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Hoping for Autosteer availability when X is in Tow Mode

Discussion in 'Model X' started by ecarfan, Apr 25, 2017.

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  1. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    Right now when in Tow Mode, TACC is available but no other EAP features can be used. While I recognize that towing a trailer significantly complicates the challenge of making EAP work safely (since the trailer effects the vehicle's handling in a variety of ways) I hope that in the near future Tesla will at least enable Autosteer while in Tow Mode. Just having that single EAP feature would be super nice to have on long highway trips while towing.

    I just tweeted my request to Elon. If anyone else wants to make the same suggestion to him, maybe we can get his attention. :rolleyes:
     
  2. scottf200

    scottf200 Active Member

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    Whole heartedly agree since I'm taking a utility trailer to my son in a few days. I'm sure they are working on that tech for the Tesla semis!

    Also I was pretty sure they have some of the tech in the car because the language on the tow package option indicated it had some anti-sway logic.

    Found it:

    Tesla — Tow Package
     
  3. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    I asked my local Tesla Service Center about that statement. They stated that in Tow Mode the car does adjust its braking (not the trailer brakes) to attempt to compensate for trailer sway.

    But to the larger point: every X made has all the EAP hardware built into it. The foundation to do Autosteer while towing is already there. What I am asking of Tesla is, for an X with the EAP option enabled (purchased) could at some point in the near future Tesla enable just Autosteer. Not Auto Lane Change or any other EAP features not currently enabled in Tow Mode. Just Autosteer.

    I recognize that the Autosteer software might have to be tweaked a bit to take into account the altered handling of the car with a trailer attached. I am not trivializing that issue.

    Having TACC in Tow Mode is great, but Autosteer would be really helpful on long highway trips when towing. If it has to be limited to a lower speed than it currently is on EAP cars that would be fine, since when towing it generally isn't legal to go the normal posted speed, there is a lower speed for trailers (in CA it is 55) and towing at 65+ would use even greater amounts of energy compared to without towing. It simply isn't feasible to tow a trailer with an X at 70 even if it was legal, the range is too limited. Autosteer at up to 55 or 60 would be great if that is all Tesla thinks would be safe to provide in Tow Mode.

    Send Elon a tweet about it. Maybe we can get his attention.
     
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  4. Mine GO BOOM

    Mine GO BOOM Member

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    Pretty sure the risks of autosteer in tow mode has more to do with the fact their machine learning assumes that every car is the same dimension. Adding a trailer of unknown length, width, height, and weight would completely invalidate their machine learning.

    With how much compute power goes into running a ML training model, and the fact they'll have three car dimensions already (S 3 X), I wouldn't expect autosteer for tow mode anytime, if ever.
     
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  5. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    I am optimistic that Autosteer in Tow Mode will happen at some point. It could even be speed limited over a range, say 50 to 65. Doing that would avoid the problem of factoring in the increased overall length during sharp turns, where you have to start the turn later than normal so the inside trailer wheel doesn't jump the curb. At those higher speeds any turns will be gradual and the increased length won't matter.

    It's Autosteer at highway speeds that would be so useful. And as I noted earlier, towing at over 65 is so energy intensive that it really isn't practical given current battery energy density and cost.
     
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  6. TJtv

    TJtv Member

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    I think they have about a thousand other things to work on that should be higher on the priority list.
     
  7. Waldek

    Waldek Member

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    well as long as you careful enough you can just go to settings while car detects trailer mode and just turn it off... so it becomes amber in dashboard instead of blue... it is called accessory hitch mode, so in this mode autosteer is enabled... however depending what you towing you need to be careful or even more careful :) I did some towing like 5-6k miles with heavy trailers and towing other cars. Sometimes car states "heavy load detected" and forces trailer mode...but in such case you can stop, put car to park and "power off" and power back on and turn trailer mode off again (until it detects heavy load again)... AP1 detected heavy load when it swayed a bit more or heavy acceleration or breaking... seems like AP2 does not show "heavy load detected" that frequently so you can get away with autosteer for whole duration of your towing :)
     
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  8. MTOman

    MTOman Member

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    When I towed a trailer with my MX I used autosteer the whole time on the Interstate, it was glorious. I guess the trailer wasn't heavy enough for the MX to detect it. It did so well I hope they release an update in the future that allows for autosteer while towing a full load!
     
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  9. Yggdrasill

    Yggdrasill Active Member

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    No they don't. Model X deliveres started in Q3 2015. EAP came in Q4 2016.
     
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  10. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    I should have clarified: "Every X currently made has the EAP hardware built into it...".

    I was responding to @scottf200 saying "Also I was pretty sure they have some of the tech in the car because the language on the tow package option indicated it had some anti-sway logic."

    My point was that to enable Autosteer in Tow Mode is a software issue, not a hardware issue. The hardware is present.
     
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  11. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    #11 ecarfan, Apr 26, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2017
    Thanks for your post, which surprised me. Just to clarify and make sure I understand what you are saying:

    Do you have the Tesla Tow Package option for your X or did you add an aftermarket hitch?

    While you were towing, did the car show that it was in Tow Mode?

    While you were towing was the trailer electrically connected to the car through the 7-pin wiring harness plug?

    Please describe your trailer and how much it weghed when you were towing it.

    Thanks.
     
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  12. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    I don't think this is an unreasonable expectation, if restricted to freeway operation.

    Trying to sort out radius for tight turns and small winding roads without knowing more about the trailer would be a mess, but for mostly straight wide interstate lanes I think the only added risk is a PIO type sway feedback loop.

