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Info on Autopilot + v7

Discussion in 'Model S: User Interface' started by Footbag, Jul 19, 2015.

  1. Footbag

    Footbag Member

    Jun 29, 2013
    Edmonton, Canada
    #1 Footbag, Jul 19, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2015
    I had a very interesting and exciting exchange with a Tesla employee today. While waiting at a Supercharger, a Tesla pulls in with MFG plates. The individual who got out nodded to a group of us owners chatting, so I went over and said hello and asked if they works for Tesla per the MFG plates. Yes. I then asked if this car was being used to test anything (didn't see extra cameras or anything obvious). To my surprise, the answer was yes, testing Autopilot. A near 30 minute conversation followed, as the individual was much more open than I would have expected. I am being a bit vague in elements, in an attempt to protect this individual. Feel free to believe or not believe the following, I obviously have no proof (my wife would vouch for it, as she heard most of the exchange, for what that is worth lol).

    - This person stated they were quite high level within Tesla (my impression, based on the title they gave)
    - Autopilot is very close to ready - i did not press for more specifics. They were unaware of Elons comments about the 405 or whatever highway with faded white lines and light concrete.
    - To that end, there is consideration that the system may talk to the mothership to know areas where autopilot can't be relied upon, so the car will give the driver notice in advance - "you are approaching an area where autopilot cannot function reliably, prepare to take control" (my words based on this persons comments)
    - Having seen a situation where a 110km speed sign was read as 10k by the car, I mentioned this to this person. They were quite shocked this happened. They did confirm the intention is that the system will automatically adjust the speed of the car (as seen in the initial demonstration, and as an improvement to the current "set cruise to speed" function we have now).
    - I suggested/asked if the system had a threshold - don't adjust speed if delta is greater than x. That is not part of the system, but they were intrigued by the idea.
    - I asked if the car 'tells' tesla when a speed sign is 'ignored' by the driver, ie that the car detected it wrong. No such communication happens.
    - In stop and go traffic, the system is reliable enough that the driver could be distracted while driving and still be safe (not saying this is a good thing or the intention!). This individual gave examples of doing tasks very not related to driving, and having nothing untoward result.
    - There appears to be a bit of 'debate' within Tesla over how much the car should pester the driver to stay focused on driving. A 'new' feature just put into the software recently goes quite far towards pestering. This individual really disliked it, and was trying to get it reverted. It has to do with, and is in stark contrast to some statements Elon made a while back. I joked "the lawyers must be getting involved" and the response I got was a slight chuckle. We all will hope this individual gets this change reverted (but I am not so sure Tesla as a company will revert it)
    - I brought up Elon mentioning sensor suite 2. This person confirmed that more sensors are needed for autonomous driving. No surprise. Did not ask about the Model S seen with additional cameras.
    - Some discussion was had about laws - Tesla is keenly aware that autonomous features in cars are a grey area, that laws are typically not in place about them, and Tesla wants to implement it to be safe enough that laws don't need to get written, with the fear being that when government writes such laws, they will be too overboard on safety and will prevent features.
    - I mentioned having owned an Infiniti Q50 for a short time - "oh, the car that ping pongs between the lanes"... this person knew about the car. It was mentioned the team has a Merc S Class, and that is the benchmark they are trying to beat. There was confidence implied that they had beat the S Class in lane keeping.
    - No discussion about self parking - I mean, this person got out of the car and it parked itself next to the Supercharger, but I wasn't about to point out that we all saw that (just kidding)
    - This person mentioned it was much more relaxing driving in autopilot mode. Something said to the effect of 'if you are tired, you still are able to monitor the car just fine (autopilot on), whereas you might not be as able to drive the car safely (autopilot off)'. Again, I don't think this individual nor tesla (nor I) advocate driving a car with autopilot when you shouldn't be/when you wouldn't be able to safely drive a car without autopilot.

