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      10-03-2018, 05:03 PM   #1
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BMW X3 Driving Assistant Plus VS Tesla Enhanced Auto Pilot

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So I had a chance to drive home a Tesla Model X P100D for an overnight test drive and wanted to share my comparison thoughts between the two systems.

I had always been curious of how BMW's Driving Assistance Plus performs against Tesla's AP2.
My initial thoughts after returning the car, is that Tesla does half of the functions better, while BMW performs better with the other half; bear with me as I try to explain them in contrast

Lane recognition (Steering correction/ adaptive cruise):
Tesla > BMW

Tesla: only needs one lane marking to function and does it well, even in side-streets, highways, and common roads. Unlike BMW, when approaching an intersection, or a break in lane markings, Tesla continues functioning.
Tesla's also has an advantage in displaying other cars present in three lanes on its display (left lane, right lane, and present lane), it will also show a real time animation of these cars while they move beside you, make lane changes or movements in relation to the lane markings. Tesla's system works in well in residential, regular streets, exit ramps, twisty roads, and intersections. I have full faith in using it when I'm not on the freeway. Telsa can correct steering beyond at least at a 45 degree angle, maybe more, and BMW would deactivate steering controls around 30-40 degrees I think.

BMW: In my observations, I believe BMW needs at least two of the three factors present in order to remain active. It needs either two lane markings, or one lane marking and a car to follow at a minimum to remain active. While BMW does not have an animated display to show cars around you, it does have the advantage of having the Head-up Display, which greatly improves driver awareness of the system's status. Unfortunately, I feel like I can only use the autopilot function in non-freeway roads about half of the time, or less compared to Tesla.

Following Distance:
Tesla > BMW
BMW has 4 settings for distance, Tesla has 7 as I can recall. The advantage here is that Tesla's numbered settings is set to seconds in reaction time, rather than distance in car lengths. Tesla seems to recognize cars ahead much further

Automated braking while following:
BMW>Tesla
Telsa's auto braking function is very abrupt and unsettling; at-speed, it actually feels like its slamming on the brakes. BMW's braking appears to be more gradual and braking force is more evenly applied.

Driver steering input:
BMW > Tesla
Biggest annoyance for me, would be Tesla's autopilot system shutting off completely when I have to take over steering input, even for minor corrections. BMW will allow you to take over, and automatically resume without a need to re-activate it.

System self-deactivation:
BMW > Tesla
When Tesla's system loses the recognizable lines, or if the road/exit's steering angle is too much, the steering wheel would jerk very strongly and deactivate. This definitely gets the driver's attention, but also feels dangerous. I can imagine that other drivers are thinking I am drunk with the erratic steering inputs that occur when system deactivates. What's really annoying, is that you have to manually re-activate the system again, every time you take over the steering- it does not resume itself, while BMW does.

BMW does a better job at notifying the driver with sound and flashing red lights when the same occurs, and there is no sudden jerk in steering input. I've also noticed that having both hands on the steering wheel will help BMW's system become available in many cases if its not "green"

Traffic/ stop and go:
Tesla > BMW
Almost equal for both, but a slight advantage to Tesla for its animated visuals of cars that are coming into your lane, which gives the driver confidence that the system recognizes it. Another advantage for Tesla would be that it does not require input if traffic stops more than 15 seconds, while BMW requires you to press resume cruise control, or pressing the gas to resume.

Timed steering wheel input requirements:
BMW > Tesla
Both steering input requirements comes on under 30 seconds for both BMW and Tesla. (longer in stop in go traffic, but both equal)

Barely brushing the steering wheel in the BMW is great, it can be a finger touch, or touch of the palm would reset the "hands on the steering wheel" requirements.
Tesla actually requires you to slightly wiggle the steering wheel a bit to re-engage it. Telsa's warnings or indicators are also not as noticeable as BMW's HUD - or animated hands on the instrument panel. Tesla has a faint flashing white line on top of the display and a small text box, and the warning sound doesn't catch my attention as much as the BMW's
Worst part about Tesla's system is that the system would deactivate "for the rest of the trip" if you fail to reactivate it and it immediately starts slowing down to a stop and flash its hazard lights. This safety feature if fine, but BMW does not punish me like a child, the way Tesla does. You would need to put the Tesla in park, open the door, and drive again before the autopilot system can be activated again.

Low speed- cruise/AP:
BMW > Tesla
Maybe its just me, but I had a hard time trying to activate or re-activate the system when I was accelerating from 0 mph to below 35 mph. BMW seems to allow me activate adaptive cruise control function + steering anytime its available.
Tesla also limits your cruise control speed to 5mph max over any posted speed limits of 25 mph, and 35 mph.
Lastly, if you have your foot on the accelerator while the system is activated, a message pops up saying that the braking function is deactivated while your foot is on the accelerator (even if just a little bit).

Self parking:
BMW > Tesla
Some reason the Model X only shows the backup camera and PDCs when parking- so its very difficult to gauge if the self parking feature is going hit anything since the driver has no other visuals than the rear camera.
BMW on the other hand has both the top-down view and rear-view cameras available, with the optional 3-D when self parking. Both systems, you have to pass available parking space for it to recognize it, but Tesla does not have a dedicated parking button to start this feature, you have to go shuffle through the giant iPad screen to activate it.

