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MS Autopilot Accident: Advice and Experience

Discussion in 'Tesla, Inc.' started by Jose Palencia, Nov 19, 2016.

  1. Jose Palencia

    Jose Palencia New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2016
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    Location:
    Marina Del Rey, CA
    Ladies & Gents,

    I have really loved and enjoyed my MS since I received delivery of the vehicle in late March of this year.

    The best feature of the car IMO is autopilot and I consider myself a heavy user.

    However, while getting home from dinner last night on a long stretch of straight stop-and-go traffic on Pacifc Ave here in Venice, I engaged the autopilot so that I may secure the leftover dinner I was bringing home.

    Some seconds after engaging the autopilot, I looked away from the road to grab and secure my food, when all of a sudden I hear the collision alarm go off, and less than a second from hearing the alarm my car collides with another vehicle on the right hand side.

    The other vehicle was stationary, in between the left hand lane where I was traveling and the right lane that allows for overnight parking past a certain hour, waiting for an opening in same-way traffic to park on the side of the road.

    Luckily no one was hurt, and my slow speed of travel of ~20mph at time of impact produced limited damage to the car I collided with. Most of the damage to my MS is contained to the front-right: bumper, front-right wheel, front-right panel.

    However, the incident has me shaken, and I've lost most of the confidence I had on the autopilot system. I simply can't see myself making use of the system moving forward as I now consider it unsafe.

    I have two questions for the group.

    First, for those of you who have needed body work for their MS vehicles, did you stick to the Tesla recommended shops or choose a third party? Speaking with Tesla Service Center, it is not required by Tesla policy to have body work performed by a Tesla certified body shop.

    Second, for those of you have been in an autopilot related accident, did you have any communication with Tesla at all after the accident? Outside of the obvious financial reasons one would want to contact Tesla on an AP related incident, I am curious if Tesla is at all interested in understanding where the system failed now that Version 2 of AP is around around the corner.

    Thanks in advance for any and all advice.

    -Jose
     

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  2. mblakele

    mblakele radial cross member

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    I'm sorry to hear about the accident.

    It sounds like the car is online? If so Tesla already has a lot of log data. However I'm not sure if they'd know that you've been in an accident unless you report it to them.

    But I wouldn't expect Tesla to assume any liability, and I'm going to be the annoying person who tells you you're holding it wrong. Sorry, but AP is driver assistance — not autonomous driving. You are the driver, and you are responsible for driving safely. AP is just a tool, like cruise control.

    I took a quick look at Pacific Ave, Venice on google street view, and saw an undivided two-lane road with cars parked along the side, or four lanes in some stretches. That matches up with the situation you describe. To me it looks like a terrible place to use AP. I use AP daily on freeways, and even on the freeway I "trust but verify". That is, at any time I either have my eyes on the road or at least one a hand on the wheel, and usually both. I'd never trust it on surface streets.
     
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  3. Johan

    Johan Took a TSLA bear test. Came back negative.

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    Well put. He's holding it wrong.

    Sorry OP, there is no way you should have had the type of confidence you showed in the autopilot system, to engage it in that kind of situation to "look away from the road to grab and secure my food".
     
  4. Jose Palencia

    Jose Palencia New Member

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    Location:
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    Appreciate the feedback, sounds like both of you have been long time Tesla owners. Any advice on body repair options?
     
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  5. mblakele

    mblakele radial cross member

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    Take this with a shaker of salt because so far I've only had a dent popped out of the hood, no actual body work. But I'd go with a certified shop because I think they'd have better luck getting parts from Tesla. The biggest complaint from owners needing body work seems to be that it can take a long time to get parts. In LA you might have more than one certified shop: if so it wouldn't hurt to search this forum for posts about them, and call to get an idea of their turnaround times. I'm assuming your insurance will cover the repair, and your main concern is to get your car back as quickly as possible.
     
  6. mkjayakumar

    mkjayakumar Active Member

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    having now driven with AP for more than 17k miles, I would hardly trust it in surface roads, especially with cars parked on the curb. I have turned it on surface roads where there are lanes clearly marked on either sides with no obvious obstructions and at low bumper to bumper traffic, but with eyes on the road all the time. The accident OP describes is not at all surprising to me and is not the use case for AP 1.0
     
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  7. CoastalCruiser

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    Jose, thanks for your honest and brave post. Request: Please let us know how your insurance reacts to this accident.
     
