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Where autopilot shines...

Discussion in 'Model S' started by Eclectic, Feb 2, 2016.

  1. Eclectic

    Eclectic Member

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    In the few years that I've had a Model S (first a P85, now a P85D) I've made the trip from SF to LA several times a year. Though it takes a bit longer than flying (door to door), being able to not worry about making a flight, security, delays, obnoxious passengers, etc. makes it worthwhile for this distance. Today, I made the trip for the first time with autopilot and I have to say that whatever else autopilot is good for, on this type of trip it's basically an airline's worst nightmare.

    For those who don't know the typical route people take going from the Bay Area to the LA area, it's generally Interstate 5. To say it's a boringly straight road is being kind...but this is exactly where autopilot shines.

    Once over the Altamont pass, I settled in with my preferred Sirius channels (Howard Stern, then some classic rock), set autopilot at a safe speed (which may have been in excess of the speed limit, but if you drive I5, you know that the speed limit is barely a suggestion) and the next thing I knew I was at Harris Ranch. I recharged, had some coffee, checked email and before I knew it I was off again, autopilot taking over the hard work as I relaxed, kept an eye on traffic and luxuriated in the next gen seats as I listened to the radio (yep, I am a huge fan of the next gen seats). When I got into LA, I didn't have to deal with baggage claim or getting a rental car and the hotel I'm at has EV charging. Plus, I was absolutely relaxed (something I can't say that I've ever felt after flying).

    So while I may not use the Tesla around town as much as other Tesla owners (I still prefer my ICE manual transmission compact for that), I would NEVER go back to airlines for short haul routes now that autopilot is here.
     
  2. Majerus

    Majerus Member

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    Saint Louis to Chicago is a boring straight drive as well. Autopilot makes it way nicer.
     
  3. Rockster

    Rockster Active Member

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    I drove from Dallas to Tampa in July, most of it on straight, boring, flat highways and the entire time I was thinking, "this is just what autopilot was meant for. I sure wish autopilot had been released by now." Now that I have AP, I'm looking for an excuse for another such road trip.
     
  4. Electricfan

    Electricfan Member

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    My car tried to side-swipe a truck recently while on AP on a well-marked Interstate. I hope you're not so relaxed you're not "ready to take over at any moment". I used to agree with everything in your post, but no more. I'm more stressed using AP than just driving myself.

    Looking back at the dashcam video, there were two black skid marks in the middle of my lane right before my car made its suicide dive for the truck in the lane next to me. I think AP saw those marks and decided it wasn't in the lane anymore. But whatever happened, I would definitely have been in an accident had I not grabbed the wheel.

    Moral of the story, for me anyway, don't trust AP with your life because it is not safe.
     
  5. GasKilla

    GasKilla No Gas Know Peace

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    AP isn't supposed to be "hands free" driving. Having to "grab the wheel" pretty much means your hands weren't on the wheel when the incident occurred. I always keep at least one hand on the wheel, two when things seem sketchy.
     
  6. jeffro01

    jeffro01 Active Member

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    Would you just stop it already? First you were reading while on AP and not paying attention to anything with an absurd rationalization for the behavior. Now you're spreading FUD all over the place over one incident that wasn't nearly as disturbing as you are claiming that it was and yes, I've seen your dash cam video.

    AP is driver assistance feature and as is safe to use, and any suggestion otherwise is well, absurd. What you're trying to do is justify your incorrect use of the feature, using it as a driver replacement rather than a driver assist feature, by misrepresenting the technology in it's current state.

    I really don't understand your newly persistent need to be so negative about AP including changing your user title to "AP = Russian Roulette".

    Jeff
     
  7. Eclectic

    Eclectic Member

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    With regard to the warning about autopilot being dangerous, I have to say it reminds me of the (likely apocryphal) story of people getting in accidents when cruise control was first introduced. The story I remember is that someone with a van set cruise control and then went to the back of the van to take a nap...

    To me, autopilot is like cruise control. It's not a substitute for being in control, it's just something to help. I never let autopilot take control of the car without my hands on the wheel and anyone who would do such a thing is simply asking for trouble (and ignoring the clear warnings given by the car).
     
  8. Electricfan

    Electricfan Member

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    Boy! I just can't make you happy! First I use it too much, now I'm too pessimistic!

