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Newbie Question: Menu turning blue during autopilot signals what?

RickW

Member
Aug 5, 2019
147
77
Seattle
Hi,

I am new to Tesla. I have a Model 3 AWD and ran Auto Pilot for the first time. Things were going well for a while. I had my hand on the steering wheel with my heart in my mouth of course. Everything was fine for about 5 miles and then the screen started turning blue. This was just above the left sided title bar. It started to get more blue and then bells chimed. I wrestled to get back control of the wheel - something I learned could have been avoided had I pressed brake or flipped the gear stick upward - eitther of these would have canceled autopilot. I have no idea what the deep blue screen stands for.
If anyone could enlighten me that would be great.
 

fseir

Member
May 1, 2016
663
509
Honolulu
Hi,

I am new to Tesla. I have a Model 3 AWD and ran Auto Pilot for the first time. Things were going well for a while. I had my hand on the steering wheel with my heart in my mouth of course. Everything was fine for about 5 miles and then the screen started turning blue. This was just above the left sided title bar. It started to get more blue and then bells chimed. I wrestled to get back control of the wheel - something I learned could have been avoided had I pressed brake or flipped the gear stick upward - eitther of these would have canceled autopilot. I have no idea what the deep blue screen stands for.
If anyone could enlighten me that would be great.
It’s telling you to put your hands on the wheel, but if they were, you might have been applying equal weight to each side of the wheel, balancing it out. Try just one hand, or wiggle the wheel slightly next time, to make sure it senses some torque.
 
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pk44FG

Member
Jun 5, 2019
39
36
cary, nc
It’s telling you to put your hands on the wheel, but if they were, you might have been applying equal weight to each side of the wheel, balancing it out. Try just one hand, or wiggle the wheel slightly next time, to make sure it senses some torque.
You could also increase or decrease the speed by scrolling the wheel button a notch. I prefer that as I am scared of tugging at the wheel too hard and disengaging autopilot.
 
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Jul 28, 2019
490
469
Brandon, Manitoba
Usually before the blue, it displays a message to apply a "Slight" pressure to the steering wheel, then if you don't notice, it goes the the blue screen with the same message. I have not had it go beyond that. It does not require a lot of pressure, just a little bit of a wiggle will do it. You will get used to it, with time and experience.
 
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KokW

Member
May 23, 2019
118
43
Apeldoorn
Apply pressure is somewhat misleading, you dont press the steering wheel down per se. There isnt a sensor for a downward pressure.

Its more when the steering wheel turns, you have to slightly hold the steering wheel (or steer against it), so that de car 'feels' a resistance.
 
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swaltner

Active Member
Oct 13, 2012
1,614
1,634
Kansas, USA
As others mentioned, it’s a slight torque (turning force) that is sensed. It is not touch sensitive like a smartphone. It does not sense a tight grip of your fingers around the wheel.

I typically rest my hand like this when driving with autopilot engaged. The weight of my hand and arm applies enough torque on the wheel to generally keep the system happy.

Edit: And enjoy the new car. It’s a great road trip machine and Autopilot is one of the major reasons why (once you learn how the system works and get comfortable with the situations it can’t handle). Treat the system like you would a teenager that is learning to drive and you’ll have a good time with it. I’ve got a 1,500 mile road trip (total distance over several days) coming up soon. Easy peasy and inexpensive in a Model 3

BAFA6B1A-BA29-40E2-B751-851FDC81B2EA.jpeg
 
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RickW

Member
Aug 5, 2019
147
77
Seattle
Thanks @swaltner et al. I actually had my hand on the steering wheel which is why I was stunned by this happening. And @tuoncan I read the manual twice before the weekend and again on Saturday evening when I picked up the car. I am still a little apprehensive and I've decided to hold on using Autopilot until I am a little more familiar with the car. As a daily commuter it has been amazing. I am using the Adaptive Cruise Control and this thing aces everything in traffic. I still keep control of the steering for now, but this weekend I will try other settings in the early morning hours. Additionally, I am keeping the car in Chill Mode until the weekend when I will pick my favorite switchbacks and drive the car for real. Thanks for the help above.
 

Fernand

Active Member
Mar 22, 2019
1,542
1,541
Northern california
I drive 90% of the time in NOA, or AP/AS if not available, and I love it. But I still find the required "torque" tricky. I knocked it out of AP a couple of times again recently, apparently because I was stressed that day and jerked it. Then you're out of AS and might not realize it, with potentially unpleasant results. You need to work out a method, and above all, learn to keep an eye on whether AS is engaged (or not) at all times. I my 2 cases above, it was back on in a second, no problem at all, because I do follow the blue lines on the display out of the corner of my eye.
 
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Az_Rael

Supporting Member
Jan 26, 2016
5,633
8,815
Palmdale, CA
I actually had my hand on the steering wheel which is why I was stunned by this happening.

Yeah, the "AP Grip" is something you have to learn. It is more force than you might use when driving manually on a straight road, but you have to balance that with not pulling so hard you disengage.

Also, cars appear to have different tolerances for how much torque the wheel sensor requires. Our S doesn't need that much force, but my 3 needs a firm tug at all times. Tesla service has not been able to adjust my 3, so I have just learned to live with it.
 

ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Sep 21, 2013
19,276
13,947
West Vancouver, British Columbia
You could also increase or decrease the speed by scrolling the wheel button a notch. I prefer that as I am scared of tugging at the wheel too hard and disengaging autopilot.
I don’t think that simply moving the wheel button slightly to change TACC speed a bit is what is “defeating the nag”. When you do that you are likely applying a very slight torque to the wheel, in the same way that you can do with your hand on the wheel.

