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Two Oh Sh*t Auto-Pilot moments

Discussion in 'Model S' started by luvnMyTS, Aug 5, 2016.

  1. luvnMyTS

    luvnMyTS Member

    Jan 6, 2015
    Los Angeles, CA
    Am usually pretty comfortable with Auto Pilot's capabilities and weaknesses. I always pay attention and thank got that was true today. Had two Oh *sugar* moments just a couple of minutes apart.

    On my same daily path, on the freeway, no traffic at this point in time, was in the carpool lane cruising along with auto-pilot at 68 MPH (65 zone) when travelling around a very slight bend, toward the end of that bend the car decided it wanted to keep bending, crossing the yellow line to the left very abruptly and damn near hitting the center divider wall. There's not much room between the yellow line and the wall. For whatever reason, when in the far left carpool lane, auto pilot always has a habit of hugging the left side of the lane, closest to the wall. Makes me nervous every time. In regular lanes, it's well centered, except when beside a big rig, it tends to hover closest to the side of the big rig. This seems to be an area that needs improvement as it consistently wants to be closer to walls and large vehicles. Today, my nervousness came to fruition with that abrupt left. Thank god I was paying attention and was able to swerve to the right.

    Second moment came about two miles later where traffic started to pick up a little. Was down to around 50 mph. Used the blinker for auto-pilot to change lanes. Speed was still set to 68, but car automatically slowed due to the traffic in front. A car to the right had just passed. Another thing I'm not crazy about with autopilot is that when you're stuck behind a car that slows you below the set speed, once that traffic clears, the car is very abrupt in trying to regain speed back to the set limit rather than a nice, natural gradual increase back to the set speed. Anyway, car to the right had just passed, I put on the blinker to pull in behind. Apparently as the car changed lanes, it saw the open space between the two cars and thought the lane was clear as it nailed the gas and headed straight toward the car that had just passed me. This one scared the crap out of me. Well, I guess the first one did too!! But this one got VERY close. Couldn't have been more than a foot between my front bumper and the rear bumper of the car before I got the car slowed down. The other car was probably travelling 55 mph and my car accelerated from 50 to 65 very quickly heading straight toward that car.

    I've had autopilot cross lane lines before, but never so abruptly like it did today. I've never had it accelerate toward another car. Even paying attention, that was almost unavoidable. If you're behind another car, with or without autopilot and for some reason decided to nail the gas and accelerate toward that car, quickly closing your safe distance, you're going to struggle to get the car slowed back down to avoid running into it. This time though, the car accelerated itself, apparently not seeing the other car (a brown car by the way and sun straight over head, so no unusual glare). It caught be by surprise and certainly not a pleasant surprise.

    Was disappointing as these were areas never of concern in the past year with the car. I've slowly stopped using auto-pilot in various circumstances that I don't feel I can trust it. These were two areas that I had previously trusted it. Now, they are two more situations that will no longer trust it to handle. The downside is, this just means I get to take less advantage of the feature due to its flaws. As such, I find myself in manual mode more and more and more and being less comfortable using a feature I love so much.

    Had hoped to see improvements with this system over time. After the initial release of autopilot, there were immediate improvements, but it now seems to have tapered off as I haven't noticed any improvements over the past several months. Areas where it was weak 6 months ago, it's still weak today. In some cases, seems to have gotten worse.

    Anybody else experience the same feeling? Has Tesla stopped working on improving the current autopilot, instead working on the next 2.0 version that will require new hardware? They seem to have a habit of that.

    Notably, my P85D was promised to get faster. Then they decided to release Ludicrous mode. All improvements then went to Ludicrous equipped cars with those getting faster, but no notable improvements as originally promised for Insane mode cars. They came out with the new version and stopped improving the prior version. Fearing autopilot 1.0 may be falling into that category with the exception of safety restrictions added as necessary.