    - I asked if I could see v7 which was running in the car, after a quick 'thought' ('yes' was not immediate), I was let in the drivers seat - it was made VERY clear not to try to take any pictures. I was very surprised to be allowed to sit down.
    - The person did almost all of the interaction, except when I asked to press CONTROLS once (this was out of respect, but it seemed like this person would have been ok with me pressing buttons at will)
    - I didn't think to press the T to see version number
    - As talked about on here (TMC), it is the dark/flat look that was in the demo cars at the D launch.
    - I was a bit overwhelmed, and didn't take too many mental notes about the specific looks. Icons were less cartooney.
    - There is less contrast between the background and the text/icons - sun was shining brightly on the screen, and even the individual had trouble making out the bottom row of buttons (settings, temp, etc).
    - The layout exactly mimics what we have - everything is in same place on the 17" screen
    - There is a new icon indicating charge port is open
    - On a very quick pass through, the CONTROLS screen seemed to be the same. The individual jumped through some pages, I didn't notice anything, but certainly may have missed items.
    - It was implied that there were not any BIG new features - I did not see an APPS icon for instance - and it is still the same 2 open windows layout. This relates to my perception the person would have let me press buttons at will - in that there wasn't anything present they thought needed to be hidden.
    - The top icons (nav, music, etc) did not seem to be 'in a tray' as they are now (or so my memory recalls - again, didn't think to pay enough attention)
    - This individual stated being very bothered when various button presses would take time to activate - so the team spent considerable effort speeding response times up - but are limited by the hardware (I did not ask about model X having a faster processor)
    - This person never uses the web browser (who does LOL), so couldn't comment if it was much faster. When launched, it was set to go to - but didn't load in a few seconds and we moved on. Typing this now, youtube is an odd site for it to automatically launch to, I wonder if they added in video playback? but again, the site didn't load, so that is just a guess on my part.
    - Car was running 3G - From what I read here, LTE hasn't really sped things up for owners, but this individual indicated it should, FWIW
    - Nothing obvious changed with backup camera.
    - Panning in Nav seemed smoother/quicker.
    - Did not see Music or Energy windows.
    - I did joke about there being a bunch of little features that likely were added, the person indicated indeed there are.
    - One such little feature, and one this person never even noticed before I pointed to it (in this persons defence, autopilot was their focus, not the V7 overhaul), was a LOCK icon at the very top left of the screen. It appeared to indicate if the doors are locked or not. This individual never actually noticed it there before. Did not test, but I suspect it may be a quick way to lock/unlock the doors - yay.

    - The instrument cluster follows the same dark/flat approach.
    - The energy graph and nav were on screen. As much as I said 'flat', these two were 'rounded', in the sense of round dials - the energy graph no longer is the rectangular design.
    - v7 UI Overhaul is very close, again except for the rounded energy graph (and I'm pretty sure Nav was rounded as well, but less certain)
    - As the car wasn't in motion/on (i didn't step on the brake), nothing of note was displayed in the center area.
    - It was mentioned that the center area got a large redesign. I honestly couldn't grasp/picture what was being explained to me - it sounded like the round dial interface was gone - which would seem to be represented in the above link/picture.
    - The center area is going to show the cars position in relation to the lane markings
    - It (or somewhere) will also indicate the position and distance of cars/objects around you - "very dynamic" were the words used.
    - It was mentioned that if you got too close to an object beside you, the car would move you away. I interpreted that as a means to prevent/reduce impact of side swiping.

    - I asked about working with Elon. This individual apparently works closely with Elon. Elon is is very demanding, but a good guy. Nothing surprising there!

    - Ludicrous mode came up. This person stated that after doing several launches, they felt sick - and such was not the case with Insane launches. It sounded pretty intense - but at the same time, this person stated that their opinion was it was not worth the $5000 it would cost to upgrade my P85D. My wife liked hearing that. I'll still likely try to get the upgrade regardless :)

    - Talked about what led to the titanium shield. It was stated at the time the cars ride height was super lower "basically scraping the pavement... similar or lower than ferarri/lambo". Implying our current low (air suspension) ride height is quite a bit higher.
    - An unlucky/lucky driver ran over something after getting the titanium shield installed. Tesla service brought the car in, the shield did exactly what it was supposed to and there was no damage to the battery pack
    - The titanium shield could need replacement if 'used' - if you run over something that it has to 'crush'. It was made to be very quick and easy to replace.
    - This person mentioned that in the 2 instances that resulted in fire (and let to titanium shield), if there wasn't a battery pack under the car (ie gas car) and if everything else was equal, the object would have went through and into the passenger compartment, possibly causing injury/accident.

    I think that is about it. There may be a tidbit here or there I forgot to mention. Given that this was very impromptu and that I was super excited to be talking to a Tesla person who was more than willing to answer questions, I'm sure there are questions I should have asked but did not. I tried not to be too bothersome, and I cut it off out of respect to this individual (and my wife, who wanted to get on with our vacation in Cali).

