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Possible Autosteer Enhancement - Temporary Left or Right Side Lane Preference

Andyw2100

Well-Known Member
Oct 22, 2014
6,542
2,443
Ithaca, NY
While reading the many reports that have already started coming in from those that have experienced Autosteer, I think I've identified a possibility for future improvement.

Many people are describing how in one situation or another, the car is too close to one side of the lane or the other for their liking. For example, one poster described being in the HOV lane, moving quickly, with much slower traffic in the lane to the right. In that situation he would have preferred the Autosteer have kept the car further from the slower cars, and more to the left side of the HOV lane. I believe someone else described a similar example with a bike lane on their right. Someone else described a situation where there was a barrier to the left, and they would have preferred the car drive closer to the right side of the lane.

I think if there was a way to indicate to the Autosteer system that for the time-being, it should attempt to drive more to the left or more to the right side of the lane, that would be helpful. I was trying to think of the controls that could be used to indicate this, so that I could send a complete suggestion along these lines to Tesla, but I couldn't immediately think of a good input method to be able to indicate this, as well as change the current preference when needed.

What do others think? If you think this idea could be helpful, do you have any good suggestions with respect to how the setting could be controlled?

Thanks!

- - - Updated - - -

I just thought of one possible way to provide the input. Perhaps some of you will come up with something better, or reasons why the following wouldn't work.

A short, simultaneous press of both scroll wheels could initiate the selection mode. The small car could blink to indicate the selection mode is active, or some indicator could come on above it or something. Then pressing either scroll wheel would move the car in that direction within the lane. There could even be, say, five settings within a lane: far left, left, centered, right, and far right. (If that's too complicated, three would be fine.) Not pressing the scroll wheel for a few seconds "locks" the decision on which location within the lane you'd like set. When you're ready to make a change, you repeat the process. When Autosteer starts up, by default it would start up with the car centered in the lane.

Thoughts?
 

trils0n

2013 P85
Feb 12, 2013
1,529
1,982
Earth
Elon mentioned in the conference call that the car will sometimes favor one side of the lane. The example he gave was driving next to an over-sized truck you don't want to be centered in your lane, but instead move over a bit. I think it would be a good idea to let the user set it. Would also be nice for driving in the HOV lane to favor left to give motorcycles more room to lane split.
 
I like the idea because I also had an issue with the car driving too far to one side of the lane.

As for how to control it, why not just gently tug the steering wheel left or right to slowly move the "target position" in that direction? It would need visual feedback in the instrument cluster showing that the target position was moving relative to the lane lines. With this scheme there's no need for a finite number of positions; it could be continuously variable.
 

Andyw2100

Well-Known Member
Oct 22, 2014
6,542
2,443
Ithaca, NY
I like the idea because I also had an issue with the car driving too far to one side of the lane.

As for how to control it, why not just gently tug the steering wheel left or right to slowly move the "target position" in that direction? It would need visual feedback in the instrument cluster showing that the target position was moving relative to the lane lines. With this scheme there's no need for a finite number of positions; it could be continuously variable.

How would you enter the mode that lets the system know you are trying to instruct the car to stay closer to one side of the lane? I think using the steering wheel could presents all sorts of problems.
 

SomeJoe7777

Marginally-Known Member
Mar 28, 2015
2,257
6,051
Houston, TX
While autosteering is active, pull on cruise control stalk --> puts you in lane alignment setting mode.

Tap cruise control stalk up/down to fine-tune lane position.

5 settings: Centered, favor left side, favor right side, favor left side and don't use right side line marking for guidance, favor right side and don't use left side line marking for guidance.

Lane alignment setting mode times out after 5 seconds, returning up/down function of cruise control stalk to TACC speed adjustment.

Any time autosteer is disengaged, setting returns to centered.
 

Max*

Charging
Apr 8, 2015
6,672
3,835
NoVa
While autosteering is active, pull on cruise control stalk --> puts you in lane alignment setting mode.

Tap cruise control stalk up/down to fine-tune lane position.

5 settings: Centered, favor left side, favor right side, favor left side and don't use right side line marking for guidance, favor right side and don't use left side line marking for guidance.

Lane alignment setting mode times out after 5 seconds, returning up/down function of cruise control stalk to TACC speed adjustment.

Any time autosteer is disengaged, setting returns to centered.


I like this. A lot.
 
While autosteering is active, pull on cruise control stalk --> puts you in lane alignment setting mode.

Tap cruise control stalk up/down to fine-tune lane position.

5 settings: Centered, favor left side, favor right side, favor left side and don't use right side line marking for guidance, favor right side and don't use left side line marking for guidance.

Lane alignment setting mode times out after 5 seconds, returning up/down function of cruise control stalk to TACC speed adjustment.

Any time autosteer is disengaged, setting returns to centered.

Is this how it is with v7 or is this a suggestion?
 

SomeJoe7777

Marginally-Known Member
Mar 28, 2015
2,257
6,051
Houston, TX
Different idea: You could also use the button at the end of the TACC stalk. It does nothing now.

I considered that, but if I remember correctly, there have been a few posts here by some people that, for whatever reason, have a cruise control stalk that doesn't have a button on the end. (Parts supply issue?) So I wanted to avoid requiring the button.
 
I like the idea because I also had an issue with the car driving too far to one side of the lane.

