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How does the 2nd gen Autopilot do in heavy rush hour traffic?

Discussion in 'Model S' started by kgor93, Jun 17, 2017.

  1. kgor93

    kgor93 New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2017
    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    The DC area is one of the most stressful areas in the country to drive, along with NYC and LA. The lanes are narrow once you get into the city limits, and accidents are common. But everyone in the area knows and dreads the beltway during rushhour. It's usually extremely congested but to make things worse, other drivers drive extremely aggressively and you are constantly being cut off.

    Has anyone tried the 2nd gen autopilot in the DC area (or NYC or LA) during rush hour? I see a ton of Model S's on the beltway so I'm curious how it performs and how often you have to intervene. And yes, the Model S's cars usually are driven very well. It's usually some guy in a Mercedes or BMW that is cutting everyone off. Is the drive less stressful?
     
  2. dknisely

    dknisely Member

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    Dec 4, 2016
    Messages:
    152
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Seattle is also a stop-and-go disaster. This situation is where AP thrives, and where quality of life improvement is most vastly improved. These situations are the easiest to automate.

    I'll tell you another related problem where AP totally wins -- in Seattle, we have many ferry routes that inevitably result in long delays. In many cases, the queuing for ferries occurs on the shoulder of highways leading to the ferry terminals. AP works magnificently to advance one or two car lengths every few minutes with zero stress.

    BTW, I think AP1 and AP2 are fine for these situations already; no worries. AP2's limitations are definitely not in stop-and-go, with one exception in my experience -- following motorcycles! Watch our if you're following motorcycles with AP2. I don't have enough experience with AP1 to know how much better it handles that case. Otherwise, no worries about your concerns.
     
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  3. kgor93

    kgor93 New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2017
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    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    Wait so what are the limitations of AP2? I've been watching YouTube videos and most of the bad performance videos are AP1. AP2 seems to excel where AP1 didn't like on winding roads and with predicting other driver's behavior.
     
  4. tpham07

    tpham07 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2017
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    585
    Location:
    Baton Rouge
    some on TMC would argue against what you just said and tell you AP1 is superior and that AP2 will kill you ;)
     
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  5. banb

    banb New Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2014
    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    Just upgraded to a brand new Model S with AP2 from a 2014 Model S and am struggling with this. During rush hour traffic, how do I get the car to stop closer to the car in front of me than 1 car length (as set on the stalk)? It's hard to imagine that I won't get rear-ended frequently since during rush hour traffic no one is expecting me to be stopping a full car length behind the car in front. Help!!
     
  6. juice15e

    juice15e Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2016
    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    Virginia
    I've been driving a HW2 Model S in the DC area for about 6 months. Here are my quick thoughts:
    - TACC is awesome and works great almost everywhere. I use this every day.

    - Lane keeping It performs pretty well in highway traffic. I can only think of a couple of times where I've had to take over for the car getting a little too close to a barrier/curb (happened twice on GW pkwy) or going slightly outside the lane on highways.

    - There are a few areas where lanes merge or the lines in the road disappear for a significant amount of time and I have to take over.

    - My #1 issue and something that causes me to intervene on an almost daily basis is when cars merge into my lane in front of me. Even at the lowest setting, TACC leaves a pretty large gap between my car and the car in front of me (like 1.5 car lengths which is way too much IMO). This invites other cars to merge in front of me. When they do this the TACC doesn't seem to see them merging so if I don't intervene it won't do anything until the merging car is about halfway into my lane and then it will slam on the breaks. I almost always have to take over when I see someone merging in front of me.

    - While It works great on pretty much any highway or areas where you find traffic, It does not work well on small back roads with small hills. It seems to get confused when it sees a small hill and pulls either into the middle of road against oncoming traffic or pulls me extremely close to the side of the road. I think it's going to be some time before it's any good at these types of roads.
     
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  7. dpilone

    dpilone Member

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    Apr 13, 2017
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    7
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    Totally agree wth @juice15e. I'm on the Beltway just about every day with my S60 with a heavy 99% autopilot. I'll merge into the beltway then get one lane to the left and turn on autopilot. Some thoughts / observations:

    - It has honestly totally changed my state of mind taking the beltway everyday. It's not perfect, it _could_ kill you if you decided to take a nap or something, but overall it is a massive net positive for me. I really don't mind being stuck in traffic as long as I'm not stressing over time. With autopilot on I can relax in the air conditioned car, listen to the radio, and generally decompress. Hugely different than if I'm driving myself all the way home.

    - Completely agree that the biggest issue on the beltway is when it's moving just enough to leave enough space between you and the car in front of you so someone feels like if they just nose in you'll back off and they'll be able to fit. Autopilot doesn't handle that well - it either doesn't see the car coming and I worry it'll clip their back corner or it sees them and aggressively slows down. Neither is helpful for the Zen I mentioned above. If someone tries to nudge their way in I tap the breaks to turn off autopilot, let them in, then put it back on.