    Unrelated, but info gleaned from the factory tour:
    - It sounded like tours are handled by 3 people. As a small team, they simply can't handle public tours yet. My wife asked about school tours (being a teacher) - that is in the works, it sounds like some additional staffing is planned, and early next year they want to open it up to public (and school) tours
    - The TMC banner that resulted from the pizza drive is in the main employee entrance. Staff had no idea where it was or what I was talking about, but kindly took us there on a whim and it was the right location. These 2 staff walk by it occasionally but just never notice it. Pictures were allowed, but only of the sign.
    - Our tour guide was 11am Friday, same time as the announcement. At the beginning of our tour, someone asked our guide what the announcement would be, the guide said they didn't know. I thought he might be faking it. After the tour, when we could use our cell phones again and it was determined it was ludicrous mode and larger battery, that same individual seemed VERY surprised/interested, so I believe he knew nothing (which makes sense, given his role is to talk to the public LOL). Another employee, slightly more senior, admitted he was briefed on some of the announcement, but with minimal detail (of course, he could just be saying minimal detail, I have no idea)
    - I feel sorry for Tesla staff at the time of big announcements - people were there picking up their cars after the tour and after the news broke, and people seemed disappointed that their new car wasn't the latest/greatest anymore.
    - Out of respect for NDA, won't say much about the tour itself. It wasn't as great as I anticipated it being (expectations maybe too high) - but it was good of course. We had a very pleasant surprise :) Tesla let a 'skeleton' out of the closet so to speak - and this 'skeleton' had LOTS of signs demanding no photos. Was the highlight of the tour. The "bones" of this "skeleton" were also visible at times through the tour - if you made a point to look for them.
    - Model X and Model 3 were mentioned numerous times - although not much was said about the model 3...
    - 200 cars a day/1000 a week are being made currently we were told.
  2. spentan

    spentan Active Member

    Dec 26, 2012
    Thanks for the huge writeup,

    definitely makes me want v7 more.

    Was there any timeframe mentioned (or did I gloss over it)? As in a couple of months, or 6-12 months?

    I do plan to pay for the $5k upgrade to my P85D. I think it'll add to the resale value, easily considering that the P90D with Ludicrous mode will be 13k more.
  3. AziwA

    AziwA Member

    Mar 22, 2015
    Great info foot!

    very interesting to hear new hardware is requires. Did you ask if you would need to get it retrofitted?
  4. bp1000

    bp1000 Member

    Feb 14, 2015
    Nice write up there. I think v7 will be a nice evolution with bigger things to come.

    They are testing autopilot all over. There is a car at my local tesla centre here in England with a car with half the dash removed with two laptops and wires hanging everywhere.

    They are testing autopilot with real time monitoring all over to ensure it works in all markets.
  5. kuttakamina

    kuttakamina Member

    Aug 23, 2014
    Thanks for this wonderful update. Let's hope v7 rolls out soon.
  6. spottyq

    spottyq Member

    May 7, 2015
    Thanks for all the great info !
  7. Phil K

    Phil K Member

    Dec 18, 2014
    Hong Kong
    Thank you very much. Very informative and great update.
  8. vitaliy

    vitaliy Member

    Jun 17, 2015
    Tysons, VA
    Thank you for sharing! Love this forum for this
  9. MarcG

    MarcG Active Member

    Oct 29, 2014
    San Francisco
    Very interesting, thanks for sharing. I wonder to what extent the Tesla employee is being optimistic about lane keeping being "almost ready", or thinking it's ready for release but only to beta testers (then having a long beta phase to make sure it's working well enough for the public "at large").

    Also, I'm not sure about the idea of having the mothership communicate which areas are safe for lane keeping, and which aren't. On one hand, it may accelerate its release to the areas that are safe. On the other hand, it may become inaccurate as lane markings get worse (for areas that are deemed to have been be safe, which will make the system unreliable) or get better (for area that are deemed to have not been safe, which will prevent drivers in those areas from using lane keeping on roads that will have become perfectly fine).
  10. mhpr262

    mhpr262 Member

    Sep 19, 2012
    Old Europe
    Thanks for taking the trouble of writing up all that info. Did you have a voice recorder running or how did you remember all that info??? :eek:

    Also, Tesla should just offer various settings of how much the autopilot system pesters the driver, with the more "reticent" settings requiring explicit conformation by the driver.
  11. caps04

    caps04 Member

    Aug 14, 2014
    NJ USA
    Thanks for posting this Foot. When you say the update is close, what's your sense...weeks or months? Elon has now left it open ended saying the final release will depend on the feedback from the public beta/early access program.
  12. andrewket

    andrewket Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    My thoughts exactly. Heck, if you wanted to make it hold up in court, have the owner sign into my portal, read an agreement and virtually sign it. This sends a config bit to your car OTA to disable the nag. I guess the problem with that is a new driver/non owner driver. So you would have to display the warning every time.
  13. deonb

    deonb Supporting Member

    Mar 4, 2013
    Redmond, WA
    The way Toyota described their nagging feature to me is that they could not just have you sign an agreement where you agree to let other drivers of your vehicle know about the risk, because if your car is stolen and the thief gets into an accident, Toyota can still be held liable.

