Nerdgastic Produces Thorough Review Of Tesla Model S With Autopilot – Video

OCT 20 2015 BY JAY COLE 13

Autopilot Engaged

Autopilot Engaged

Barnacules Nerdgasm gets behind the wheel of a Tesla P85D with recently launched Autopilot software.

What follows is a surprisingly thorough and pretty decent review, illustrating what happens when you first acquaint yourself with Tesla’s Autopilot system, and how things change over time.

The review starts with a generic recap of what the P85D Tesla is:  electric, fast, g-forces, standstill launches, etc.

Then Bernacules gets into the meat and potatoes: the Autopilot system.  At first it “scares the hell” out of him in giving up control of driving the electric supercar, with his hands ready to re-assume control at a moments notice.

Initial comments range from the potential liability issues for Tesla in regards to idiot drivers, to the amount of power inside the Tesla that the Autopilot is entrusted to control.

However by the end of the review, and after getting better acquainted with the system, Barnacules is a lot more confident in the software,  and what it can and can’t do.

A special affinity is noted for using it when you really need it most – low speed traffic.  He also says there is a greater benefit in using Autopilot on roads you have driven before, and knowing how the system will interpret them ahead of time, which takes a lot of the apprehension out of the experience.

Categories: Tesla, Videos


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13 Comments on "Nerdgastic Produces Thorough Review Of Tesla Model S With Autopilot – Video"

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Altho this was a long video (39 minutes), it was worth sitting through. The driver is clearly a tech guy, and understands the many challenges the AI must deal with. He’s also a much safer driver (or non-driver) than is shown in other videos that have been posted online. Altho he keeps up a running stream of commentary, he never takes his eyes off the road for more than a very few seconds, and he constantly talks about the need to have his hands hovering near the steering wheel in case he needs to take over steering. (As I’ve said in the past, it’s appalling to see some (non-)drivers using Autopilot (Beta) take their attention completely off the road, talking to the camera or otherwise totally ignoring traffic conditions.) However, altho the driver and his navigator start out their trip properly, waiting until they are on a freeway before activating Autopilot (Beta), when the car mistakenly takes an exit (a problem others have reported; that is, Autopilot “likes” to take exits from the freeway whenever encountered), they merge onto a road with two-way traffic, and the driver improperly continues to use Autopilot (Beta) under those conditions. However, in this case,… Read more »

When it’s still Beta, Tesla should never be allowed to make it available to everyone.

similarly, when Gmail was in Beta, Google should not never allow public to use Gmail!

Sorry Counter-Strike Cat, but your ludditism is not much appreciated when we are dealing with cutting edge technology.

Jouni Valkonen said:

“similarly, when Gmail was in Beta, Google should not never allow public to use Gmail!

“Sorry Counter-Strike Cat, but your ludditism is not much appreciated when we are dealing with cutting edge technology.”

I find myself in rare agreement with CS Cat. I doubt there is any possibility that Gmail (Beta) would have caused a large heavy car to suddenly veer into oncoming traffic, on a two-lane road, as one user reported. Yeah, that was a wholly improper use of Autosteer, but apparently it’s being done a lot, and Tesla hasn’t yet taken any steps to prevent drivers from misusing the software in such a dangerous fashion.

Technically speaking, the Model S was never complete when it first went on sale. It was missing many features, refinements and fixes that were added over the years since its initial release.

Are you saying Tesla should never have sold the Model S? That would be pretty naive position to take, in retrospect.

The other aspect to AutoPilot, is that it AUTOMAPS– and this information gets shared. This is a huge data generator of car specific information that goes down to the individual parking spaces available in a a given lot. No one else has ever attempted to make such lush digital maps with that level of automotive fidelity. Releasing AutoPilot, was the only way to gather this critical information, and allow the feature to improve itself.

Do you have a citation where anyone at Tesla said anything about “automapping” being performed by ordinary everyday Model S’s? Or is this just speculation on your part?

Guess you shouldn’t use Autopilot, if you can’t read. High Detail Mapping is constantly and specifically mentioned in online articles that have some level of depth…

“One thing that has surprised me is that Autopilot (Beta) works better in heavy traffic than when the road is empty” That look like some weird kind of swarm-intelligence to me… The AI uses some information gained by the paricipating human crowd. Different sensors (eyes, ears) different algorithms (experience, intuition, carelessness) Human beeings preprocessing information for AI. Well that sounds somehow being the case quite often… We teach the robots how to become better than us. I had a quite lengthy discussion with someone working on self-driving some time ago about the 4-way-stop problem if only AI is involved, and imperfection seems to be one key to the solution. I don’t know the exact behavior of the AI, but as I understand it, in heavy traffic the AI locks to the car in front. Thereby it uses the driver in the car in front as a range-of-sight extender (with preprocessor). It mainly outsources the task for the speed determination to the human brain in front and therewith reduces the problem to a simple keep-distance-quite-constant-smoothly problem. This leaves more processing power to the determination of the problem with the right/left dimension (stay in the lane) which most likely includes both information… Read more »

I’m confused why people think they should be removing their hands entirely from the wheel. The notes are pretty clear!!!
Quote: “Autosteer [beta] is a hands-on feature. You must keep your hands [lightly] on the steering wheel at all times.”

Because people are dumb and never read / obey instructions. 😛

Scott, that is only there for liability issues. People cannot blame autopilot if they get crashed because they did not pay attention to traffic while autopilot was driving. Anyway, due to active safety and the most advanced passive safety, it is next to impossible to end up into fatal crash with X or S.


The part I found interesting is where the co-pilot said it takes snippits of video and sends it back to Tesla.

This is how you build big data, and use deep-learning to create better algorithms.