    Seriously, this thread was started by somebody saying how great AP is on the highway. Since my car would have hit a truck last Saturday if I hadn't grabbed the wheel, I felt obligated to comment. I'm sorry you weren't impressed by the dashcam. But if you've ever been in a car in a near-miss and then watched the dashcam of it, its common for it not to be so impressive on video. I'm not spreading FUD. I posted the video, and even posted a pic of the skid marks that I think (and I sure may be absolutely wrong) caused AP to malfunction. AP will cause an accident if you don't monitor it closely. That's not FUD, its fact. And I'm going to keep posting it when appropriate, as when somebody starts a thread on how great AP is. Because I disagree. And that's what a forum is for. To share opinions.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I've read that the cruise control story is a myth, but maybe not.. As to your use and never taking your hands off the wheel - that's all I wanted to say! I'm glad you are so wise.
     
  9. JimmyAZ

    JimmyAZ Member

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    I've had AP act odd when on surface streets and either the sun interferes with the lane lines OR there are black strips of asphalt sealant on the road (Central Avenue in Phoenix is notorious for these 'repairs' to cracks in the road). The car seems to mistake them for lane lines and tries to turn out of the actual lane. Sure, it's a boost to your adrenaline, but nothing that would warrant such a strange quote in my avatar signature like Electricfan. That's just borderline Orwellian. Tone it down and attribute it to you not paying attention when you should have. I've had the car want to head into oncoming traffic at intersections too, but it was expected because lane lines disappeared. I'm doing this to find the AP's weaknesses so I'm a better driver while using it. I LOVE AP. And I can't wait to see how it learns and adapts over time. It's already getting smarter about intersections I drive frequently.

    As for long stretches of highway - I am REALLY looking forward to driving from Phoenix to Laguna Beach, CA in April. This will be the first drive greater than 2 hours that we've taken. Like the OP said, long stretches of open road is where this tech shines. I notice the more bends the road has, the less confidence the car has making them and asks you to hold the wheel. Pretty easy to predict, actually.

    Electricfan, learn from your car. Test it so you know where it falls short of expectations. Next time maybe you won't be surprised when it does something unexpected. Otherwise you're just playing the victim card over and over and...
     
  10. jgs

    jgs Member

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    Has there been even one documented case of AP actually causing an accident? Not, "something scary that I'm sure would have become an accident", but an actual, real accident? Until and unless there is at least one such incident, your statement isn't fact, it's speculation. Not wild speculation, not unfounded speculation, but still speculation. You may be right, but then again it might be that the car would have recovered before anything bad happened other than scaring the hell out of you. I'm sure you don't want to find that out by experimenting, and neither do I.
     
  11. Skateboardgolf

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    #11 Skateboardgolf, Feb 2, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2016
    At it's worst, AP is an annoying passenger who half-heartedly reaches over and grabs the wheel in an attempt to scare you. If you're alert, of course, nothing will happen, because you can overpower it easily. If you're reading a book, however, you're in trouble. Again, this is AP at its worst, and I've only had 2 or 3 of these incidents in the span of 1200 miles. To me, it wasn't that big of a deal.

    Now, for the positive. I love Autopilot 10,000 times more than I thought I would! Whenever I engage Autopilot, I enter a state that's a mixture of relaxation, combined with a big goofy smile of joy watching my car drive itself. It just doesn't get old. Had a non AP loaner while they did my annual maintenance, and it was sheer agony. I absolutely cannot wait to take it on a long trip!

    The best I can compare it to is when I lived in Manhattan, I took the subway everywhere. I really enjoyed being a passenger, and relaxing while watching the tunnels, stations, and bridges go by. To me, AP is the same experience, except there's a steering wheel in your lap.
     
  12. JimmyAZ

    JimmyAZ Member

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    I like your analogy! Very true. Annoying when it makes a mistake, but it's easily corrected. Just don't start reading a good book while it's activated.
     
  13. bridaus

    bridaus Member

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    AP is the number one reason I'll be buying. Number 2 is EV. Number 3 is a LCD gauges (all cars should have this by now.). Numbers 4...5...6, ah forget it, it's all been covered before. Most impressive bit of engineering I've ever flown, er driven. If (as some people think) Elon is doing something wrong with the company, I'd sure like to know what right is and who is doing it more right than he is. I've never driven something so "right".

    BTW, to avoid the AutoPilot argument again, I think everyone should be required to look up the definition of "AutoPilot", and then just once on their next flight encourage both of their pilots to leave the cockpit simultaneously and report the results here. If you are successful, then you can complain about how the car isn't under your control, and therefore what it does is "wrong". Until then...
     