    Go figure.
  14. jbcarioca

    jbcarioca Active Member

    Feb 3, 2015
    Thanks for all the detail. From a factory tour during TMC Connect, a brief time ago, I suspect those of us who were there then know what you saw. The NDA precludes discussion of details; too bad because it seemed quite nice to discuss it, from tesla's perspective. OTOH, Elon does like his public 'scoops' doesn't he?
  15. Footbag

    Footbag Member

    Jun 29, 2013
    Edmonton, Canada
    It was indicated autopilot should be available very soon. I didn't press further, and obviously while that sounds good, it is still vague (and it could have meant "soon to testers" or "soon to everyone"). From the conversation as a whole, I would take it that both autopilot and v7 were due at same time, but such was not expliciately mentioned. During this whole exchange, I was feeling out what was appropriate to ask... I asked about about autopilot timeframe early on (was surprised I got a response). Had I asked later, I would have felt a bit more comfortable probing further, something along the lines of "might I have it for my trip home?", but alas, I did not.

    My wife was there for the exchange, excluding when I sat in the car. Thus, she asked what I saw new stuff I saw in the car. It was hard to explain to her that I didn't see 'much'... a refreshed (I wouldn't say new) look, but not really any new features. Thus, while I also want v7, aside from autopilot, I'm not ancy with anticipation for it (since I didn't see anything really new - again I am sure there will be a lot of little features that will end up being very nice).

    - - - Updated - - -

    In case I wasn't clear, the new hardware would be needed for full autonomous driving, matching what Elon has already stated. For the autopilot as initially promised, no new hardware needed. No, I did not ask about retrofit. This individual is not part of that program at this time, so I didn't feel questions about next gen autopilot were appropriate (perhaps I would have gotten answers, who knows, I just really didn't want to ask the wrong thing through all this, and end up having the exchange cut short).

    - - - Updated - - -

    The fact that this individual was not aware of the comments by Elon the day before seemed a bit troubling, as it relates to how accurate/optimistic "soon" might be. I think this person really believes it is very close to ready, but this is just one person within Tesla. Also, the fact that very recently a change was put in, directly about how the car would pester the driver about autopilot, and this person really didn't like the change (and the change is one that lawyers could be blamed for) <sorry for being a bit vague, it was mentioned what this exact change was, but as this change may only be known to a few within Tesla, I really don't want to call it out in hopes I am protecting this individual in some fashion> gives me the impression that someone 'above' this person is making changes to autopilot, thus this person may not know/control the whole fate of autopilot.

    In short, it was nice to hear very soon, but since that was all the info i gleaned, I wouldn't get our collective hopes up! (but i'm still secretly hoping it comes out as I drive home from this great adventure! lol)

    The way the info was mentioned about the cars talking back to Tesla (mothership was my term, not this persons) seemed like a very positive thing. It did not sound like it had to do with rolling out out to any specific region (but I never thought of it that way as it was being mentioned, interesting possibility). It was mentioned in response to me asking about Elons comments about the 405 highway (or similar) on Friday, so it seemed like a way to allow the rollout to happen sooner, while accounting for the fact that it was not 'perfect' in all situations. I really liked the idea of crowd sourcing aspects of this. It was not clear to me if this feature was actually in existance, or if it was something they wanted to add in post rollout (maybe it came up within Tesla in response to the issues caused by the 405 highway and similar, and thus hasn't had time to be baked in yet).
  16. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

    Feb 6, 2011
    Columbia River Gorge
    It sounds like you handled it exactly right. :) Knowing what to ask & when is a fine line to walk. I can't tell you how many conversations with Tesla employees that I've started with the words, "I'm not asking ...". Because I never want them to feel they're on the spot when I see them or have them think that I just enjoy talking to them because of what they might tell me.

    And I just want to point out to the general population, that you're not breaking any confidentiality agreement with what you've reported here or breaking a trust. Thanks for sharing.
  17. Footbag

    Footbag Member

    Jun 29, 2013
    Edmonton, Canada
    No recorder. I never expected things to transpire as they had, so I didn't have reason to 'be prepared'. Also, the last time I talked about recording others (the garage test drive), gave me pause to doing it again LOL.
    As to remembering it all, it helped I was SUPER interested! Also, my wife, bless her, also was interested (or at the very least pretended to be interested as she saw how excited I was), so we talked about it the rest of the day. Again, I'm sure there are little details I am missing, but pretty sure they indeed are little, I think I got most things.

