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The Autopilot is learning fast: Model S owners are already reporting that Tesla’s Autopilot is self-improving

press01_autopilot_dashDuring the press conference for the release of the Autopilot, Tesla CEO Elon Musk referred to each Model S owners as an “expert trainer” – meaning that each driver will train the autonomous features of the system to feed the collective network intelligence of the fleet by simply driving the electric vehicle on Autopilot.

He said that the system should improve every day, but that improvements might only become noticeable every week or so by adding up. Just a few weeks after the release, Model S owners are already taking to the Tesla Motors Club forum to describe how the Autopilot is improving… A common problem with the early version of the system was that it had a tendency to try to take exits on the highway when it wasn’t supposed to, but after a few tugs on the Autopilot’s leash, trainers have corrected the issue.

Model S 85D owner mobe:

The first day when I was in the right lane, as I approached exit ramps, it would dive for the exit ramp. I quickly learned to apply torque to the wheel to hold the car on the interstate until I had passed the exit. Each day the system seems to have less tendency to follow the exit ramps as I pass.

The last two days it only gave a momentary wiggle and moved over maybe six inches towards the exit ramp then it recovered and moved on down the road.

This morning it gave only a very slight hesitation, so little that I did not have to correct it at all. I find it remarkable that it is improving this rapidly.

Tesla doesn’t recommend using the Autopilot on roads with aggressive curves, but of course it doesn’t stop owners from trying and apparently the system is learning to handle the sharp curves pretty fast:

Model S P85D owner commasign:

I noticed that on sharply curved ramp connecting I-80 west with CA-113 north in Davis, the first time it took the curve at full speed and wasn’t able to stay in lane resulting in a “take control immediately” alert. After a few more times on this curve with firm pressure on the steering wheel it’s now learned to slow down and today had no issue taking the curve. Definitely learning.

A Model S owner by the username Khatsalano kept a count of how many times he had to “rescue” (meaning taking control after an alert) his Model S while using the Autopilot on his daily commute. He counted 6 “rescues” on his first day, by the fourth day of using the system on his 23.5 miles commute, he only had to take control over once.

Musk said that Model S owners could add ~1 million miles of new data every day, which is helping the company create “high precision maps”:autopilot10-e1444854862236

Sillydriver explains how the Autopilot is learning his commute:

AP is definitely is learning. Each weekday morning I drive home on Route 50 in the Virginia countryside after dropping my kid at school. Watching the display while driving manually last week, I could see that AP lost lock on the road where Route 50 drops from a 4 lane divided highway to 2 lanes. Where the left lane merges into the right, the dashed line disappears for a while. Later on in the 2 lane section, a right turn lane comes off during a left hand curve in the road. I could see the projected course bend right and then snap back left: I had been using AP on the 4 lane stretch before the lane drop and was glad I had turned it off.

During the last couple days I have seen the projected course tracking correctly in both problem locations. The time of day, lighting and weather has been the same every time, and there were never any cars ahead to follow (I’m traveling against morning traffic). Then this morning I tried AP the whole length of my trip on 50 and it tracked perfectly.

Last week, Tesla released the Autopilot in Europe and Asia. While announcing the regulatory approval in the new markets, Musk also announced that on top of the fleet learning, the company will “soon” release a 1.01 update to the Autopilot software to further improve the system’s capacity to self-improve and handle curves, as well as lane changes.

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  1. Gustav Magnusson - 7 years ago

    Creepy and super cool!

  2. Anders - 7 years ago

    Very interesting reading.. I’m really looking forward to see how this brilliant new technology performs when it has been on the road for a while..
    It’s amazing how far this company has come on such short time.. 🙂

  3. Jason Pase - 7 years ago

    Self improving software could be the precursor to our Final Invention . . .

  4. dcj001 - 7 years ago

    Fred Lambert.

    “Elon Musk referred to each Model S owners as ‘expert trainers'”

    Elon Musk referred to each Model S owners as an “expert trainer”

    “when it wasn’t suppose to”

    when it wasn’t supposed to

  5. chaminda - 7 years ago

    don’t you feel ur not need.. tech is fuck when it’s out of our hand…. this is bull shit…. end of the human brain…..fuck the world

    • cletus - 7 years ago

      Well it’s clearly the end of communication abilities. Er, I mean, UR COMENT OZ FUCK COZ BRAIN BAD FUCK!

    • Will - 7 years ago

      This technology has led me to fear that there will come a day when we as humans will no longer be necessary. Technology can be a very scary thing when it goes beyond the control of humans. This development in particular is troubling. Perhaps humanity will end up losing its ability to think for itself and thereby its intellect. Fuck the world.

      There, I fixed that for you.

  6. Tessie - 7 years ago

    I’m driving my Model S over the last week in the Netherlands and Germany and have experienced every day improvements. However, I’m wondering if the car learns from others. When I drove first time on a road that is frequently travelled by other Tesla’s, my car behaved in a ‘first time’ fashion. In other words, it had same jerky movements at exists etc. that I experienced when I had the 7.0 software newly installed and that improved over the course of the week. I expect that my car will behave better the next time I drive that same road, but apparently I do not think that it is picking up learnings from others.

  7. Ronald D Marlow III - 7 years ago

    Awseome to hear. I can’t wait see the data in the next 5 years or 2 years. The data that is collected and reviewed. Should have a brighter and safer tomorrow to the self driving car. Keep the software up to date and the goal will be accomplished. Tesla Model S, X and the III will be the safest car’s on the road. Im saving for a Tesla Model 3.

  8. sam - 7 years ago

    I will be impressed when shopping carts return themselves.

  9. Razer - 7 years ago

    I’m proud of living these days.

  10. “He said that the system should improve everyday….” “Everyday” is an adjective. You mean “every day”.

  11. Allan - 7 years ago

    If all vehicles were A.I. driven, how will they deal with jaywalkers? A human can enter any street or byway and stop all traffic at will assuming they have been taught or learned to stop for human traffic.

    • havvy - 7 years ago

      My guesses it that it’ll wait for a minute until the jaywalker leaves the road, and then try to get around the jaywalker. If that’s not possible, it’ll be stuck, but the recording of this happening will be saved and sent to police.

  12. davelappert - 7 years ago

    Their is probably a ton of value in those high precision mappings. I wouldn’t be surprised if that becomes a new revenue stream for TSLA.

  13. davelappert - 7 years ago

    There is probably a ton of value in those high precision mappings. I wouldn’t be surprised if that turns into another revenue stream for TSLA.

  14. Derek Kerton - 7 years ago

    Sounds great, but I suspect anecdotal evidence and confirmation bias from these Tesla drivers.

    I don’t think that is how the Tesla cars learn (admittedly, I could be wrong.) I think they DO gather up road data, human input signals, and relay them to Tesla. Telsa does use that to improve AutoPilot, but not on a daily basis. Your car isn’t better on day 2 than it was on day 1. It improves when updates are passed back to the Teslas, such as they were when AutoPilot went from 7.0 to 7.1.

    As a Tesla owner, I have some anecdotal evidence as well, which is consistent with my theory. I think the opinions of the drivers cited above are the same as gasoline car drivers who will swear that they get better mileage with higher octane gasoline, even when they measure it carefully (they don’t: more octane prevents pre-detonation, but isn’t not “more powerful”).


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