  14. Wayneb

    Wayneb Member

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    I love the futuristic nature of the autopilot function but have experienced a number of failures so I use it as suggested, an aid. The latest revision is far better than the original, but it's an aid, it doesn't drive the car alone and it doesn't see traffic signals or stop signs. I enjoy using it every chance I get but I keep an eye on the display to make sure the computer sees what I see and keep a hand or two either on the wheel or very close. Tonight it drifted a little too close to the center line on a curve for my taste, so I gave the wheel a little nudge. Otherwise it is very helpful and I think makes me a safer driver. I agree with @bridaus, when the pilot leaves the cockpit because the autopilot has the airplane I get really nervous.
     
  15. Gixxxerking

    Gixxxerking Member

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    I've used AP for about 4000 miles now. It's best shining moments are in stop and go traffic. It makes a tedious commute so much less tiring. You do need to follow the instructions, keep hands on the wheel and be prepared to take over. But even so it's a lot better than pre-AP commuting. 600 of the 4000 miles were on a LA to Vegas and back trip to meetings at CES. It was a turn around trip and the AP made the drive much safer. The NAG even saved me from nodding off.

    However AP in current form does have limits. It can be affected by whether. Stupid drivers in other cars require you to be prepared to take over. AP won't sense and avoid road hazards like pot holes or truck tires in the road. But it's definitely a game changing feature and I never want to be without it. Can't wait to see how future SW updates make it even more capable!
     
  16. David99

    David99 Active Member

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    That's exactly what I realized the other day. Self driving cars will, once they are reliable, make a significant dent on the airline industry. Flying has become a major PITA. While of course the actual flight time is short, everything else about it is time consuming, painful, annoying and expensive. First you need transportation to and from the airport. Uber, taxi or shuttle buses call cost or you pay to have your own car in long term parking. Then you make your way through busy lines at the airport, lugging your bags around. You pay for overpriced food, you get humiliated by TSA and then you can fight for overhead space in the airplane and elbow with the person next to you for the arm rest. Once you arrive, you haven't really arrived. You still fight your way out of the plane and the airport. If you are lucky you stay in one place, but chances are you need to pay for a rental car which is of course nothing like your own car. And then again, you have to drive from the airport to your final destination. Of course the airline charged you extra for each piece of luggage and wouldn't allow you to even bring a bottle of water, or anything they consider dangerous. The entire trip had to be planned to whatever the airline dictated. You have book the flight way ahead of time (especially if you want to get a decent price) and there is no chance for any last minute changes. THere is a 30% chance your flight is delayed.

    Now let's compare that to a self driving car: You start your trip whenever you want. You bring as much luggage as you want. You have plenty of space that you don't have to share. The car drives itself so you are free to get work done and listen to your own music over the normal speakers. You don't have to worry about being padded down, or rethink anything you want to bring. Something comes up and you have to lave an hour later, no problem. You start exactly where you are and you arrive exactly where you want to be. No lugging bags around, no taxis, no standing in line. You stop and eat wherever you want, or bring whatever food you want. You have your own car at your destination. You have internet during the entire trip without paying extra. You arrive relaxed.

    Depending on the distance you travel, you might break even on total time. On longer trips you definitely need more time, but you also save a lot of money and since the car drives itself the time isn't wasted, you can get some work done. I used to love flying but it has become just a major pain in the last 15 years. They made every aspect of it annoying and you are treated like cattle or worse. While self driving cars won't be able to compete with coast to coast flights in terms of time, I can see the airlines lose a good amount of business in domestic flights.
     
  17. green1

    green1 Active Member

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    I figure that anything you can drive to in a half day is faster by car than by plane, You just can't fly anywhere in less than about half a day really by the time you get to/from the airport, make sure you are an hour (2?) ahead of your flight, taxi, fly, land, taxi, wait, get through the airport, wait for your luggage, etc.
    And personally I prefer driving to flying for any drive of less than a full day, because of the convenience of having your own vehicle, and the relaxing nature of road trips vs the hassle of modern airline travel. Once you have to get a hotel for the night it becomes harder to justify the drive, but I must say, if I have the time, and my wife will let me, I'd still take the drive most of the time.

    I used to like flying, in fact I still do if I get a seat that has any legroom, it's just all the other garbage that goes along with it that I can't stand.
     
  18. DougH

    DougH Active Member

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    AP is amazing.
     
  19. Soolim

    Soolim Member

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    Lane recognition, and driving over crest are the weak points of current AS.
     
  20. Yonaks

    Yonaks New Member

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    . Previously owned a P85 & purchased an autopilot model last night . The autopilot is simply amazing !!! The next gen seats are a nice touch too.
     

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