V9 Autopilot Confidence, Behavior in "Unsupported" Situations

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sdbyrd79

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#1
I've been on v9 for a couple of weeks now and my initial impressions of autopilot were positive. There were several spots where I was forced to take over routinely and things were fairly consistent. However, after a couple of weeks of new roads & tests (I'm constantly using it) it has honestly scared the crap out of me in a few instances. When it gets confused, it seems to really jerk left or right at times and even going into another lane nearly! I'm well aware that v9 is learning to use all of its cameras and will take time to improve, but it's concerning that I've been less confident in the past 2 weeks as I have for the past 4 months driving in autopliot on v8. Anyone else feel like it's better in some cases, but when it's not good, it's far less predictable than v8? I'm still going to use it the same, but my hands have become much more tight on the wheel! :)
 

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#2
When it gets confused, it seems to really jerk left or right at times and even going into another lane nearly!
I've found that if you understand the current system's limitations, and only operate it in ideal conditions, that it works fine.

Can you describe the conditions under which you had it jerk the car into another lane? Maybe also provide a link to Google Maps showing where you were?

I've had one strange occurrence that I've not yet been able to explain. I was using autopilot on an interstate, set to 60mph (55mph zone). The car suddenly started accelerating with no input from me, and when I looked at the screen, the set cruise speed had somehow changed to 64mph. I have no idea how that happened. But I held down the right scroll wheel and submitted a bug report to Tesla, so hopefully they can track it down.
 

sdbyrd79

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#3
These are the same roads within a mile of my house that I've traveled for the past few months on v8 that never once jerked like that in two different spots just this morning. I've noticed on other roads I routinely travel where I always used autopilot that with v9 it's getting confused more frequently - again with more jerking than just beeping to let me know it has an issue or confused. I think that's really my biggest concern is v8 I feel would beep (not the red alert one) when it needed your attention, but with v9 it swerves to the left/right more violently than I can ever remember happening in v8. I'm sure it's a short-lived problem, but I really hope we don't start seeing more autopilot accidents now that v9 is here. Stay safe and diligent folks!
 

garsh

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#4
These are the same roads within a mile of my house that I've traveled for the past few months...
But that doesn't help me to understand the situation at all. What roads? A four-lane divided highway? A back road with no lane dividers?

Autopilot is currently only really competent on limited-access divided highways. You should not expect consistently-good behavior on other types of roads.
 

sdbyrd79

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#5
I get what you're saying and of course you're right - by what the manual states. However, like nearly all of us, we've logged thousands of miles with autopilot on "non-standard" back/side roads, etc. under close supervision.

This road is very well marked 2 lane road that has a shared turning lane and it not marked at that intersection for about 15-20' by design. My only point to all of this is that I've traveled that road countless times on v8 and it's NEVER even flinched during that intersection. Now with v9 it swerves erratically and clearly confused. Other (similar) routes I routinely take NEVER swerved/jerked on v8 and now it's doing it with v9. At the end of the day we're all looking to test/debug/push the limits for everyone's benefits down the road. I'm merely curious if this is a broader problem amongst v9 adopters when compared to v8. Normally you wouldn't expect things to get "worse" than what you had before - that's all I'm trying to say :)

Side note, I went to grab the USB stick out of my 3 and even though the red light dashcam icon was on this morning, it didn't have of today's recordings on there :(

Was hoping to show exactly what happened - oh well.
 

garsh

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#6
Thanks for clarifying.

I have no problem with people experimenting with autopilot in "unsupported" situations. But when you state that v9 appears to have regressions, you need to make it clear that you're talking specifically about its use in non-supported situations. I'm not completely surprised that the behavior in such situations could vary noticeably from one software revision to another, and not necessarily as an improvement. Eventually, Tesla will concentrate on improving performance in those areas, but they currently seem to be concentrating on making it better in limited-access highway use. They still have a lot of issues even in the "supported" situations (phantom braking events being the most prominent).
 

Mike

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#7
I've found that if you understand the current system's limitations, and only operate it in ideal conditions, that it works fine.

Can you describe the conditions under which you had it jerk the car into another lane? Maybe also provide a link to Google Maps showing where you were?

I've had one strange occurrence that I've not yet been able to explain. I was using autopilot on an interstate, set to 60mph (55mph zone). The car suddenly started accelerating with no input from me, and when I looked at the screen, the set cruise speed had somehow changed to 64mph. I have no idea how that happened. But I held down the right scroll wheel and submitted a bug report to Tesla, so hopefully they can track it down.
After two of my phantom braking events with V9 (15 Oct 2018, Hwy 401 eastbound in the London ON area), the set speed had reset down from 103 kph to 90 kph all on its own.

I have not driven in that area since.
 

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#8
ap in v9 seems to work fine for me, I really don't see any difference other than sometimes having to double click the stalk to get it running
 

kort677

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#9
Thanks for clarifying.

I have no problem with people experimenting with autopilot in "unsupported" situations. But when you state that v9 appears to have regressions, you need to make it clear that you're talking specifically about its use in non-supported situations. I'm not completely surprised that the behavior in such situations could vary noticeably from one software revision to another, and not necessarily as an improvement. Eventually, Tesla will concentrate on improving performance in those areas, but they currently seem to be concentrating on making it better in limited-access highway use. They still have a lot of issues even in the "supported" situations (phantom braking events being the most prominent).
what is a non supported situation, I've never heard that term used before
 

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#12
I'm actually more confident with v9 for the following reasons IMHO:
1. Auto Lane Change is much safer to use. The car even slows down when needed to fit between two cars with enough room in the adjacent lane.
2. I've noticed less issues suddenly slowing down due to shadows, especially those around overpasses. Not completely fixed, but better for sure
3. Tracking within the lane seems more accurate on average.

