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Real scare with Autosteer!

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by gg_got_a_tesla, Nov 15, 2015.

  1. gg_got_a_tesla

    gg_got_a_tesla Model S: VIN P65513, Model 3 Res Holder

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    Had a very scary moment yesterday with Autosteer ON going at 70 mph in the left most lane on CA-85 North coming from Cupertino towards Mountain View. This was mid-afternoon with the sun out.

    It was all going smoothly until the lane markings quickly became a bit worn-out-looking (not horribly so, a la 405 down in LA) and, all of a sudden, the car yanked right (even though there was a wide shoulder to the left with the divider far way) and went into a state of panic beeping away as there was another car in the blind spot to the right.

    I was able to take over and pull the wheel hard to the left to avoid a collision. I could hear the guy in the car to the right honking away. Thankfully, I had my hands resting just beneath the wheel and was able to react quickly.

    Wife and son were in the car and, needless to say, wife was terrified enough (as she could see the car real close to the right) to forbid me from doing any more "beta testing and data generation on Tesla's behalf" (as she put it) with Autosteer except on open, inter-city highways.

    My confidence in Autosteer is a bit shaken too although all my prior experience thus far on the far more congested 101, 92 and 880 during rush hours has been smooth.
     
  2. eclipxe

    eclipxe Member

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    Was the car in a turn or going straight? Was it applying torque to the left and then released that torque?
     
  3. NielsChr

    NielsChr Member

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    It had to come, and I guess it will not be last time we hear something like this.

    I decided last week that I would stop "Beta" testing on every road posible, not that I have had any scary moment, but I could see something like you describe coming.
    Tesla should never have called this "autopilot", they should have called it "Lane Keep Assistant (LKA)" - this way people would know what kind of behavior to expect from the system - it's an assistant, not fully automatic.
    If you engage "TACC" and "LKA" (Tesla's AP) - you may experience some sort of "autopilot" - but steering is still just an assistant and should be constantly monitored.

    I will only use AP on highway (and I enjoy using it) - due to the fact that there is only traffic going in same direction as my self- should a misbehave occur, it will hopefully not be catastrophic.
    And of couse I will still allow myself to use AP outside Highways when going slow in a que - e.g. at speed below 40 km/t.


    I experienced today when driving at highway (AP was on) all of a suden't tesla is beeping and a red car is showing in dash coming onto my Tesla at great speed, however looking out the front windows did not show any car in my lane (there was a bus in the lane next to me) :). My Tesla did slow down a little to avoid impact, but it realized soon that there was no car in front of me (red car had passed through the tesla) – false alarm.
    I guess it is a BETA, but it works damm good, and happy I sold my old P85 and got a new P85d with AP HW.
     
  4. Panoz

    Panoz Member

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    It was my belief that Tesla already knows about your incident, yes? Don't the cars upload lane-keeping errors to the mothership?
     
  5. scottf200

    scottf200 Active Member

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    So they were not on/lightly_holding the steering wheel as instructed?
     
  6. jpet

    jpet Jan P.

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    I also experienced this same phenomenon twice but it was on low speed roads. All of a sudden the car detects a false positive. Strange that this is possible with the multitude of sensors in place (radar + camera + ultrasonic). The front ultrasonic sensors probably are of not much help but the camera in combination with the radar should be able to avoid false positives. Anyways, I prefer having a false positive once in a while compared to not having the system detect a real car on a collision course.
     
  7. gg_got_a_tesla

    gg_got_a_tesla Model S: VIN P65513, Model 3 Res Holder

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    Going almost dead-straight in that stretch.

    Done.

    Fair criticism. :) The point though maybe that the weird behavior would have happened even with my hands on the wheel. There were no "Hold me" warnings - that I had seen in the past when the system was unsure about conditions - leading up to the incident itself. It was out of the blue.
     
  8. scottf200

    scottf200 Active Member

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    #9 scottf200, Nov 15, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2015
    Glad everyone is physically OK. Sorry that has shaken you and your wife some.

    I am happy this is being tested out and reported whenever there are problems. That benefits everyone. Doesn't sound like you had much warning. I'm planning on using Autosteer but will follow the directions and keep my hands lightly on the wheel. Fractions of seconds can count as you have witnessed first hand.
     
  9. msnow

    msnow Active Member

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    I've had similar situations although no one was in the car with me. I don't find AP relaxing or safer. Using it less and less as the novelty wares off.
     
  10. Canuck

    Canuck Active Member

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    Interesting. I wonder if this would happen to me too. Unless I was certain the car wouldn't make a mistake, I suspect I might prefer driving than having to monitor the car doing the driving. I won't know until I upgrade but this gives me more reasons to wait for more hardware with 2.0.
     
  11. RDoc

    RDoc S85D

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    I had a somewhat scary situation where I was passing a truck with lane keeping on and just as the front of the car got even with the front of the trailer's rear wheels the car tried to swerve into the truck and a warning came on. I did have my hand on the wheel and overrode it, but it was a bit too close. I'm not at all sure this software is ready for public use and am now pretty wary of it.
     
  12. JenniferQ

    JenniferQ Member

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    I liken it to having a learner driver at the wheel. I am always ready to take over and always looking out for trouble spots. Lately, I have been having trouble with it changing lanes. Used to do it just fine, but many times over the past week I put the indicator on after checking that it's clear, and car just ignores it and stays in the lane. Not sure what's changed?
     
