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My first long(ish) distance road trip with Auto Pilot

Leong1234

Member
Jul 23, 2017
20
12
Saratoga
I recently did a round trip from Saratoga to Sacramento (128 miles each way) with my 8 months old Model S. This is the first time I used Autopilot most of the way … even in heavy traffic.


Here are my observations.

It was mostly smooth and work as expected.

I had TACC [Traffic Aware Cruise Control] set at 72 mph. When the car in front slowed down, my car also slowed down. When a car cut in front of me, it would slow down accordingly – evenly or abruptly depending on how hard the car cut in front of me. [It was a bit unnerving at first since I was not the one putting on the brake … but it did its job].

The AS [Auto Steer] feature worked well with a few minor complains.

(a) I kept at least one of my hands on the wheel all the time. There were a few occasions I had accidentally turned AS off (by holding the wheel too tight and countering the AS steering). There was no audio signal to tell me that it had gone off. I only realize it was off by looking at the dash. This can be a potential future improvement.

(b) There were a few rare occasions when I was in outside [slowest] lane when I came across a Y shaped exit. AS hesitated. Not sure how the algorithm can tell which is the one to go straight [not until AS is integrated with mapping function]. Guess this is where you really need to have your hands on the wheel.

(c) My wife [on the passenger seat] complained a few times the 18 wheelers on the next lane were getting a bit too close for her comfort. Not sure if the algorithm will keep the car always in the center of the lane or will make adjustment base on how close the next car is to mine.
 
Last edited:
Nov 18, 2014
137
23
I recently did a round trip from Saratoga to Sacramento (128 miles each way) with my 8 months old Model S. This is the first time I used Autopilot most of the way … even in heavy traffic.


Here are my observations.

It was mostly smooth and work as expected.

I had TACC [Traffic Aware Cruise Control] set at 72 mph. When the car in front slowed down, my car also slowed down. When a car cut in front of me, it would slow down accordingly – evenly or abruptly depending on how hard the car cut in front of me. [It was a bit unnerving at first since I was not the one putting on the brake … but it did its job].

The AS [Auto Steer] feature worked well with a few minor complains.

(a) I kept at least one of my hands on the wheel all the time. There were a few occasions I had accidentally turned AS off (by holding the wheel too tight and countering the AS steering). There was no audio signal to tell me that it had gone off. I only realize it was off by looking at the dash. This can be a potential future improvement.

(b) There were a few rare occasions when I was in outside [slowest] lane when I came across a Y shaped exit. AS hesitated. Not sure how the algorithm can tell which is the one to go straight. Guess this is where you really need to have your hands on the wheel.

(c) My wife [on the passenger seat] complained a few times the 18 wheelers on the next lane were getting a bit too close for her comfort. Not sure if the algorithm will keep the car always in the center of the lane or will make adjustment base on how close the next car is to mine.
Which generation of autopilot do you have?
 

d21mike

Active Member
Aug 28, 2017
1,098
722
Torrance, CA 90503
Thanks for sharing your experience. In the future you should include what firmware version you are using. Maybe you could edit your post.

I also keep 1 hand on the wheel and with a slight pressure (normally with the direction of the steering wheel) is all I need to not see the hold the wheel nag.

Regarding A). I always know when I put just a little too much pressure (required or not) and it drops out of AS. Maybe it is just the feel of it. But somehow thought there was a little noise but maybe not. Have to try that today.
 

icefree

Member
Apr 8, 2017
196
335
Northern VA
(a) I kept at least one of my hands on the wheel all the time. There were a few occasions I had accidentally turned AS off (by holding the wheel too tight and countering the AS steering). There was no audio signal to tell me that it had gone off. I only realize it was off by looking at the dash. This can be a potential future improvement.
I would double check (re-test this). You should hear the double chime when the AS disengages, even though the TACC remains engaged. It should be the same sound when turning off AP using the AP lever. Turning off the TACC using the brakes or the AP lever doesn't make any sound, though.
 

icefree

Member
Apr 8, 2017
196
335
Northern VA
(c) My wife [on the passenger seat] complained a few times the 18 wheelers on the next lane were getting a bit too close for her comfort. Not sure if the algorithm will keep the car always in the center of the lane or will make adjustment base on how close the next car is to mine.
"Truck Lust" seems to be a common problem. I really hope future AP versions add an algorithm to shift away from a truck when passing. Just move 6" away would be much more comfortable. I've also noticed that when passing a truck, there seems to be a bit of a vacuum pull that makes the truck drift closer to you, so even if your Tesla is in the middle of the lane, the truck seems to get pulled in so it's riding right near the line.
 

Leong1234

Member
Jul 23, 2017
20
12
Saratoga
"Truck Lust" seems to be a common problem. I really hope future AP versions add an algorithm to shift away from a truck when passing. Just move 6" away would be much more comfortable. I've also noticed that when passing a truck, there seems to be a bit of a vacuum pull that makes the truck drift closer to you, so even if your Tesla is in the middle of the lane, the truck seems to get pulled in so it's riding right near the line.
I would prefer when AP detect if the car next to me is closer than "normal" (a truck will do that since it is big), then it will have my car to go a bit off the center of the lane .... as long as it does not go over the lane.
 

croman

Active Member
Nov 21, 2016
4,886
7,113
Chicago, IL
I would prefer when AP detect if the car next to me is closer than normal (a truck will do that since it is big), then it will have my car to go a bit off center of the lane .... as long as it does not go over the lane.

It does this and will turn off music and issue an audible beep and will take over and steer away if the truck moves into your lane. Electrek released a video showing active side collision avoidance recently. Just yesterday a truck blew in wind and swayed near my car on the highway with AP engaged and it beeped a warning but took no action.

It always does the ding dong noises when engaging or disengaging autosteer.

AP is light years better than it was a year ago. It's going to be great when they deliver new features.
 
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James60

Member
Oct 18, 2017
5
7
,Charlottesville, VA
on my model S there is a 2 tone chime when the AS is engaged or disengaged. The pitch of the two tones increases when it engages and decreases when it disengages. It also lowers the volume of the sound system.
 

icefree

Member
Apr 8, 2017
196
335
Northern VA
Did anyone notice if AS will automatically slow down the car if the curve is too steep for the speed set by TACC?
As @croman said above, it slows down on some turns. I've tested it in a couple of places where it has slowed down perfectly for the turn. One is a place near me (Point of Rocks, MD, heading south to VA, for those familiar with the area) there is a bridge where you can go 45 mph (tested at 50 mph), and it ends with a tight 90 degree left turn that is marked at 35 mph. The AP handles this surprisingly well. The car slowed down to 34 mph to make the turn cleanly, even with a road that splits off to the right in the middle of the turn. There are other tight turns on this route, and the AP slows down to make the turns cleanly. The one thing I noticed, though, is that these turns are heavily marked with multiple yellow turn signs with the < symbol in the middle of them, around the outer edge of the turn. I suspect the AP sees (don't know if it's object recognition or if it's the radar) these signs and slows down.
 

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