Skip to main content

Don't Ignore These Display Messages When Using Tesla's Autopilot

There needs to be better human-machine-interface interaction as people need to quit the "head down" instrumentation nonsense and develop a head-up display, comments Adam Non to Torque News, discussing Autopilot's limitations and drivers' need to keep situational awareness.

Join us...    

The Autopilot display is as low as possible in the dash binnacle. It should be HUD.

The backup camera (for lane change and blind-spot) is low and out of peripheral vision.

There's no beep or indicator in the door mirrors for blind spot (watching the flickering radar sweeps in the head-down binnacle is nonsense and just plain doesn't report actual blind spot obstacles.)

Even the critical controls on the Model 3 have been removed from the physical controls (wiper speed, following distance) and hidden away in the touchscreen menus.

Tesla bungled the cockpit ergonomics in the Model S and X, and they have failed to correct the problem in Model 3.

Don't Ignore Autopilot Display Messages

One thing you have to keep an eye on is the AP display in the dash. If AP says it has lost the lane lines, you can't ignore it. If AP says it has lost or doesn't have a "bead" (blue highlight) on the car it's following, you can't ignore it.

Keep Situational Awareness

I don't understand the histrionics of "it's not stopping" repeated for dramatic effect. I have had AP1 under these conditions every day for two years in a Model X and it's not infallible, but it's a matter of maintaining situational awareness.

Debris and obstacles, potholes, road work, narrow lanes, barriers, erratic and incompetent drivers ... these are all reasons why fully autonomous cars are not "real soon now," they are years away, and will still be restricted to designated freeway lanes or other beacons and preparations to allow those vehicles to operate at speed, well away from cyclists, pedestrians and complex intersections.

As Steve Wozniak and others have noted for years, Autopilot a "lane keeping" and "distance keeping" cruise control, it's not an autonomous vehicle.

Nonetheless, I would argue "Autopilot" is a suitable name, just so long as you realize that in an aircraft or a ship on autopilot, you're not allowed to go to sleep or turn off the communications radio and close your eyes -- the human pilot is still responsible and in command.

Editor's Note

After so much discussion on how Tesla Autopilot works and efforts of how to get the most of out your Autopilot, do you think Autopilot is a suitable name for Tesla, or should it be changed to something else? For example, it can be called "Advanced Cruise Control." Please, share you view on the subject in the comments section below for discussion.

Join us...