Destination Ditch: Tesla Driver Blames Autopilot for New Jersey Crash

jsmay311

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2017
Messages
372
Location
Chicago Suburbs
Country
Country
#21
Here's an aerial view of the location of this crash :
https://goo.gl/maps/VufCWmUjASv
1550101676176.png

Tesla's Owners Manuals say this about Autosteer:

"Autosteer is intended for use only on highways and limited-access roads with a fully attentive driver. [...] Do not use Autosteer on city streets, in construction zones, or in areas where bicyclists or pedestrians may be present."

This is literally a highway, and I would not consider it a "city street". Now I know many Tesla owners would argue AP shouldn't be used on this road (as evidenced above) since there are at-grade intersections and street lights (although there are also plenty of highway/expressway style on/off-ramps), and I wouldn't argue that they're necessarily wrong about that. But I bet many more Tesla owners would use AP on this kind of road anyway. And I don't see anywhere that Tesla explicitly warns NOT to use AP on this type of road in the manual.

Bottomline: if Tesla wants to be more prescriptive about where Autosteer/Autopilot should NOT be used and err on the side of safety, they should say so clearly in their manuals.
 
Last edited:

jsmay311

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2017
Messages
372
Location
Chicago Suburbs
Country
Country
#22
That's not what happened with the accident. The car proceeded all the way to the exit ramp, went straight through the middle of the gores (the striped lines) between the ramp and the travel lanes, and then proceeded up onto the grass clipping some manner of poles, objects, etc.
[...]
I agree that Autopilot might have gotten confused at the initial lane split. But that happened WAY before the actual ramp. And as you said, Autopilot would have chosen one lane or the other and jerked into it quickly, as you said. But at that point, there's still 1/4 mile or so to go before the crash site, and the car would be in a lane.

Doesn't explain why it would have crashed where the exit ramp broke off, as that ramp is an exit only and that lane leading to the exit was way back, where I showed in the picture. If by the "first picture" you mean the first one in the thread showing the ramp. the actual point where EAP would have gotten confused was way prior to that.
Looks to me like the exit lane in this spot veers off too sharply for AP to handle if it was going at highway speeds (the speed limit here is 55mph) if AP didn't anticipate that fact and slow down on its own in advance of the right turn.
 
Last edited:

Bigriver

Top-Contributor
Joined
Jan 26, 2018
Messages
482
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
Tesla Owner
Model X
Country
Country
#23
@jsmay311, yes, upon watching those videos I agree the California accident was not a construction zone. But as you note, the lanes had issues that could make it hard to distinguish. I encounter that a lot where I live, and it is usually a construction zone, thus why I probably made that erroneous connection. Regardless, i think it is always within the responsibility of the driver to be “supervising” the car and especially in those situations. If my car wrecks while I’m on autopilot, it’s my fault.
 

JWardell

Legendary Member
Joined
May 9, 2016
Messages
3,506
Location
Boston
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#24
We have a big problem in the US that different regions have different names for the same things. That is most definitely NOT a highway, if it has a traffic light, at least by the definition of a highway 'round here!

And of course we don't say "Highway 1" we say "Route 1."
But of course as shown in your screenshot Google is smart enough to name things with the area's vernacular.

Tesla's documented use of highway certainly agrees with my definition. Autopilot is still not intended for use on roads with traffic lights. Controlled access roads without lights and stop signs.

I do agree Tesla needs to better education the simple-minded with a more in-depth video about Autopilot, except of course they would have to remake the video with every update and improvement.
Understanding or not though, control of a vehicle is the driver's responsibility no matter what methods they use to operate it.
 

JasonF

Top-Contributor
Joined
Oct 26, 2018
Messages
812
Location
Orlando FL
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#25
I'm completely shocked at how some people have so little sense and self-preservation that they're going to play with technicalities in the rules and risk crashing their car because of it. "Well, technically, this is a highway"...What are you going to do, engrave that on your tombstone after you hit a pole face-first at 60 mph?

Back to the original subject, there are only three possible explanations for setting autopilot on a road like that: 1) The driver wanted to sit back and film Autopilot inevitably crashing for youtube views; or 2) The driver turned on AP to get some texting and/or facebook and/or movie watching done, lost track of time, and completely missed the cue to turn AP off before the traffic light; or 3) The driver actually believed that AP is full self-driving, and would take them home without any human participation (unlikely if they've had the car for more than an hour or so).
 