  13. Tdriver

    Tdriver Member

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    They OP stated that the lane markers were fading out......that is the first clue things are not going well and you better turn off AP. Construction zones present the same situation......get off the AP. You need excellent lane markings not dots or faded lines.
     
  14. beeeerock

    beeeerock Active Member

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    I find that driving with your hands at 10 and 2 is still the best plan. Let the wheel turn as it will but keep your hands gripping. If it's going to do something weird, you'll know by the sudden movement of the steering wheel and you'll be able to compensate without too much drama. I don't think I've ever had it do something dangerous in a smooth and gentle fashion!

    I note that the AP actually pops up a message telling the driver to keep holding the wheel when it activates. I treat AP as a function that looks after the fine tuning of the steering so I don't have to concentrate quite as hard. But obviously it isn't going to avoid a pothole or anything unusual. It's definitely not a self drive system and I don't let it do any of the thinking for me!!

    As the software improves, I expect we'll be able to let it take more responsibility for the driving, but that time is not now. I firmly believe you need to have your hands on the wheel at all times.
     
  15. calisnow

    calisnow Active Member

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    My experience with 1000 miles and a week of Autopilot use is that I either drive myself with AP off, or I keep my hands in my lap. The feeling of the wheel tugging at my hands isn't comfortable and doesn't seem to me to reduce my fatigue level. If I keep one hand lightly on the bottom of the wheel with the arm in my lap it also doesn't seem to me to do much for safety, if anything. My hand at the bottom of the wheel has very little control or ability to counter-steer against errors - I still need to raise my hands up to 10 and 2 to make them really effective - so, might as well keep them in my lap.

    So if I am keeping my hands on the wheel I keep AP off - it's more comfortable to drive that way and I can keep centered in the lane with little pressure on the wheel.

    You can go on all you like about what people SHOULD do - the reality is that many if not most people are going to keep their hands in their laps - and many who do may not admit it on an internet forum.

    Musk and company must have known the reality of how humans behaved before they released the software into the wild - Tesla is not stupid. And so we can infer from the fact that they released it despite knowing how people actually behave (not safety nerds who are going to keep their hands on the wheel while using an autopilot) - that they, in reality believed that the hands-in-the-lap behavior is reasonably safe, and that the warnings to "take control" give an alert driver enough time to move their hands to the wheel and avert disaster.

    The disclaimer "keep your hands on the wheel" instruction is legal CYA behavior.

    Now, we can argue about whether Tesla's judgment that Autopilot was/is safe enough to release into the wild is correct judgment - but I don't think there's much argument to be made as to whether or not Musk realized that a huge portion of the user-base would keep their hands in the lap. He must have designed the software knowing that would be the behavior of many users.
     
  16. hcsharp

    hcsharp Active Member

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    Your post pretty much sums up how I use AP. I always keep my hands at 10 and 2 o'clock. Since I have to keep my hands there and pay attention anyway, AP is more of a fun novelty than a real autopilot. But it still makes driving a little easier and more relaxing. I don't believe it's safe to keep your hands in your lap lightly holding the wheel.
     
  17. scottf200

    scottf200 Active Member

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    So the above underline is what one (or one's family) would use in the case of a severe accident and one decided it is Tesla's fault in the lawsuit? Let your passengers read the OP post so they know what you decided for them.

    With light hands anywhere on the wheel you can squeeze and stop the wheel from rotating into ramp, truck, exit, cones, etc. When caught soon enough it does not take much rotation length to do the correct action but you have to catch it soon.
     
  18. Footbag

    Footbag Member

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    I also had a frightening experience with AP yesterday. I was letting a friend drive the car and experience it. Good lane markings, AP on, drivers hands were hovering over the wheel (when on the wheel, he would constantly/unwittingly disengage AP), when out of the blue, the car beeped, put up that red prompt to take over immediately, and swerved hard into the next rightmost lane. The lane was clear (I hope its sensors are in play, to prevent a side impact in such a situation), but there was a car just behind us that we ended up cutting off. The driver took over, so it is unknown if the car would have only made the sudden/sharp/unexpected lane change, or if it would have kept going into the curb.

    The rest of the AP experience worked well enough, but my friend was not a fan, understandably (tho he did like autopark).

    Just after the event, I did try the report a bug voice command twice, but it responded with Unknown Command... unsure if it really doesn't like commands from the passengers seat (report a bug had worked for me in the past, obviously from drivers seat)
     
  19. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    It's clear to me that at this point AP is best suited for long trips on well marked freeways and divided highways with no cross traffic, or stop and go freeway traffic at low speeds. Those are driving situations where AP can reduce driver fatigue. AP is not appropriate for most other driving situations, and if it is used the driver has to pay close attention and keep their hands on or very close to the wheel and be ready to take over instantly.
    While AP is going to improve very rapidly, with the current sensor suite I just can't see it being safe to use outside of the two driving situations I describe above.
    The current AP is a big step towards autonomous driving, and I admire Tesla for pushing forward and working hard to advance the technology. In a few years we will look back on the current AP capabilities and consider them extremely basic.
     

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