I truly enjoyed the overnight test drive with the Model X P100D, but for the price it lacks some of the basic, creature comforts that a cheaper priced BMW has. Things such as steering wheel heating, an easy to control command center (iDrive), ergonomics, gesture control, etc.
Enhanced Autopilot 2 is a $3000 option (at purchase) and $5000 after the fact, while BMW's Drivers Assistance Plus is $2200, which currently cannot be retrofitted.

My take away with the Tesla, is that its a fantastic appliance that you can drive! Its one expensive appliance for sure, but it really lacks the feeling of driving a car because it feels like its more of a utility, or just a mode of (very advanced) transport.

I would love to hear your thoughts on either semi-autonomous self-driving systems.
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      10-03-2018, 06:47 PM   #2
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Very interesting reading thanks! I have just ordered an X3 with DA Plus and park assist plus so this has made me look forward to testing them out even more
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      10-03-2018, 06:55 PM   #3
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Good comparison.
The things that is most annoying for me about lane keep is that it bails out on slightest turn in the road.
When it loses the markers there seems to be an artificially long pause before it syncs up again even if it is clearly visible again.
I agree, BMW adaptive cruise is working great for me.

Was your test with the Tesla update that was just released?
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      10-03-2018, 07:26 PM   #4
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The BMW bails out frequently when it runs into problems.
If I pass out and cannot take control of the wheel... the Tesla, new mercs and even the new BMW X5/new 3 series running iDrive 7 will slow the car down to a stop. Ie. does the best it can to minimise accidents.

In existing bmw tech.... if you don’t touch the steering wheel... it disconnects and would literally drive you off the road. This is the biggest failing.

The sensors available in old and new cars appear to be similar.
No reason a software update couldn’t fix this.... but doubtful they will update existing cars to add better driving assistance functionality.

It would require frequent software updates via the new auto upgrade functions in idrive7. My guess is they’d need to first upgrade idrive6 to idrive7.
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      10-03-2018, 07:41 PM   #5
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I will never buy a Tesla not because I don't like electric cars but due to Elon being a arrogant a**

Anyway I think Audi's system for semi autonomous driving is the best from the Germans so far.
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      10-03-2018, 10:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Njerts View Post
Good comparison.
The things that is most annoying for me about lane keep is that it bails out on slightest turn in the road.
When it loses the markers there seems to be an artificially long pause before it syncs up again even if it is clearly visible again.
I agree, BMW adaptive cruise is working great for me.

Was your test with the Tesla update that was just released?
Latest software on the newest Model X.
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      10-03-2018, 10:49 PM   #7
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Thanks for the comparison review.
Hopefully, some company will get it right within the next 10 years.
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      10-04-2018, 01:07 AM   #8
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Awesome comparison - thanks for taking time.
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      10-04-2018, 02:45 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cvee View Post
The BMW bails out frequently when it runs into problems.
If I pass out and cannot take control of the wheel... the Tesla, new mercs and even the new BMW X5/new 3 series running iDrive 7 will slow the car down to a stop. Ie. does the best it can to minimise accidents.

In existing bmw tech.... if you don’t touch the steering wheel... it disconnects and would literally drive you off the road. This is the biggest failing.

The sensors available in old and new cars appear to be similar.
No reason a software update couldn’t fix this.... but doubtful they will update existing cars to add better driving assistance functionality.

It would require frequent software updates via the new auto upgrade functions in idrive7. My guess is they’d need to first upgrade idrive6 to idrive7.
Is this the difference between DA Plus & DA Professional?
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      11-01-2018, 12:37 PM   #10
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Thanks for taking the time to post this comparison
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      11-01-2018, 01:59 PM   #11
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My X3 drives itself like its had a couple wine coolers.
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      11-01-2018, 02:34 PM   #12
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i cant wait to try the new traffic jam feature once its released. completely hands free under 37mph.
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      11-01-2018, 02:48 PM   #13
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As it is often true with Tesla, this review is already obsolete. The Navigate on Autopilot feature released last week made some very significant changes to the autonomous driving capabilities of Tesla cars.

Last edited by ynguldyn; 11-01-2018 at 03:46 PM.
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      11-01-2018, 04:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ynguldyn View Post
As it is often true with Tesla, this review is already obsolete. The Navigate on Autopilot feature released last week made some very significant changes to the autonomous driving capabilities of Tesla cars.
About time for them given the incidences. Ultimately it's not an autopilot system. Hugely misleading to call an assistance system an autopilot. And Tesla remains a L2 system with only Audi A8 being the only L3 system in market.
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      11-01-2018, 04:38 PM   #15
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Very good feedback thank you
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      11-01-2018, 04:46 PM   #16
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Seemed a bit biased

Nice write up and I agree with lots of it but it still seemed quite a bit biased. I have both, BMW and Tesla and find things like selfpark much better in the Tesla, where it's fully automatic. There is absolutely no input required whatsoever. Also, Tesla covers your rims if the car were to hit the curb. I think that's a pretty cool guarantee.

