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Tesla AutoPilot: “Stop Please, It’s Not Stopping, It’s Not Stopping”

Tesla's Autopilot issue is truly horrifying when you are in the midst of expecting the vehicle to stop. Watch this full minute video to the end, writes Bryan Ehrlich, a Model S owner in Tesla Model S Owners Club on Facebook.

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I contacted Bryan and asked to use the video, which he gladly shared on Youtube (originally it was only shared on Facebook). Bryan's video once again shows that Tesla's Autopilot is not a hands-free driving. Like Torque News showed in its previous story, the way the Autopilot works you are still in command and responsible for the vehicle's safety. Navigate local streets by hand, when you get to a safe and suitable road or highway engage autopilot to decrease your workload, but monitor traffic and conditions at all times. Disengage when needed.

Brian sent this video to to a Tesla employee named Zach with the following letter.

Hi, Zach. As per my prior conversation with Robert and my most recent one with you, the issue is as follows.

When I am driving in the city or local town (road driving, rather than highway driving) if I engage autopilot without any vehicles in front of my vehicle (so that the AP doesn't provide the image of a vehicle in front of my vehicle), AP does not stop the vehicle when it approaches another vehicle that is stopped at an intersection or in the road. This happens with regular occurrence, and I have had to slam on my brakes to bring my vehicle to a sudden and screeching halt to avoid colliding with the vehicle in front. See the attached video. This video was recorded at 2:06 this afternoon (eastern time zone). I was headed north on East Lake Road South and the vehicle in front was stopped at the intersection of East Lake Road South and Woodlands Blvd. The vehicle momentarily pickups the vehicle in front and momentarily slows, but suddenly speeds up again and I have to slam on the brakes.

The video I sent may not have a high resolution through e-mail, so let me know if you wish for me to text the high-resolution version to you. You will notice that a message pops up in the display that states "Autosteer Speed Restricted to 40 mph" which does not typically reflect when I have experienced or duplicated this issue previously. I believe it came up because the vehicle was initially navigating a curve in the road, but this was well before the straight-away and the vehicle speed did pick up to 48 mph before the close call.

I wish to point out that I have reported this and other issues to Tesla previously without any results or follow up communication.

Two other issues that I have reported, in addition to this one, are as follows:

1. Highway driving with AP engaged, on "hilly" roads the vehicle will read the dip in the road (after the peak of the hill) as an object and suddenly and forcefully brake.

2. When driving on the highway with AP engaged, upon using the turn signal feature the vehicle will change lanes even if a vehicle is in its blind spot.


Some people may say that this is the driver error and that you have to drive the car and keep your hands on the steering wheel. I am completely aware of the issue. I was purposely recreating the circumstances so that I could film them and send the videos to Tesla. It helps them, from a programming standpoint, to have this information. I understand your position. I have read the manual. My overriding point is that this issue is tempting fate. Tesla should do a better job to make this issue front and center with owners. Particularly since the issue only occurs under specific circumstances. This particular issue only seems to occur when I engage AP without any vehicles initially in the sensors range. If I engage AP with a vehicle in AP sensor range the Tesla has always come to a proper stop.

What do you think? How do you use the Autopilot in your Tesla? Please, let us know your opinion in the comments section below for discussion. Your tips may help to save lives.

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Tasha (not verified)    January 29, 2018 - 10:00PM

Hands and attention should be on the road when Autopilot is engaged, no buts or ifs. What was he even doing filming this?

Allesandra (not verified)    January 29, 2018 - 10:02PM

Autopilot specifically tells you that stationary vehicles are not visible and you are not supposed to use it on surface streets. Use it properly, don’t expect things it’s not capable of, and don’t be shocked when there are sensor errors...the system is not autonomous yet.

David (not verified)    January 29, 2018 - 11:28PM

Tesla's Model S manual describes this behavior with the Autopilot. If the car is stopped in front of you but out of range the car may not stop. If it's not showing up on your display the car will not stop.

Adam Non (not verified)    January 30, 2018 - 3:26AM

Impressive demonstration and clearly a repeatable fault in Autopilot.
The blue lane lines and blue steering wheel indicate AP was engaged and was (meant to be) in control of the vehicle.
In our X, under these conditions, AP1 will stop the vehicle, regardless of a blue vehicle or any other vehicles. Still, I've seen errors (such as vehicles ahead changing lanes or the road merging or curving) in ways that can deceive the system
In simple terms, this is a potentially fatal flaw and must be resolved.

