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Setting my wife up for success with Autopilot

Hey guys, I’ve got a 650 mile road trip from NY to NC with my brand new M3 (ver 2022.36.6, no EAP or FSD) coming up next week and plan to switch off driving with my wife a decent amount for the long trip. This is our first big road trip in the Tesla, so she has zero experience with Autopilot and mine is also pretty limited since we’ve mostly been home with our newborn since we got the car.

She’s excited to use Autopilot as am I but I know her damned well and I know that if the car throws her a few curve balls with phantom braking or bad lane-hunting or whatever else that would make her say “Woah, what the hell was that?!?,” she’ll go from loving the Tesla (which she does right now) to absolutely hating it ..which, I of course really want to avoid. The bad reaction will be multiplied by the fact that we’ll have our newborn in the back seat.

So what can we do to help set her up for the best experience with Autopilot?

This is what I’ve go so far but would love to hear your thoughts on these and/or additional suggestions…

  • Use AP only on divided highways
  • Stay in the right lane when we have two lanes (on our side)
  • Stay in the middle lane when it’s three lanes
  • Keep foot close to go peddle in case of phantom braking
  • Set follow distance to 6 or 7
  • Don’t use in construction zones
  • Try to only cancel AP by lifting up the right stalk
  • Don’t use when going through really busy metropolitan hwys?
  • Maybe don’t use it while driving into a low sun?
Should also note I’m writing this post because this long trip will be her first time using AP, so I want it to go well. After she’s used AP for a while and feels more comfortable with it, I’ll be much less concerned about a PB incident happening because she’ll have enough experience to know something like that is the exception, not the rule.

Thanks for the help
 
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RTPEV

Active Member
Mar 21, 2016
1,914
2,625
Durham, NC
It used to be WAY better in stop and go traffic. They then updated it to vision only and now it’s a mess. The FSD beta code stack handles traffic great, so soon hopefully its greatness will carry over to old-school autopilot.
I guess I can't say for sure based on this comment, and the fact that I haven't been in stop-and-go for several months now, but I always found the smoothness during stop-and-go traffic to be just fine. My only complaint is that it was almost TOO smooth, requiring a little nudge on the accelerator to get it to start moving again (somewhat of an exaggeration...it would eventually start moving, but too late and too slow in my opinion).

This whole topic reminds me a bit of my wife. She didn't really like Autopilot and would complain about its idiosyncrasies when I was using it (and by the way, they really are quite rare--I think reading these forums can get people thinking like it's doing something stupid or phantom braking every mile, which is not the case). She absolutely refused to use it herself when driving my car.

And then she got an ID.4 with its lane keeping assist feature, and a dumbed down version of the stop-and-go traffic thing (dumbed down, because while it will come to a complete stop in stop-and-go traffic, if traffic doesn't start moving in a certain amount of time (I think 15 seconds), you have to manually press the accelerator to get it to go again...now THAT is dumb!) So now that she's had a chance to use her version of Autpilot in HER car, now she raves about it. Every time she takes someone for a ride she has to explain all the wonderful things her car can do! Granted, there are one or two things that I think it does better than the Tesla (the merge lane issue with Tesla being one of them), but by and large, it's pretty much the same thing!
 
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The biggest thing is to make sure she understands that if anything looks weird (lanes disappear, construction, police halfway in the lane), simply disengage it by taping the brake. I use my stalk as easily as a turn signal but that takes some learning. Best advice is to drive with it with her explaining the things to watch out for. There arent that many and it works excellent on the freeway (2022 MYP/M3P). My wife was fibbing saying she was using it becuase I never taught her the basics - and she didn't really understand the stalk thing in a quick-response situation. Brakes all the way. Remind any new FSD person that they are driving the car. If it does anything weird, takeover, dont try to figure out if its gonna do something wrong.

Also: Follow distance of 6 make the FSD do something funky - it cant really change a lane in traffic becuase there arent 6 car lengths available in the other lane. Maybe it was updated out. 2 lets it move normally in traffic, and then to avoid tailgating, use the signal to have it switch lanes.
 
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