As for how to control it, why not just gently tug the steering wheel left or right to slowly move the "target position" in that direction? It would need visual feedback in the instrument cluster showing that the target position was moving relative to the lane lines. With this scheme there's no need for a finite number of positions; it could be continuously variable.
I like this idea. It also could be used to nudge the car to the correct side for road splits. IMHO there needs to be a way for the driver to give the autosteering some help. As it is now, it's all or nothing.
 

mspohr

Well-Known Member
Jul 27, 2014
10,993
14,098
California
How about voice control? "KEEP TO THE LEFT! NO! YOUR OTHER LEFT! AHHHHH!"
I don't think it would be a good idea to develop a complex control suite to tweak the autopilot. It's most likely to just lead to confusion for most people. I think that Tesla has a path to improve the software through the mechanism currently in place where it continually collects data on how people drive on each road. Over time, this database can fine tune the operation of the autopilot to the point where is "knows" that drivers prefer to keep to the right or the left on a particular section of road or in a particular situation.
 
How would you enter the mode that lets the system know you are trying to instruct the car to stay closer to one side of the lane?

There wouldn't be any special mode; the car would constantly sense the torque on the steering wheel as long as autosteering was active (it already does this part), and respond appropriately when a medium torque was sensed. And just like SomeJoe7777's scheme, "any time autosteer is disengaged, setting returns to centered."

I think this would be a very intuitive control scheme, and easily discoverable since the natural response when you feel the car is too close to one side of the lane is to pull the wheel towards the other side. I think most drivers would figure it out without even reading the instructions, especially if the car gives good visual and/or auditory feedback.

The hard part would be figuring out how much torque is a medium torque. The car would need to distinguish 4 different torque levels:

TorqueDescriptionResponse
NoneDriver not touching the wheelNone
SmallDriver touching the wheel, not intentionally turning itNone
MediumDriver turning the wheel gentlyMove target position, give feedback
LargeDriver turning the wheel firmlyDisengage autosteer

Since the response to "None" and "Small" is the same, the car really only needs to distinguish 3 torque levels. I have no idea whether the torque sensor is sensitive enough to achieve this, or whether it would be easy enough for drivers to apply the right amount of torque to control it. But if those hurdles could be overcome, I think this would work great.
 
There wouldn't be any special mode; the car would constantly sense the torque on the steering wheel as long as autosteering was active (it already does this part), and respond appropriately when a medium torque was sensed. And just like SomeJoe7777's scheme, "any time autosteer is disengaged, setting returns to centered."

I think this would be a very intuitive control scheme, and easily discoverable since the natural response when you feel the car is too close to one side of the lane is to pull the wheel towards the other side. I think most drivers would figure it out without even reading the instructions, especially if the car gives good visual and/or auditory feedback.

The hard part would be figuring out how much torque is a medium torque. The car would need to distinguish 4 different torque levels:

TorqueDescriptionResponse
NoneDriver not touching the wheelNone
SmallDriver touching the wheel, not intentionally turning itNone
MediumDriver turning the wheel gentlyMove target position, give feedback
LargeDriver turning the wheel firmlyDisengage autosteer
Since the response to "None" and "Small" is the same, the car really only needs to distinguish 3 torque levels. I have no idea whether the torque sensor is sensitive enough to achieve this, or whether it would be easy enough for drivers to apply the right amount of torque to control it. But if those hurdles could be overcome, I think this would work great.

In my opinion it would be a mistake to combine a user interface control and a critical function (the steering wheel).
 
Elon mentioned in the conference call that the car will sometimes favor one side of the lane. The example he gave was driving next to an over-sized truck you don't want to be centered in your lane, but instead move over a bit. I think it would be a good idea to let the user set it. Would also be nice for driving in the HOV lane to favor left to give motorcycles more room to lane split.

I only have a couple of data points but so far when AP has passed semi trucks it seems to immediately move TOWARDS them in my lane. I'm not sure why that would be.

I would definitely prefer AP to make smarter automatic decisions on where to drive in the lane based on surrounding traffic.
 

Andyw2100

Well-Known Member
Oct 22, 2014
6,542
2,443
Ithaca, NY
I don't think it would be a good idea to develop a complex control suite to tweak the autopilot. It's most likely to just lead to confusion for most people. I think that Tesla has a path to improve the software through the mechanism currently in place where it continually collects data on how people drive on each road. Over time, this database can fine tune the operation of the autopilot to the point where is "knows" that drivers prefer to keep to the right or the left on a particular section of road or in a particular situation.

As I envision it, this would be an advanced user option that would only be used to override the basic actions of the autopilot due to personal preference. The only way people would know the ability to do this even exists would be if they read the manual / release notes, or if they educated themselves some other way, like through reading up on things on forums like this one. If the only way to access the functionality was through something semi-obscure, like a short simultaneous scroll-wheel button push, there wouldn't be much chance of people winding up in that mode unintentionally.

Even if over time the autopilot does learn, and does start staying closer to the left in the HOV lane, and further away from slow moving traffic, some users might prefer that it --NOT-- do that. I think the ability to set this preference on an individual basis, as individual situations arise can only enhance the autosteer functionality, as long as it is implemented well. People who don't want to use it won't use it, but it allows more flexibility for those that want some control.



I only have a couple of data points but so far when AP has passed semi trucks it seems to immediately move TOWARDS them in my lane. I'm not sure why that would be.

I would definitely prefer AP to make smarter automatic decisions on where to drive in the lane based on surrounding traffic.

This is really a separate issue. Presumably Tesla will improve the system's abilities on their own such that it learns to move away from trucks rather than towards them.
 

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