One minus I've also noticed is a little ping ponging on occasion, like I used to experience way back in May when I first took delivery. But it corrects pretty quickly.
 

garsh

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#14
if on an unsupported road the AP wouldn't engage.
That's not true. AP will engage if it either sees lines on both sides of the lane, or it has a car to follow. But that does not actually mean that it's a supported road type. Unfortunately, Tesla does not geo-fence the feature to only work on supported roads (they probably should), so this allows people to try it in all sorts of unsupported situations.

 

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#15
Haven't tried v9 yet but is this really surprising considering it's a new neutral net? V8 does work quite well in many unsupported situations. I use it all the time as well. It would be irresponsible for Tesla to let you use it in situations where it's really unsafe and then say it's unsupported. Especially if there is some regression. They know when you're in an unsupported situation so why do they let you use it if you're not supposed to. In fact they change the behavior so there is no argument they don't know. I'm not saying @sdbyrd79 is suggesting that this is too unsafe to use but there is a threshold somewhere and Tesla has been criticized a lot of this. I see that autosteer statement as a legal one. Kind of like when Honda made their Navigation system fully operational while driving while everyone else restricted it while driving with a legal statement when you first start it. In the same way that drew me to Honda I like Tesla's stance on this but its a risk no doubt.

Edit: Changed to "It would be irresponsible ..." to make it clear this is a hypothetical and a grammatically correct sentence.
 
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#16
I also agree people should be aware of the possibility of regression(hopefully temporary) in some cases to achieve major progression given how neural nets work. This will surprise some people and is a risk for Tesla. My question is if it's like going from an old reliable driver who didn't see too well to some young whipper snapper who just got their license?
 

sdbyrd79

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#17
And for the record, I'm all for highway AP to be improved with v9 and the secondary roads have some slight regression. After all, it's primary used on highways. I've continued testing on all the usual secondary roads I travel since my original post and I haven't experienced the same issues. That means it's either learning from its mistakes or the conditions weren't exactly the same (cars/shadows, etc.) since my previous runs. Unfortunately, my wife witnessed a couple of those moments, so she's not nearly as "confident" as I am either at this point. We'll just have to keep testing and build up the trust again over time.
 

garsh

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#18
It irresponsible for Tesla to let you use it in situations where it's really unsafe and then say it's unsupported.
Let's try a little thought experiment:
  • On any other car, you can engage cruise control at any speed on any road you like. Yet, you never before thought that it was "irresponsible" for a car company to allow that. Why?
  • On any other car, you can hold down the accelerator and go twice the posted speed limit. Yet, you never before thought that it was "irresponsible" for a car company to allow that. Why?
What makes autopilot different? Other cars have GPS and navigation systems too and therefore "know where they are" as well. Why do you hold Tesla to a higher standard?
 
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#19
I also agree with the OP that I have less confidence w/v9 Autopilot vs v8 for exactly the same reasons - when my Model 3 Autopilot has what I call a "failure", the reaction from the car is for sure more scary than how it reacted in v8. For example, any false brake event is *much* harder than v8 (to the point where it could cause a ear-end collision if someone was following me) so I always keep my foot near the gas pedal just in case. I also have experienced the steering failure where it will actually steer into/cross the center lane where v8 never did that for me on the same roads.
 

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#20
Let's try a little thought experiment:
  • On any other car, you can engage cruise control at any speed on any road you like. Yet, you never before thought that it was "irresponsible" for a car company to allow that. Why?
  • On any other car, you can hold down the accelerator and go twice the posted speed limit. Yet, you never before thought that it was "irresponsible" for a car company to allow that. Why?
What makes autopilot different? Other cars have GPS and navigation systems too and therefore "know where they are" as well. Why do you hold Tesla to a higher standard?
I hadn't tried it yet and I didn't say it was really unsafe and they were being irresponsible. Maybe it was poorly worded and implied. I was just saying there is a threshold somewhere. If some manufacturer's cruise control went unstable once in awhile I would probably say its irresponsible for them to allow use of it and I imagine there would be a recall. The speed thing is more politics and history than a manufacturer decision. Tesla wants to be on the leading edge with autopilot and its part of their reputation. I think this is a little different.

I guess I just don't like the "you're holding it wrong" argument. You're right and maybe its good to remind people but these are calculated Tesla decisions and how it works in unsupported areas matters. They know people will and are using it in "unsupported" scenarios. I haven't seen a ton of outcry on v9 being less safe so hopefully @sdbyrd79 and @pcenginefx issues are more isolated issues. But I think its good to hear them. Slapping beta on something doesn't let you off the hook. The test will be when v9 starts hitting the autopilot safety reports. I assume they don't remove accidents/miles where people are using it in unsupported areas and I don't see anything that says they do. Its not going to look good if they start going backwards on their quarterly safety reports.

PS. I just had my first v9 experience and didn't notice much difference better or worse in terms of autosteer in the unsupported areas I was just in but very limited experience.