    - Along those lines, I pretty regularly tweak the distance setting. Stop and go traffic I keep it around 2-3 to minimize both the cut in problem above and the aggressive acceleration / deceleration it wants to do if you leave a bigger gap with the car in front of you. Hats supposed to be smoother with the upcoming release, but for now I just reduce the spacing so it stays a little closer to the car in front and that driver effectively sets the accel / decel rate. From about 30-45 mph I set it to 3-4, for full tilt beltway speed I keep it around 4 or 5 because at that point everyone's going fast enough and there's enough space between cars that merging vehicles becomes less of an issue.

    - There's a spot on the east side outer loop near 50 where the lanes fade out on an overpass. Most (all?) of the time autopilot does fine with it, but I get in my autopilot fighting stance just in case.

    - I can't bring myself to turn it on on the west side of the beltway in the lane with the HOV posts. I stay in the middle lane on the west side. It would probably do fine, but I don't want to be the guy that finds out it can't see posts or something.

    - It works great on 66 and pretty well on 295 but you have to be careful about places where 295 inside the district can barely fit the cars between the jersey walls. Honestly 295 with traffic is way better than not - the speed is a lot slower and the car does great. Might do ok at full speed too but 1) I rarely get to see 295 without traffic and 2) there are some narrow parts and parts with completely missing lane markers.

    - It really doesn't do great on non-highways. I'm not upset about this and maybe it would do better than I'm giving it credit for, but the stress level just isn't worth it for me to find out. I do sometimes use it on places like RT 7 where it's straight and I'm packed in with cars - it follows nicely, stops and starts behind the lead car for lights, etc. If traffic is light on those kind of roads I don't both since it can't do red lights and whatnot.

    Anyway, it's not perfect, I've seen it improve in just the short time I've owned my 60, and it has been a _huge_ net positive for me with the traffic in the area. You have to pay attention to what's going on around you, but it's a much more relaxing kind of engagement. Best of luck with your car! -- Dan
     
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  8. dpilone

    dpilone Member

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    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    Oh - that's all with AP2 on 17.17.17.
     
  9. jareade

    jareade Supporting Member

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    Jan 2, 2017
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    Location:
    Driving
    Stop and go traffic is my favorite usage of AP2. As noted above, I set the follow distance to 1 car length and it works well for me. I routinely drive in rush hour in Philadelphia, but have also driven in DC, NYC and Boston rush hour traffic and more than anything else, auto pilot relieves the stress of crawling and alternating between the accelerator and the brake every five seconds. No question it should make your drive less stressful.
     
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  10. thalore

    thalore New Member

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    Jun 11, 2017
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    Location:
    Lake Elsinore
    Using AP2 in my Model S in rush hour in L.A. area and I love it.
    I set it to 2 car lengths for the fact that I've noticed it slams on the brakes less that way. Also it lets people merge in front of me a lot safer (I know it's also called cutting me off). But from a report I read a while back talked about traffic overall and if people would let other people merge more often and leave space that actually reduces traffic (at least for the people behind you I guess).

    There are quirks to it right now. It's best to just get in a lane and turn it on. I don't try and change lanes unless I really need to. I keep an eye on the road as normal and just kick back a little more.
     
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  11. wesley888

    wesley888 Member

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    Oct 22, 2016
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    Location:
    Huntington Station, NY
    Stop and go traffic is the best time to use AP. In NYC, stop and go traffic is all you get. I have never been more happy having AP.

    I do not get frustrated with traffic any more. Traffic means I can just relax and let the car drive. I have the car set to 1 unit of distant, and people still cut in. If I were driving, I would have to watch closely and stop the car. Now, the car do all that. It is simply awesome!

    By the way, if I set the car to 2 car lengths, I would get tail gate and honked. Way more dangerous, since the tail gate is way closer. I wish they have a half a car length setting. lol
     
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  12. ShockOnT

    ShockOnT Quickish

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2016
    Messages:
    1,317
    Location:
    Sydney
    The number on the stalk is not car lengths.
    It's just a sliding scale of how aggressively you want to tailgate. 1 is the closest and 7 is the furthest.
    Even 1 is no where near as aggressive as most human drivers.
    But any setting should still close to the same distance if cars are stopping.
     
  13. McRat

    McRat Active Member

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    Jan 20, 2016
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    4,070
    Location:
    Norco, CA
    Yes, traffic moves more cars per hour if cars are spaced. This is why you see onramp lights, and what at first appears to be strange merging zones. They are trying to improve flow.

    See, there will always be angry squirrels. They change lanes without signaling every 100 yards, cannot see further than the bumper in front of them, and cannot judge relative velocities of cars. But after 10 miles of their zig-zagging, you'll notice you can still see them.

    The problem is angry squirrels force others to hit their brakes suddenly, which causes a chain ripple of braking behind them, which awakens other squirrels. If you allow the squirrels the room to zig-zag and not have to hit your brakes, the ripple doesn't happen so it acts like squirrel birth control. Don't worry, the squirrel won't get to work or home faster, they will just be angrier when they arrive.

    Leave enough room for squirrels and you will be more relaxed and get to work at the same time as always.
     
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