Improved Tesla Autopilot Now Drives With No Lane Lines Or Lead Vehicle On More Roads – Video

11 months ago by Eric Loveday 18

Say what? Tesla Autopilot can now navigate more roads with no lane lines and no lead vehicle to follow? Can’t be true…or can it?

YouTuber, friend of InsideEVs and Tesla Model S owner KmanAuto uploaded this video showing that with Firmware 8, Autopilot can now navigate winding roads without lane lines and with no lead vehicle to follow.

No Lines, No Lead Vehicle

No Lines, No Lead Vehicle

Kman put out this extensive write up (and usage disclaimer) along with the video:

Tesla Autopilot: Driving Autonomously? NO LINES! And NO Lead Vehicle!
—————————————————————
While I am still not a fan of most of the “Changes” in Firmware 8, how Tesla enhanced the radar, and the autopilot systems actual functionality in Firmware 8 is nothing short of AMAZING! One big change recently, the car has been allowing me to activate Autopilot on roads that previously it would never allow me to! (Please! Don’t attempt these tests! They can be dangerous!)

Lately, I have also been seeing a increase in confidence, and the vehicle has become able to navigate much more “Intense” roads (Think, winding roads, where the camera cannot see the lines ahead as far). Many roads which the car would force me to take over, it now travels with little or no issues! Roads it would not allow me to activate at all, it’s allowing not only autopilot activation, but also navigating perfectly!

My conclusion, in the manner in which this “Revelation” the ability the car had, was almost like a light switch being flipped. What I would need to say is, it really appears Tesla flipped the giant master switch on the Autopilot’s Deep Learning AI, and now the cars are beginning to make use of the Millions upon Millions of accumulated fleet learning. Both active and passive! I also conclude it’s not a fluke, as these are roads I travel down daily.

Despite standard Autopilot 1.0 not being “designed” for surface streets, I have always pushed the limits of Tesla’s Tech, see where the borders are, and I can assure you, with no changes to these roads, I am seeing these major changes now! In the video, the car uses what it CAN see to keep a lane lock, which in this case, it shows a positive lock on the curb for short periods of time. Though, it loses this frequently. Even with the snow covering much of the curb, between what it CAN see of the road, along with intermittent input of the Ultrasonic Sensors (And of course, the radar, though we don’t know what the radar sees in this scenario due to lack of system feedback) it was able to keep us going with enough confidence that it didn’t think I needed to take over.

Some parts it did get a bit shaky, especially with oncoming traffic blinking the Autopilot camera intermittently, but it kept going.

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18 responses to "Improved Tesla Autopilot Now Drives With No Lane Lines Or Lead Vehicle On More Roads – Video"

  1. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

    Is it using the apparently black lines near the curb/snow-pile to navigate with its camera? Is it also using the sonar in the front and rear passenger-side quarter panel to navigate by keeping a number of feet away from the curb?

    Unfortunately, the video cuts off just as the Tesla approaches a fork in the road. It would have been interesting to see how the Tesla handled that situation.

  2. Robert says:

    No occifer, I was not dwinking, it was the pilotauto swerving.

    1. Kevin Z says:

      I didn’t see the “Smokey alert” light come on.

  3. unlucky says:

    This guy seems incredibly gleeful that he left his car under auto control as it wandered especially with oncoming traffic.

    I’m glad it worked out. But is it really a good idea? He acts like others shouldn’t do it, maybe he should take his own advice.

    1. DJ says:

      Ya but then he couldn’t post it on YouTube for the world to see.

      At least he didn’t Facebook Live it… I guess that’s a positive thing…

  4. Trollnonymous says:

    Meh.

    I prefer Tesla offer a version without all the AP garbage.

    1. Nick says:

      You’re in luck! They do!

    2. MikeG says:

      Most 2012-2014 Teslas are AP-free. Plus they have Supercharging for life unless you bought the S60 when SC was a $2k option.

    3. jelloslug says:

      Fortunately for you, AP is optional!

  5. CLIVE says:

    2017 is going to be awesome.

    Santa is going to be thrilled.

  6. ModernMarvelFan says:

    So, it looks like the car is recognizing the “curb” to the right side and it is using it as a guide to keep the car xxx feet from it… I think that is how people are driving when the lane lines aren’t visible. Using the right side lines or curbs as a guide.

    But I am not sure if I want the car to bounce in the lanes at night with potentially oncoming traffic (opposed to driving on the hwy with only 1 direction traffic).

    1. Chris Dragon says:

      If the system is designed properly, radar should clearly see oncoming cars and avoid them whether or not it can see road lines. I’d worry more about it swerving off the road to the right if the oncoming car headlights blinded the camera, but it may also use the oncoming car as a guide as to about how far right the road should extend.

      Of course, what happens if two auto pilot cars approach each other, blinding their cameras and trying to use each other as a reference? The tech certainly has to account for a lot of complex situation…

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Chris Dragon said:

        “Of course, what happens if two auto pilot cars approach each other, blinding their cameras…”

        This is just one of many reasons why self-driving cars should build up a picture of the environment using active scanning systems — such as lidar or radar — and should only use video images as a backup for that.

        I’m glad to see that Tesla has moved to rely more on radar than on camera images for detection in the front-facing direction, but sadly they’re still relying on camera images for imaging to the sides, and so far as I know, the rear also.

        This will have to be changed before we can get reliably working self-driving cars, regardless of anything Tesla is currently claiming. What Tesla is calling “Autopilot HW2” is still not sufficient for a fully autonomous vehicle.

  7. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    @Kman:

    Hey, thanks very much for this real-world driving report! It’s amazing how fast Tesla Autopilot/AutoSteer is advancing. Even now dealing with partial snow coverage of the road; that’s most impressive!

    * * * * *

    Hope you don’t mind a couple of Grammar Nazi corrections:

    “My conclusion, in the manor in which…”

    That should be “manner” rather than “manor”.

    “Though, it looses this frequently.”

    Should be “loses” rather than “looses”.

  8. ben says:

    hmmmm…. there are quite a lot of light and dark lines visible, which algorithms will detect and guess that might be the side of the road. Its like road->black line->white line->black line->white… when there is only one black line visible like like at 1:39 it gets in quite some trouble, it thinks it’s too far on the left, but in reality it nearly hits the curb on the right. the driver was just lucky, it can not detect the road properly, he can be happy that he did not crash into something! extremely dangerous, videos like these make people trust too much in AP, which they should not!
    at the end of the video you can clearly see that the car does not detect the left part of the fork of the road, sorry, but i dont trust the author and wont believe his explanation, why the video ended. he did not stop the camera, the video was cut. i hate when people are cherrypicking things to claim something wrong. prove me wrong and please show us the uncut version.

    1. Chris Dragon says:

      The car DOES hit the snow to the right at 1:39. You can hear it crunching. If that had been a curb or guard rail, there could have been some damage. I’m not too impressed the system couldn’t see the clear black line between clear grey road and white snow and detect that as a road edge. Heck, it’s even got a relatively high snow bank that should be visible on radar, unless radar doesn’t go that low. I’d say autopilot isn’t yet ready for these conditions.

  9. DL says:

    Was it the driver who put the high beams on right in the cops face and left them on, or was it the AP doing that? It’s no wonder the cop turned around and followed.

  10. Stephen Hodges says:

    If they are roads that the driver often takes, isn’t it the case that the car has learned to navigate them in good weather or when being driven manually, so has a head start when the snow covers a lot of the “marks”?