  8. Xminus6

    Xminus6 Member

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    I'm very familiar with that road. That's not really a road that should be handled with AutoPilot and it's not really a use-case that's condoned by the AP software Terms of Service.
     
  9. thimel

    thimel Member

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    I believe Tesla will only sell parts to a Tesla certified body shop. So if new parts are needed, you do not have much choice. If only dent repair, bondo and painting are needed, any good body shop should be fine.
     
  10. bradhs

    bradhs Member

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    I've used AP extensively and have tried it on many roads that match your description, divided with cars parked on the side. Every time, I've had to override it. AP does not work enough to trust it on these roads. It seems to not have the capability to detect these cars, instead it attempts to center itself with whatever lane marking it finds and with whatever formula to determine the width of the road. It will not take into consideration parked cars that partially cross into the road/lane.

    Keep AP off on these types of roads.
     
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  11. davidc18

    davidc18 Active Member

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    You can use autopilot here but you have to monitor it constantly. The accident clearly points out the error in judgement the driver made. Luckily no one was injured.
     
  12. Xminus6

    Xminus6 Member

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    Kind of a unique situation Jose. Usually when people are told that the accident is their own mistake they become very defensive. Since you seem to be taking it in stride, if like to ask you what you actually thought AP was capable of doing? And where did you get that impression?

    Did your delivery specialist inform you that it could drive on city streets? Did you assume it because nobody told you otherwise? Where was the breakdown in communications about auto pilot's actually abilities? Could be instructive for others.
     
  13. thegruf

    thegruf Active Member

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    @Jose, sorry to hear of your accident.
    I will not presume to comment on the appropriateness of using AP on the road you did as I was not present at the time.

    It does appear however that there have been a number of AP incidents where a vehicle has been stopped partially in the lane, and it seems fair to say that AP currently is not reliable at detecting this scenario.

    To say that you have lost most of your confidence in AP is a shame, and I suspect it will return with a little time, albeit slightly recalibrated as to what circumstances to use it.

    My understanding is that the new scanning radar mode (aka LIDAR but at radar frequencies), which is currently in "whitelisting mode" in v8.0, ie learning but not yet activated as it has to tune out unwanted static reflections to reduce false calls, will be activated in v8.1 which is widely being reported as being scheduled for release in December. Significant mobile app updates due too - woohoo!

    I would hope and expect that this new mode will be much more effective at reducing the chances of an accident of this nature.
    Only time will tell, but I for one find the development of this car and its technology fascinating, and maybe this development will further restore your faith in the tech.
     
  14. Bodefett

    Bodefett New Member

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    I too have just had my first AP related accident here in Texas. Travelling on a 3 lane highway, the Tesla swerved into the middle lane, had I not had a hand on the wheel and swerved back into the original lane I would have been involved in a very serious collision. Instead the 2 cars barely touched, but resulted in panel damage to both cars, amounting to $2000+

    Tesla investigated and said the car performed normally, and gave me the long disclaimer. My view after driving my Tesla S85 15,000 in 6 months, is that AP seems to be more erratic since the 7.1 to 8.0 upgrade. I just don't trust AP anymore.
     
  15. dhcp

    dhcp Member

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    Location:
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    I only use AP on the more major highways (280, 101 and occasionally 92 for you Bay Area folks) and just today on 280 south with perfect marked daytime lanes and in a fairly straight section the car drove a little bit "drunk" drifting back and forth. From the #2 lane (from the left) it started drifting to the left-most part of the lane almost riding the line and the hung there. On the console, it showed my car to the immediately left of the lane so it "knew" where it was.

    It drifted back to center and then drifted back to the far left again, almost far enough where I was going to override it to pull it center since someone was coming up on my left to pass. Did this a couple of times, I just let it since there weren't cars around to see what would happen. Nearest car in front of me was maybe 5-8 seconds ahead and tracking straight.

    Very odd.
     

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