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Late Night AutoPilot: The Dangers of Dozing

Discussion in 'Model S: User Interface' started by Eric S, Jul 4, 2016.

  1. Eric S

    Eric S Member

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    I'm a non-owner with a very specific question about Autopilot.

    I'm an attentive driver. Even late at night, even if I've had a glass of wine at dinner, I never nod off. But then again, I've always had to actually drive.

    What do you do to stave off dozing? Cycles of turning autopilot on and off? Set a smartphone alarm to chirp loudly every 3 minutes? What?

    I'm not asking for general staying-awake tips. Just wondering how much of an issue this is with Autopilot (particularly late), and how owners deal with it.
     
  2. kirkbauer

    kirkbauer Member

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    If you normally don't have a problem falling asleep and then with autopilot enabled you are having that problem then no doubt simply don't use it.

    On the other hand, if I was in a situation where against my better judgement I was driving while having trouble staying awake, I'd much rather fall asleep with AP enabled than anything else. I'd say you have a 99% chance of avoiding an accident even if you are fast asleep which is much better than without AP. The biggest concern would be after the car stops in the middle of the road; somebody could rear-end you.
     
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  3. chillaban

    chillaban Member

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    Obviously sleep tendency varies from person to person, but I've found that I've had far more drowsy situations when I have to control steering and distance regulation compared to supervising Autopilot, which is very similar to my general behavior on road trips. When driving legs of road trips sleep-deprived, I find myself getting drowsy behind the wheel, and having to switch drivers. But as soon as I get in the passenger seat, I'm far more awake and alert and it's almost frustrating.

    For people like me, it's more constant monotonous tasks like centering the car in the lane that makes me fatigued. Driving around with Autopilot (I just completed a 800mi trip from SF to Vegas and back), I've never felt more alert and capable of responding on a road trip.
     
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  4. Eric S

    Eric S Member

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    Jesus.
     
  5. mkjayakumar

    mkjayakumar Active Member

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    What I have noticed is that, my tendency to fall asleep is much less with AP than without AP. Rather I can drive longer with AP, without ending up with micro-sleeps .

    I am guessing this is might be due to the fact that it is more tiring and you get drowsy looking at the road intently all the time with no AP, whereas with AP you are much more relaxed, you can look away with ease and for longer periods, and so do not get drowsy that much.
     
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  6. mkjayakumar

    mkjayakumar Active Member

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    Bingo you said it better. if I have to drive when I am tired, I would rather drive with AP than without AP.
     
  7. GaryREM

    GaryREM Member

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    To be clear, the car turns begins a continuous beeping, turns on emergency flashers, pulls over and slows to a stop.

    Compare that to what would happen without Autopilot!!!!
     
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  8. Ryan MF

    Ryan MF Member

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    This is also my experience. I seem to stay a little more refreshed with AP, though to be honest it could just be that driving the Tesla is that much more exciting than driving other cars.
     
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  9. TaoJones

    TaoJones Beyond Driven

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    Consider Michelangelo.

    4 hours on, 1 hour off worked out okay for him and that whole chapel thing.

    Similarly, during travel days/nights in an S, one can micronap as necessary during SC visits. This, combined with the DriverAssist (DA) features (I refuse to call it AutoPilot, since it ain't) reduces the propensity to nod off whilst behind the wheel.

    It's not just TACC and Autosteer. There's a drift sound/vibration alert along with the now ubiquitous nag feature. You can't make that go away by grabbing the wheel just anywhere, I've found. Sometimes it's quite particular.

    Collectively, you've really got to work at it to either fall asleep while driving or to run out of electricity while driving.

    Having said all of that, know your limits and don't be stupid about it. After all, the insurance rates you affect might be mine.
     
  10. Eric S

    Eric S Member

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    What is SC?
     
  11. scottm

    scottm Active Member

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    Service Center, or SuperCharger.

    ..determined from context.
     
  12. NikeWings

    NikeWings Member

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    Hi Eric, its been my experience that contributing factors to becoming drowsy typically don't stem from whether its me or a controller governing the speed. If I become drowsy, its not because the car's technology made me that way and technology isn't going to remedy it either. I remain very engaged when using the various functions of AP and would take the same actions as you if drowsiness becomes a problem. AP is not a replacement for judgment. Have you test drove it yet? I think you are on the front end of your decision, but you'll really like it and understand our comments better when you do.
     
  13. OlderThanDirt

    OlderThanDirt Member

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    Plus many on that!!

    First I'm much less tired driving with AP. Second the car carries the load staying centered leaving me to concentrate on four legged animals wandering onto the highway and two legged animals that shouldn't be allowed to drive on any highway ;)

    AP is priceless in our experience.
     
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  14. Khatsalano

    Khatsalano Member

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    AP is awesome. But if you're tired and drowsy, don't drive with AP or without AP, in a Tesla or any other car. That's just social darwinism waiting to happen ... and you may bring someone down with you.

    - K
     
  15. Brunton

    Brunton Pontificating the obvious

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    Though it seems counter-intuitive perhaps, I have less of a tendency to fade out when I'm using autopilot. Maybe, as others have said, it's because the alert-induced fatigue is so much less (which is what I believe), or maybe it's just the novelty of watching the car drive itself. But I'm safer with AP than without when I'm on the road.
     
  16. TaoJones

    TaoJones Beyond Driven

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    SC stands for supercharger.

    SvC is a service center.
     
  17. AB4EJ

    AB4EJ Member

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    Wow, will it really do that? Have you tested it, and this is what it did? I have never had the stones to try it...
     
  18. mblakele

    mblakele radial cross member

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    That happened to me unintentionally, My hands were on the wheel the whole time, but my touch was too light for the torque sensor. After a few warnings the hazards came on and the car began to slow down, whereupon I took over. Eventually I figured out that "hands on wheel" really means "provide gentle resistance". I still think the UI needs work.
     
  19. Cayman

    Cayman New Member

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    I also find it much easier to stay awake driving the Tesla as the SC allows you to power nap and there is so much to do in the car from playing your favorite songs to calculating your range etc. The Auto Pilot does seem to keep you awake more.
     
  20. pdxrajiv

    pdxrajiv Member

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    My experience has been similar to other drivers on this thread - AP reduces my driving strain/fatigue.
    That plus napping during charging as desired allows for longer distance driving than in other cars (based on a drive from OR to VA and back as a sole driver, covering 3K miles in 5 and 4 days respectively - not trying to set any records, just enjoying the road trip).
     

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