    It shouldn't be too hard to add code to damp that, especially if they already are watching for and correcting sway on braking as mentioned upthread.
     
  13. vandacca

    vandacca ReActive Member

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    It's been my experience that if you attach anything to the hitch, that alone won't trigger anything in the Tesla (although I'm not sure about weight considerations triggering Trailer Mode because I've never towed anything heavy so far).

    However, as soon as you plug something into the hitch controller, Tesla will automatically go into Trailer Mode. You can deactivate it (eg. if you have a hitch tray with integrated brake lights), which will return AP functions. This solution is probably not meant for pulling an actual axle trailer though. I assume if it's light enough, it may not be too much of a problem.
     
  14. gearchruncher

    gearchruncher Member

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    I'd really rather them work on AP functions which can be used 95% of the time (all the promised EAP/FSD stuff) than spending time making AP work with a trailer, which is only useful on Model X and only 1% of the time.

    So yeah, eventually, this would be nice, but this is way off. The Model S and Model 3 aren't rated for towing so this really has no benefit to Tesla and exposes them to risk.
     
  15. Waldek

    Waldek Member

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    I just realized when reading that some of you guys either confuse two different things or just use the wrong terms :) there are 2 completely different things on Model X: tow mode and trailer mode....

    Tow mode is for Model X being towed by some other vehicle.

    Trailer mode is for actualy Model X towing something (trailer, camper or accessory)

    By attaching hitch received in US version of MX does not trigger anything on MX itself. Attaching trailer to the receiver on the ball does not trigger anything either. Attaching electrical 7 way connector triggers trailer mode to turn on for MX. Ity is indicated on dashboard with blue trailer icon.... when trailer icon is blue no AutoSteer is available. You can manually go to settings and switch trailer mode to off - but if you still have electrical connection on for trailer it will turn dashboard icon into amber so actually electrical lights on trailer will be on but car is in "accessory hitch" mode and allows Autosteer features to be engaged.

    When driving with heavy trailer in "accessory hitch mode" that allows autosteer at times on HW1 it triggers forced trailer mode (disabled autosteer) followed by message "heavy load detected"... to reset this, you need to park, power off your car through menu and start again and again disable trailer mode to accessory hitch mode :) continue driving. It happens more or less frequent depending what you are actually towing... it happened to me a few times over 500 miles when towing around 4500 lbs dump trailer on HW1 car

    I towed jetskis trailer on HW2 for about 200 miles and it hasn't triggered "heavy load detected" and forced trailer mode... I was able to stay in accessory hitch mode at all times with this trailer.... side note same trailer with same jetskis on HW1 car triggered for me a few times "heavy load detected" on same route... I drove even a little bit more aggressive on HW2 car to see if it does "heavy load detected" but no... it didn't. On HW1 you really had to break and accelerate gently to avoid "heavy load detection"... any sudden acceleration or breaking on HW1 would trigger "heavy load detected"...

    I hope it clears some air :)
     
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  16. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    Elon stated last year that the Model 3 would have towing capability. No details provided so far.

    Yes, Autosteer while in Tow Mode is a feature that only a small percentage of owners will use. I think everyone understands that. But for those owners it will be very desirable. I am lobbying Tesla and Elon to provide it and if it is restricted to a narrow highway speed range (e.g. 50 - 65mph) I suspect it will not be difficult to implement.

    If it isn't a feature you want you are welcome to ignore my lobbying efforts, just as I ignore posts about the desperate need for coat hooks, sunshade vanity mirror lights, the ability to power your house using your Tesla, and better HVAC for the optional S third row seating.
     
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  17. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    A very reasonable distinction. However, in this thread I am using "Tow mode" the way Tesla uses it on the Model X configuration page in the description of the "Towing Package" option, where it states that "Tow Mode software package" is one of the components of that option.
     
  18. Pwdr Extreme

    Pwdr Extreme Member

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    I don't think this will ever happen. Way too many variables Tesla can't control. Width, length, and weight of the trailer. All of which would affect auto steer. A semi pretty much always pulls the same size of trailer, however weight varies greatly, but it would be relatively easy for them to build the software while designing it to calculate that weight based on acceleration times to certain speeds.
     
  19. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    How are you expecting all these variables to affect Autosteer in its efforts to keep you in a lane on the freeway?

    Do you drive differently with no trailer, a small trailer, and a big trailer? If so, how?

    I would argue that aside from possibly needing to be more precise in placement with a wide trailer, none of these variables directly affect the steering decision process flow - with the exception of changing the frequency at which a sway feedback loop would occur. If they can dynamically sense the loop developing and break it then I don't see any reason not to do Autosteer at moderate speed on freeways while towing. (Detecting and breaking feedback loops shouldn't be hard with the hardware they've got.)
     
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  20. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    Agreed. And according to Tesla, the Towing Package software "actively monitors trailers sway and adjust wheel braking as needed" (the car wheels, not the trailer wheels). So the capability to monitor and control trailer sway is already present.

    The ability to keep the car centered in a lane at 50 to 65mph (the range I am suggesting Tesla could restrict Autosteer to while towing) does not seem to be particularly challenging. It's not as if the X will be towing a cattle trailer. It is limited to 5,000 lbs and 500 lbs tongue weight.

    I say this with the obvious caveat that I know next to nothing -- okay, nothing -- about the engineering involved in making Autosteer function safely while towing with an X. I am only hoping to bring this issue to Tesla's attention. I am not assuming it will be implemented in the near future. I am confident that it will be implemented eventually.
     
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