Joined
Nov 5, 2016
Messages
1,054
Location
Jersey
Country
Country
#26
US-1 is definitely a highway that stretches the entire East Coast: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Route_1

Were the Tesla log details about the accident made public yet? The driver may have been a clown but after reading through this thread I’m still wondering why EAP would have trouble in this circumstance. As a Jersey boy myself I’ve seen much worse lane markings than these.
 

Lovesword

Top-Contributor
TOO Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2017
Messages
1,863
Location
Iowa
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#27
Here's an aerial view of the location of this crash :
https://goo.gl/maps/VufCWmUjASv
View attachment 21919

Tesla's Owners Manuals say this about Autosteer:

"Autosteer is intended for use only on highways and limited-access roads with a fully attentive driver. [...] Do not use Autosteer on city streets, in construction zones, or in areas where bicyclists or pedestrians may be present."

This is literally a highway, and I would not consider it a "city street". Now I know many Tesla owners would argue AP shouldn't be used on this road (as evidenced above) since there are at-grade intersections and street lights (although there are also plenty of highway/expressway style on/off-ramps), and I wouldn't argue that they're necessarily wrong about that. But I bet many more Tesla owners would use AP on this kind of road anyway. And I don't see anywhere that Tesla explicitly warns NOT to use AP on this type of road in the manual.

Bottomline: if Tesla wants to be more prescriptive about where Autosteer/Autopilot should NOT be used and err on the side of safety, they should say so clearly in their manuals.
While I do agree that a name like "autopilot" does indulge some ambiguity, and I do appreciate your well thought out responses here, I have to slightly disagree, or at least offer a different take for what is my "bottom line." Actually having typed it below, I don't think you and I have differing views at all... but one's that could stand alone and support each other. One doesn't cancel out the other.

Bottom Line for me: At any given time while utilizing EAP (at its current level 2 of 5), regardless of road type, the driver needs to be ready to take over immediately. I do not believe this is the case here.

So, with our two bottom lines: Tesla could do a better job, and so could the driver.
 

MelindaV

☰ > 3
Moderator
Joined
Apr 2, 2016
Messages
9,369
Location
Vancouver, WA
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#28
Here's an aerial view of the location of this crash :
https://goo.gl/maps/VufCWmUjASv
View attachment 21919

Tesla's Owners Manuals say this about Autosteer:

"Autosteer is intended for use only on highways and limited-access roads with a fully attentive driver. [...] Do not use Autosteer on city streets, in construction zones, or in areas where bicyclists or pedestrians may be present."

This is literally a highway, and I would not consider it a "city street". Now I know many Tesla owners would argue AP shouldn't be used on this road (as evidenced above) since there are at-grade intersections and street lights (although there are also plenty of highway/expressway style on/off-ramps), and I wouldn't argue that they're necessarily wrong about that. But I bet many more Tesla owners would use AP on this kind of road anyway. And I don't see anywhere that Tesla explicitly warns NOT to use AP on this type of road in the manual.

Bottomline: if Tesla wants to be more prescriptive about where Autosteer/Autopilot should NOT be used and err on the side of safety, they should say so clearly in their manuals.
This may be a highway, but it is not limited access. It has cross traffic right in the image you posted.
 

jsmay311

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2017
Messages
372
Location
Chicago Suburbs
Country
Country
#29
This may be a highway, but it is not limited access. It has cross traffic right in the image you posted.
Can't/Won't argue with that.

But, again, the relevant quote from the manual is: "Autosteer is intended for use only on highways and limited-access roads[...]"

I don't want to get into a Bill Clinton-esque debate over what the meaning of the word "and" is... :tonguewink: but I'm pretty certain that that sentence does not actually warn against using Autosteer on non-limited-access highways.

If Tesla wants to say that Autosteer is only for use on limited-access roads, they need to relocate the compound adjective in that sentence: "Autosteer is intended for use only on limited-access highways and limited-access roads[...]" :smirk:

But I'm pretty sure a lot of thought went into precisely how to craft that sentence in the manual and that Tesla wrote it exactly as they intended. Otherwise, every country highway with even an occasional at-grade intersection would be off-limits.
 
Last edited: