Autopilot: needs better awareness of accurate vehicle positions during lane changes on freeway

Anohan - Monday, October 12, 2020 - 6:39 pm

While driving on the freeway with Autopilot engaged, I now avoid changing lanes near trucks. Autopilot tends to get spooked, when it is in the middle of changing lanes near a semi truck (collectively traveling at about 65 mph).

One instance, on a 3-lane freeway with light traffic, I was peacefully cruising with Autopilot engaged in lane #3 (to the left). A car speedily approached from behind, expecting me to move out of the way, which I decided to do. So I engaged the turn signal to change to lane #2 (in the middle); with lane #2 empty, the Tesla slowly changed lanes. However, in lane #1 there was a semi truck. The Tesla was about to safely finish entering lane #2 right next to the semi truck. But, Autopilot got spooked halfway through the lane change: powerfully swerving partway back into lane #3, while slightly slowing down, leaving me confused (along with all the other drivers). I ended up disengaging Autopilot immediately and proceeded to quickly move into lane #2. The car in lane #3 sped away up the freeway; and I passed by the semi truck quickly and easily.

This experience has happened before, where I try to change freeway lanes leading towards a semi truck in the far lane. The lane change is completely safe; but Autopilot seems to think the truck's presence is too dangerous to get near—even though the truck stays perfectly inside their lane.

Now, when using Autopilot, I completely pass trucks on the freeway, before engaging Autopilot's lane change function.

It would be nice if Autopilot could more accurately tell that it is safe to change freeway lanes with nearby traffic.