Bryan P Ehrlich (not verified)    February 1, 2018 - 12:11PM

In reply to by Martin Winlow (not verified)

Do me a favor. Point out the EXACT page in the manual that states that AP won't operate properly if it is engaged without sensing another vehicle in the intervening time between engagement and an appropriate stop. Otherwise, stop talking.

Bryan P Ehrlich (not verified)    February 1, 2018 - 12:18PM

In reply to by Martin Winlow (not verified)

Please, I'm begging you. Since you are such a smart guy and know everything Tesla, can you please point out exactly where, in the manual, Tesla stipulates that AP won't work properly if there is no other vehicle in the sensor between engaging AP and the intervening stop?

Bryan P Ehrlich (not verified)    February 1, 2018 - 12:10PM

In reply to by Adam Non (not verified)

Yes, completely agree. It is a fault. And the comment below is simply ignorant to the fact that the vehicle does usually stop when called for, but the specific conditions where the issue arises is where the AP is engaged without sensing a vehicle in the intervening time that it should come to a stop.

George (not verified)    January 30, 2018 - 6:29AM

I thought Tesla had some advances in Autopilot that other manufacturers don't have. With this it looks like Tesla is years behind the others with it's Autopilot.

Bryan P Ehrlich (not verified)    February 1, 2018 - 12:07PM

In reply to by George (not verified)

Right! And the worst part about this is I continue to go around and around with the service center and corporate. No one with Tesla seems to truly understand the nature of this issue and the specific conditions under which it arises.

KG (not verified)    January 30, 2018 - 8:36AM

Why should one use an autopilot for the most basic performing tasks? If it was any other vehicle function, there'd be a recall.

Darren (not verified)    January 30, 2018 - 9:50AM

At the 56 second mark, what's the alert that appears on the display? It appears to say "Raising Suspension." If that's what it says, why? Is the driver filming and raising the suspension while in autopilot? Or was it a speed or geofenced setting?

Bryan P Ehrlich (not verified)    February 1, 2018 - 12:04PM

In reply to by Darren (not verified)

That's because my suspension setting automatically raises for that area. That had nothing at all to do with the AP. You can enable or disable auto suspension for geographic areas. Nonetheless, my AP has had this issue regardless of auto suspension activating or not activating.

Siva (not verified)    January 30, 2018 - 4:37PM

Mine is AP2.5 and I had this happen to me a couple of times when the lane is clear and a there is a stopped car at the red light far away. One time it was going 50 and I had to intervene as it was getting dangerously close to the stopped vehicle. Maybe this guy and I overreacted and the car will eventually stop with a sudden break. But this is too close for my comfort

Bryan Ehrlich (not verified)    February 1, 2018 - 12:03PM

In reply to by Siva (not verified)

Exactly similar to my experience. I don't believe the vehicle would have stopped. In fact, AP did momentarily apply the brakes and then suddenly reaccelerated. I am confident I would have been in the trucks rear end if I hadn't slammed on the brakes.

Shawn (not verified)    February 13, 2018 - 7:05PM

I had a similar incident today, while driving on i580 and around a mile away from the 680 exit. I was on the left lane to the exit late and there was back to back traffic on both the lane to my right and left. There was nothing in front on my lane for at least 100 yards, and suddenly my car applied the brakes hard while in ap. I was attentive and quickly pumped my gas and took over and sped up the car to avoid the truck on the back rear ending me. I was going at around 40 and the braking slowed it to roughly 30 mph. But it was scary. I called and reported this to Tesla. They could not find anything wrong. But I don’t trust ap now. Be attentive while in ap mode

Bryan P Ehrlich (not verified)    February 13, 2018 - 9:02PM

In reply to by Shawn (not verified)

Yes, that has happened on numerous occasions when I have driven on hilly highways. After reaching the peak of the hill, the vehicle will stop suddenly as it descends and begins the ascent of the next hill. It is as if the AP is reading the hill as an object stopped in the road. Another aggravating feature of AP2 is how the vehicle slams on the brakes after another vehicle has already traveled in front and safely made the pass in front of my vehicle. AP2 will slam on the brakes after the other vehicle is no longer an obstacle and no longer in the sensors (the display reflects a vehicle that isn't there). I continue to become disenchanted with AP2 and its unreliability and unresponsiveness. I just received my car back from Tesla service today and they are still unable to diagnose the issue, even though I demonstrated the issue was absent in an identical vehicle and reproduced the issue in my vehicle with a service technician and service advisor. I was so hyped on the vehicle and Tesla in general. I was ready to purchase my wife a X-Model. No more. I'm even considering trading or selling my vehicle.

Rede Alexander (not verified)    February 26, 2019 - 9:31PM

All I see is someone using a developing software in a way that it was not intended and setting a bad example for others.