I recommend that you practice apply a very slight amount of torque to the wheel with your hand. It doesn’t take much. Practice, and learn how much torque is required to disengage AP. It’s significant.

I typically rest my hand like this when driving with autopilot engaged. The weight of my hand and arm applies enough torque on the wheel to generally keep the system happy.
I do the same.
 
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brkaus

Well-Known Member
Jul 8, 2014
7,890
6,384
Austin, TX
My suggestion is practice. Practice the grip required to stay interacting with the car. More important, practice the grip it takes to seamlessly break out of AP and maintain full control.
 
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ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Sep 21, 2013
19,276
13,947
West Vancouver, British Columbia
My suggestion is practice. Practice the grip required to stay interacting with the car. More important, practice the grip it takes to seamlessly break out of AP and maintain full control.
I think it is indeed important to practice that so that you understand what is required to disengage Auto Steer manually in an emergency situation. I think Tesla did a good job of programming the amount of torque required; not so little as to make inadvertent disengagement’s likely, but not so much that anyone with sufficient arm strength for driving can do it.

Using Tesla Auto Pilot requires developing a new mindset about driving, but once you get it AP enables much more relaxed and stress-free long distance travel.
 

favo

P3D+ owner
Apr 5, 2012
1,043
1,140
Durham, NC
I don’t think that simply moving the wheel button slightly to change TACC speed a bit is what is “defeating the nag”. When you do that you are likely applying a very slight torque to the wheel, in the same way that you can do with your hand on the wheel.
Using either scroll wheel will defeat the nag, no torque needed. Try it. This was added in a software update last year.
 

DopeGhoti

Active Member
Aug 28, 2019
1,229
1,391
Phoenix, AZ
I knocked it out of AP a couple of times again recently, apparently because I was stressed that day and jerked it. Then you're out of AS and might not realize it, with potentially unpleasant results. You need to work out a method, and above all, learn to keep an eye on whether AS is engaged (or not) at all times.
I realize that if you're stressed you may not have noticed, but in general whenever you wrest steering away from AP, leaving TACC on, you do get the friendly "beep-boop" to let you know that steering has been released to you. I also feel like the bright blue Autosteer indicator being near the speedometer, and even closer to your line of vision, was a deliberate choice by the UI design team.
 

AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
10,004
12,056
San Diego
The pictured positions of people’s hands when using AP make me a little sad.

OP, with a little practice, one can satisfy the nags while using Autosteer, while keeping hands at the NHTSA-recommended 9 and 3 positions. You just have to make sure you are applying a bit more dead weight with one hand than the other. It takes practice with where you rest your elbows to make sure to apply more torque to one side of the wheel, but it is possible.

Since that is possible, obviously you could do just 9 or just 3, it is just less safe. Much much better than 7 o’ clock though.

Just to see the difference in safety, try sudden evasive maneuvers around a small cone or other harmless obstacle in a empty parking lot, starting with one hand at the 7 o’ clock position with your arm in your lap, vs. the one hand at 9 or 3, vs both hands.

You never know when an emergency maneuver will be required while on AP.
 
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MentalNomad

Member
Dec 6, 2018
385
424
USA
I am still a little apprehensive and I've decided to hold on using Autopilot until I am a little more familiar with the car.

Don't be - it's actually safe and easy to learn the necessary force.

Just turn on AP and don't hold the wheel at all. You can watch and be ready to grab it, but don't touch it if the car is driving fine. Watch for the system to respond:

First, it will have a black notice in front of the car icon on screen, asking for you to apply torque to the wheel to assure the car you are still there. Don't do it.

Next, it will start doing the blue flashing to get your attention. Now, put your hands gently on the wheel. The flashing will continue. Now, apply slight turning force to the wheel, very gently, getting stronger until the blue flashing stops. It should feel less like "trying to take over and change lanes" and more like "persuading the car to move over within the lane."

There's a wide gap between the force that satisfies the computer that you're still there vs the force necessary to take over.

I say to do this with your hands off the wheel to ensure the warning comes on... if you have your hands on the wheel, even gently, you may not get the warning for a long time. One little nudge, resisting the turn the car is making, and the computer will know you're there, resetting the timer.

Note, also: this will not work at very slow speeds. When you're in stop-and-go traffic among other cars, and the car is certain about the lane and the surroundings, it will not nag you at all for many minutes. It's critical to know this if you're in a construction zone, where the AP has been known to make mistakes - recent versions are beginning to recognize construction zones and warn you.
 

DopeGhoti

Active Member
Aug 28, 2019
1,229
1,391
Phoenix, AZ
While I realize you're saying 'keep your hands off the wheel' to help train the driver to see the AP prompts, this is not at present a good habit to be in. As Tesla (the company) and Tesla (the car) repeatedly say, you should keep a hand on the wheel at all times so that, should an emergent situation come up where you do need to take over immediately, you simply do. One of these trains of thought gets to the station more rapidly:

"Should I take over? Yes, taking over now."

"Should I take over? Yes, I should. Hand is where? Wheel is where? Move hand to wheel. Grasp wheel. Taking over now."

This is the core difference between L2 and L3 autonomy. At Level two, you need to be vigilant and always ready to take over immediately. At level three, the car should be able to tell you with notice "hey, you will need to take over; get ready".
 

RayK

Active Member
Apr 5, 2016
1,965
1,911
San Jose, CA
I don’t think that simply moving the wheel button slightly to change TACC speed a bit is what is “defeating the nag”. When you do that you are likely applying a very slight torque to the wheel, in the same way that you can do with your hand on the wheel.
Try this the next time your are in AP and get the nag: using just the tip of your finger, change the volume of the audio system with the leftside scroll wheel.
 

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