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My Near Miss Collision on Tesla Auto Pilot, What Happened?


[VIDEO LINK ABOVE]

Was on NOA (Toronto, Canada) and my Tesla (M3 SR+, Full Autopilot, latest version) got stuck in a situation I've grown to fear a bit on AP (changing lanes on the highway on autopilot, another car decides to pop in quickly, and no corrective action or warning whatsoever by the Tesla). Luckily the collision didn't happen, but it was damn close. Closer than I've ever been with an otherwise flawless car experience (best car I've owned by a lightyear).

Have a look at the footage, I'd really appreciate your take on this and don't want to bias with my analysis. What I don't quite understand is why the Tesla didn't alert me in any way. No proximity warning of any kind, let alone any corrective action (the corrective action you see is me noticing it at the last moment and manually forcing the car away). After being in this situation of lane changing a few times (this one being the worst) now I'm guessing AP is just not meant to do anything in these situations, but I have to admit that's pretty surprising. It seems like it's more than capable to do something like alert me in some way, if not correct on its own the way lane departure may work. It would be even more ideal if it would honk the horn on its own if, say, it detected something extremely close to it at highway speeds from the side.

Anyway, I'm curious what you guys think happened here and what you think I could do to be safer on AP. I do believe I was not at fault here, and am curious what you think insurance companies would think if they saw this. I've since turned the blind spot camera back on but I honestly think it wouldn't have helped me much in this situation given how quickly the white car placed itself in my lane.

Thanks everyone, love my car and I wish you all safe driving!
 
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First of all, it's a good thing you were attentive and took corrective action. The takeaway from this is that your car will learn from this incident and hopefully will factor your actions into its algorithm. The AP has a dynamic AI that learns on the fly from crowdsourced data from other cars in the fleet and from your personal driving experiences.

In this situation, the AP on the highway is a different beast then AP on FSD Beta driving on city streets. So it may be a bit more "dumb" in how it reacts to adverse lane interactions. I've observed that it behaves more as a glorified cruise control system at best. It does its job well in changing lanes, speeds, etc., but under the premise all other drivers are behaving safely. You're ultimately are responsible for what your car does as it is only operating under Level 2 semi-autonomous driving. It operates as an Advanced Driver Assistance System that provide ways to assist the driver using a variety of high tech features (i.e. glorified cruise control).

On the other hand, the video capture would have helped you make a case to your insurance company about your culpability in this incident. I noticed the other car did not have any blinking turn lights. So that in itself was an improper lane change on their part. I am not sure if they would have asked you for data as to whether the car was on AP at the time. However, I don't think that would have mattered as the fault would still lie with the driver who committed the moving violation infraction.
 
Thanks folks. Totally understand how it's my responsibility, and it happened so fast that I doubt it's a coin toss if I would have been able to react this fast should it happen again.

But it's true, the other car did not signal, and tried merging behind me. If I saw a car signalling ahead of me I would have definitely not approved the lane change just to be safe.

I would absolutely love it if the Tesla would have alerted me that there was a car too close to me on the side. That would 100% have helped me. I just found it weird that the car was absolutely silent in every way. No force on the steering wheel, no sound, no correction. It's true I intervened but if I hadn't, there was probably only a fraction of a second left before a collison would take place so I'm not sure how much more time the Tesla would have needed to do something, including alerting me.
 
Normally, it should pull you back into your lane. Mine has done that both correctly as well as overly cautiously before (no danger but it still pulled me back). Maybe just unlucky timing for you. I recommend checking the side you’re merging into for such hazards every time - I don’t quite trust it myself even though I know what it should do if it senses danger.

There is also a blind spot alert, but I think it will only go off if you’re driving yourself and make a lane change (no autopilot)
 
Were the blind spot camera and Collision warning chime turned on?

Even still, per the manual it’s not guaranteed to 100% warn you about this exact situation.

Engineering wise, it’s an extremely difficult problem to create and program an alarm that would warn you in that situation and also not generate a tone of false positives every time you pass a car in another lane or merge into a lane with another car in the car lane.
 
Were the blind spot camera and Collision warning chime turned on?

Even still, per the manual it’s not guaranteed to 100% warn you about this exact situation.

Engineering wise, it’s an extremely difficult problem to create and program an alarm that would warn you in that situation and also not generate a tone of false positives every time you pass a car in another lane or merge into a lane with another car in the car lane.

Blind spot cameras, as in the new feature that shows the cameras on screen? I had those off on the screen, but I imagine they're still on and doing their thing otherwise I don't even know how AP would be possible. And yes, collision warning has always been on.

I understand the engineering challenge to some extent as a software engineer in autonomous robotics, but this specific situation seems like one that isn't massively difficult to accommodate. Proximity above a certain speed during a lane change is also such a common collision scenario.
 

S4WRXTTCS

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2015
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Snohomish, WA
This is a perfect example why we can't ever trust auto-lane change.

The sensor suite is limited where all it has to work with is a single side rear facing camera, and some ultrasonics. A proper system would use side rear facing radar to detect moving vehicles in addition to the camera.

The total awareness of FSD seems limited. Like it should have seen the car using its turn signals before it made the lane change (27 seconds into the video it looks like they did, but its not very clear as you really need the video from the other camera).

I don't typically use auto-lane change in heavy traffic like this where there is a lot of chaos. I do enjoy using the auto-lane change in mild traffic where I'm mostly doing lane change to pass, and get back over.

I never use NoA as every time I use it the thing drives me nuts.
 
Seems like it was the other driver's fault for doing a sudden lane change without checking their blind spot. I'm personally very wary of changing lane into another driver's blind spot, it's just temping fate. In this case with the queuing traffic there wasn't much choice though. I doubt the Tesla system has this level of heuristics.
 

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