    We used to get software updates every few months with some notable changes each time. Seems like it's been quite a while since the last one (aside form the physical changes which do existing owners no good). Too much energy now going into the Model 3 to keep improving the Model S software????
    • Informative x 1
  2. kort677

    kort677 Active Member

    Sep 17, 2015
    these are examples of why you must remain alert when AP is engaged. it is not really ready to handle every situation.
  3. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

    Sep 21, 2013
    San Mateo, CA
    It's hard to change old habits of word usage. ;)

    It has been awhile since a major software update. I suspect it's coming soon...ish.
  4. NikeWings

    NikeWings Member

    Apr 7, 2016
    Los Angeles
    I am extra AP cautious during commute times primarily because of the sun position. AP & glare are not friends. There is something with the LA concrete or lane striping that confuses AP. It works oooooh so well on cloudy days and at night though.
    • Informative x 1
  5. Patrick W

    Patrick W Member

    Mar 17, 2015
    SLC, UT
    I was lucky enough to be one of those who had auto-pilot added to their vehicle the very morning it first came out. I loved it then and I love it now. Such an improvement over that initial upgrade. But it still goofs every now and then. When I talk to friends about it I'm very up front about saying the system is not perfect but it gets better all the time. So enjoy. But be vigilant. And image what's to come. :)
    • Like x 1
  6. sorka

    sorka Active Member

    Feb 28, 2015
    Merced, CA
    The quickness to regaining speed once traffic clears in front of you is one of the things I like about TACC. It does it the way I do it :)
  7. C_A_Braun

    C_A_Braun Meet Voodoo, Our S60. Classic CA Plate YBUYOIL

    Jul 19, 2016
    So Cal / So Nev
    So we have only had possession of "Voodoo" for 9 days, but here are my auto pilot stories and "oh s#%t" moments:

    Day 2 of ownership and my first time really driving Voodoo. Lane markings are not clear on the highway so AP locks on to the car in front of me. He decides to exit, but I didn't want to. Too late, AP decided to exit the highway for me.

    Later in Day 2 of ownership, we discover that AP seems to LOVE big rigs. Maybe it is the disruption of air around big rigs but when on AP the car just seems to gravitate towards 18 wheelers as we pass them.

    So we are learning to compensate for the above type situations and we hope we never get too comfortable with the technology that we lose our driving focus. But we have driven several hundred miles (5 or 600 perhaps) so far with AP and for the most part it is pretty amazing.

    Not necessarily AP but I have actually become more concerned with the TACC. I am all about the tech and always want to use it to my full advantage, but I have experienced several instances where I was steering but had TACC engaged that I may very well have died had I not taken action to stop the car. But that is a subject for another post I suppose.
  8. GridSpace

    GridSpace Member

    Jun 23, 2016
    I make vigilant use of autopilot far more than my drives warrant mostly to see how it does and (hopefully) help train the system. Mostly it performs admirably. But I have had the same issue in the leftmost lane around a very slight left bend (divided highway) where it once decided to swerve toward the center barrier. The lanes are well marked and this was during middle of the day. I caught it just as it crossed the line.

    I've also noticed that it doesn't seem to see big rigs when they're next to you. Perhaps the radar doesn't scan high enough and just sees under the truck and thinks nothing is there.
  9. TampaRich

    TampaRich Member

    Jul 7, 2013
    Tampa, FL
    It seems like AP uses that left median wall instead of the solid yellow line to center the car, which explains why it seems to ride close to the wall. The same holds true with driving next to a tractor trailer. AP draws close to the trailer because it uses that as one border to center on instead of the lines on the road. I don't see these scenarios necessarily as flaws, but limitations of the hardware system. If they can fix it with software, I would have thought that Tesla would have done that by now. We're just seeing the limitations of level 2 autonomy.

    Keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes one the road.
  10. SomeJoe7777

    SomeJoe7777 Marginally-Known Member

    Mar 28, 2015
    Houston, TX
    I've noticed that when there is a small or nearly non-existent "buffer" of road outside the lines, it increases the risk that AP will lose tracking. Yellow lines on the left that are right near a wall, or solid white line on the right that is right near a wall or shoulder drop-off are examples. Having a good 2+ feet of unmarked concrete or asphalt outside the lane lines improves tracking.

    When changing lanes in traffic with TACC engaged, I've gotten in the habit of watching the IC display to determine and verify that TACC has successfully switched which car it's locked onto. Most cars in the IC display are black/dark gray, but the one that TACC is locked onto is a white/light gray. When you switch lanes or other cars switch lanes in front of you, watch the display and ensure that TACC has identified the new car that it will control your speed from.

    I have caught TACC before when it has not seen the car in front or sees it too late, and take control myself with the brake or forward push on the TACC lever.

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