    I agree with you about giving the driver the choice. I am sure this individual would agree as well. I really get the feeling lawyers/similar are involved at this point, so it will be interesting to see how this ends up. Speaking of remembering, it is coming to me that this individual mentioned something along the lines of they (tesla and personally) want to give drivers the benefit of the doubt, and when it comes to the grey area of things, choose the side that the drivers will like... I thought of how the screen allows full use while driving, including GPS entry, web use, and backup camera, as well as how we can set a speed increase/decrease for cruise. And while it is good to hear this person say what they said... it comes back to the one pestering feature, I think we can all appreciate that at some point lawyers (I am using lawyers as a all incompasing term for people that decide things the general population typically does not like!) might need to force something, in an attempt to protect Tesla. I had also mentioned a phrase similar to "if autopilot fails (causes accident) it could be a blow to Tesla" - no real response to my statement by the individual, but I came away thinking Tesla indeed is thinking that.
    As I thought, the more I talk about this in replies, the more small tidbits come. This individual also indicated autopilot would need to exist in its current form for several years before real autonomous driving would be acceptable to the law makers.

    - - - Updated - - -

    My sense, and that is all it is! is by end of August. Really, nothing came out supporting that other than this individual clearly knew things (at least in my eyes!), so in the whole context of the exchange, since very soon was mentioned, very soon seemed realistic, if that makes sense. There is always the chance that this individual was lower than I thought (it is his job description he told me, his frequent interactions with Elon, and his overall knowledge that gives me the impression he was fairly high up in Tesla... if (s)he exagerated any of those <how would I tell> it could change the authority of which his/her words are true. It could be argued that someone high up wouldn't have said as much, maybe this person is a low level tester - maybe, but my sense at the end of the exchange is that this was the person I originally described, and that they were excited about what they were about to deliver to Tesla Owners (autopilot) and decided to get chatty - and maybe it had something to do with them finding out I drove down from Canada (hey this electric car thing really works) and that I was wearing Tesla shirt/hat... who knows!

    Put another way, this person wasn't just answering my questions yes/no, they would go on to explain things (like how the car rides higher than before the fire incidents). Yet when I mentioned the lane marking issue, that didn't lead to a discussion how various roads are hard for autopilot to work with (aside from 'talking to mothership') so it seems like this person really felt it was close. I have no idea what conditions this person tests it in. Maybe this person has a 'typical' route they drive which also happens to be ideal - leading to false impressions of readiness. However, given this persons title/role, I would expect they would be taking info in from many others 'below' them - and if so, this would support 'very soon' being more true than optimistic.

    At the end of it, sorry, I didn't get anything really helpful regarding time frames LOL.
  18. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

    Sep 21, 2013
    San Mateo, CA
    @Footbag, thanks for your report. Your member info says you live in Edmonton, but obviously the encounter at the Supercharger you describe did not occur there. [emoji6] Were you in California when this happened?
  19. Footbag

    Footbag Member

    Jun 29, 2013
    Edmonton, Canada
    I suspect we indeed are thinking/talking about the same thing - nothing indicated it was _just_ put in place between TMC Connect and Friday. To those that might not have been at TMC Connect, it isn't anything earth shattering, just something that you would be excited about in the context of a factory tour (in this timeframe).

    - - - Updated - - -

    Thanks Bonnie. My wife (she played numerous roles in this!) poked me when I made the comment about the 110 speed sign being read as 10 by the car - at the time I thought she was poking me to indicate "lets go" (which I totally ignored given the situation!), but after she clarified she thought maybe the person would feel uncomfortable being told their software made a mistake - a big mistake by the look/comments back. Instead, this person seemed to like the feedback - but the point is, yes it is a delicate balance - one I confess I'm not well practiced in, but I seemed to have done well.

    A few times I gave the individual an out "i fully expect you not to answer this..." ie when I asked about time frame, and about seeing v7... yet they answered them lol. yay.

    Also thanks for the comment about confidentiality... I was very concerned with that as I typed my 'report'. I didn't think there was anything wrong with it, but this is all new to me, i'm not in the business of gathering secret info! This just fell onto my lap - making a good/great holiday into a fantastic/unforgetable holiday. Which is funny, because in 2 weeks/2 months, whenever autopilot is released, everything that made this exchange so amazing will no longer be amazing, yet at the same time it will still be an amazing experience.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Yes, from Edmonton, the wife and I drove down for a factory tour. This exchange happened after the tour, not at the factory, by happenstance as we were charging to continue our vacation.
  20. LetsGoFast

    LetsGoFast Active Member

    Oct 13, 2014
    Fascinating report. Thanks for sharing.

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