 Active Member

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    For me AP is mostly just a gimmick still. It doesn't reduce my 'fatigue' at all, although to be honest I have never had a problem getting fatigued from driving to begin with. I did 200 miles yesterday with it on 99% of the time and it performed flawlessly. I just didn't feel any different though after the drive than I usually do. I find I actually spend more time looking away from the road with it on, as I'm constantly getting the "hold wheel" and "accelerator pressed" messages. I always have my hands on the wheel, but not hard enough for it to recognize that I'm holding it unless I jiggle the wheel.

    Until its improved such that you don't need to pay attention, it won't be worth much to me.
     
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  12. CinRedMan

    CinRedMan Member

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    "less fatigue" is exactly how I describe the joy of driving to my friends. AP2.0 isn't perfect, but after traveling over 350 miles from Ohio to Chicago and back...just freaking nice and comfortable.
     
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  13. BrettS

    BrettS Member

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    I posted this in another thread recently, but I think it bears repeating here.

    ——————————

    I think reality is somewhere in the middle. Autopilot does allow you to relax a little and relieves stress. You do still need to be paying attention, however I don’t think you need to be keyed up and ready to take over in a split second. In general, the things that autopilot has issues with don’t come up suddenly. It has problems in construction when the lane lines don’t always make sense, but you can see construction coming up and take over or pay more attention while you are going through it. It has problems when a lane is ending, but again, as long as you are paying a minimal amount of attention to the driving you should be able to see the lane ending and take over or switch out of that lane. It has problems when traffic (or a fire truck) is stopped ahead, but again, if you’re actually looking out the windshield and not reading text messages on your phone you will see the traffic coming up with plenty of time to stop manually.

    I think all of the highly publicized accidents involving autopilot were caused by someone not paying any attention at all... not by someone who happened to look away for a second or two.

    ——————————

    And just to add to what I posted earlier, my level of vigilance definitely changes with road conditions. Most of the time when I’m driving on a well marked highway with minimal traffic I feel that AP has things under control and I feel comfortable looking away from the road for a second to change stations on the radio or check the next turn on the navigation or even letting go of the wheel for a few seconds to open a bottle or something. Same thing when I’m stuck in stop and go traffic and slowly inching along with the other cars.

    However, when I see construction ahead and/or the lines on the road are in bad shape then I’ll sit up a little and pay much more attention. I’ll hold the wheel instead of just letting my hand rest on it and I won’t look away from the road to change radio stations or whatever. If it’s particularly bad or if autopilot fails to stay in it’s lane then I’ll just take over until we are back on better roads.

    I’ll increase my alertness as well when it’s raining hard or when there is a lot of traffic but we are still traveling at 60 or 70mph. With that much traffic there is a good chance that another car might cut in front of me.

    In short, if you are using autopilot and staying in hypervigilant mode all of the time like you’re monitoring a teenage driver then I think you’re doing it wrong. There are definitely times when it’s prudent to be hypervigilant or just take over from autopilot, but most of the time you just need to be watching the road and looking out for the types of situations that autopilot struggles with, but as I said above as long as you are watching the road you will have pleanty of time to react to those situations.
     
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  14. SSonnentag

    SSonnentag Supporting Member

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    On nice roads, it works well and is stress and fatigue relieving. On hilly, winding or poor roads, it actually adds stress as you are never quite sure when it is going to swerve out of your lane. So around unpredictable roads or traffic, AP stays off. Early morning and late afternoon shadows can cause problems as well, so I leave AP off during those hours as well.

    The dips in the road are what really confuse AP consistently though. I travel a 20-mile stretch of road on Highway 95 south of Quartzsite, AZ twice a week. At the top of a rise the car veers right, and then as it starts down into the dip, the car violently swerves left into oncoming traffic. It gets 2/3 of the way into the oncoming lane before reaching the bottom of the dip and noticing it's error, only to swerve violently back into the correct lane. Scary stuff.
     
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  15. Barklikeadog

    Barklikeadog Active Member

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    Im with you on that, being at the ready in case something suddenly goes wrong would be stressful. Kinda like a long highway drive through heavy rain with lower visibility.
     
  16. JesseIan

    JesseIan Member

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    I live north of Seattle while my work in in Downtown Seattle (just out of it technically) so one of the biggest reasons to warrant a Tesla was just this. It's still traffic but it makes things much better and almost feels like less of a drive than it is.
     
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  17. kavyboy

    kavyboy Member

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    I think I've written it here before, but AP1 greatly reduces my road weariness. My last trip between Houston and New Orleans before I had the Tesla was awful. I just couldn't stay awake, and had to pull over a couple of times. I had chalked up "long distance driving" as something I was going to have to give up.
    With AP, though, I finished a 3000 mile trip without the first sign of a problem. I don't know if it's AP, the more frequent rest stops, or if my old car maybe had a carbon monoxide leak, but the differences is amazing.
     
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  18. Graffi

    Graffi Member

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    I used to get the "Hold Wheel" message often while on the Interstate during my trips. I had asked service about it when talking to them about other issues but did not get an adequate answer. However it was not until recently while speaking on the phone with service about another issue that I asked him about this issue. What I was told is that the AP is looking for resistance to the turning of the wheel, not pressure on the wheel. Since I learned this I have not had a "Hold Wheel" message.
     
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  19. Electroman

    Electroman Well-Known Member

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    Since the invention of automatic gears in the 70s, this is the best innovation for reducing stress. And Tesla has done a great job.

    People often wax eloquently about Mercedes and in general German luxurious interior. But there is no better luxury than having the car drive for you in the most stressful traffic conditions. No amount of plush leather and perfectly aligned body panels would equal the stress reducing benefit of AP.
     
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  20. pilotSteve

    pilotSteve Active Member

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    “If you can feel it.... it can feel you”. That’s my mantra for highway driving where I “rest” (resist really) one hand on the bottom of the wheel.
     

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