Comparing iDrive to Tesla's system is very subjective. I like both. I am very used to iDrive, find it a bit limiting though. Gesture control is a piece of cr** in my opinion.

To answer your question about semi-autonomous driving, I get to test cars and have driven quite a lot of different systems, and I honestly believe Tesla still has the lead there, even though the later updates made it a bit more limiting. When I just got the car, I could drive on autopilot hands off for 5 minutes, depending on the road condition and I absolutely loved it. Now it's actually set to a 12-second nag if it doesn't recognize torque on the wheel (not 30 as you stated) which is quite annoying if you know how great the system actually can be. Luckily I found a way around it though . I drive 100 miles each day, 90% on AP without hands on the wheel and without issues. No hands on the wheel does NOT mean no attention to the road ahead. You still have to monitor the system and see potential dangers ahead to be safe, but it's not that often that I have to override the autopilot or do something.
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      11-01-2018, 04:52 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ADS-UK View Post
About time for them given the incidences. Ultimately it's not an autopilot system. Hugely misleading to call an assistance system an autopilot. And Tesla remains a L2 system with only Audi A8 being the only L3 system in market.
These "incidents" are caused by people who don't pay attention and don't know what they are doing. How many airplane accidents were caused by human error. Does that make a 747, A320 or whatever a piece of crap or a misleading machine because it had autopilot? Is the A330 a piece of crap because of AF447? I sometimes wonder what the regular person thinks an autopilot actually is?
I am a pilot and use autopilot on every flight of course, but I can tell you it's not a hands off, brains off kinda thing what some people seem to expect from an autopilot. Tesla does not claim that any of their cars are a hands off autopilot, at least not yet. So I don't think it's misleading at all.

It's misleading that you claim Audi has a L3 system. I mean it does, but only up to 60 km/h which is kind of a joke. It's great for traffic jams, but what after that?
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      11-01-2018, 05:13 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kgroschi View Post
Nice write up and I agree with lots of it but it still seemed quite a bit biased. I have both, BMW and Tesla and find things like selfpark much better in the Tesla, where it's fully automatic. There is absolutely no input required whatsoever. Also, Tesla covers your rims if the car were to hit the curb. I think that's a pretty cool guarantee.

Comparing iDrive to Tesla's system is very subjective. I like both. I am very used to iDrive, find it a bit limiting though. Gesture control is a piece of cr** in my opinion.

To answer your question about semi-autonomous driving, I get to test cars and have driven quite a lot of different systems, and I honestly believe Tesla still has the lead there, even though the later updates made it a bit more limiting. When I just got the car, I could drive on autopilot hands off for 5 minutes, depending on the road condition and I absolutely loved it. Now it's actually set to a 12-second nag if it doesn't recognize torque on the wheel (not 30 as you stated) which is quite annoying if you know how great the system actually can be. Luckily I found a way around it though . I drive 100 miles each day, 90% on AP without hands on the wheel and without issues. No hands on the wheel does NOT mean no attention to the road ahead. You still have to monitor the system and see potential dangers ahead to be safe, but it's not that often that I have to override the autopilot or do something.
I was most likely biased due to my limited time with the Tesla (24hours) and how I compared with with what I was used to in the BMW.

No doubt that the lane keeping assist feature on the Tesla, both on normal streets, back roads, and freeways are superior.

The self parking thing that got me annoyed was the fact that I couldn't see beyond the rear view camera; (i.e. top down view, 3d view,) .. perhaps it takes more getting used to. Its pretty cool that Tesla offers that wheel replacement. I would had certainly taken that into account when writing this if I had known.
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      11-01-2018, 05:19 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kgroschi View Post
Now it's actually set to a 12-second nag if it doesn't recognize torque on the wheel (not 30 as you stated) which is quite annoying if you know how great the system actually can be. Luckily I found a way around it though .
Just based on what I need to do to silence the nag, I'm guessing you have a small weight on one side of the steering wheel?
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      11-01-2018, 05:21 PM   #20
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Quote:
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I was most likely biased due to my limited time with the Tesla (24hours) and how I compared with with what I was used to in the BMW.
Can you clarify which software version the Tesla was running?
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      11-01-2018, 05:26 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Day Laborer View Post
I was most likely biased due to my limited time with the Tesla (24hours) and how I compared with with what I was used to in the BMW.

No doubt that the lane keeping assist feature on the Tesla, both on normal streets, back roads, and freeways are superior.

The self parking thing that got me annoyed was the fact that I couldn't see beyond the rear view camera; (i.e. top down view, 3d view,) .. perhaps it takes more getting used to. Its pretty cool that Tesla offers that wheel replacement. I would had certainly taken that into account when writing this if I had known.
Totally understand. As I said, your write up was very good for the most part.

I very much agree that it is bad that the car has no birds eye camera. I find it quite ridiculous for a car that's meant to be all techy etc. I think they just forgot. Same with the automatic windshield wiper for example.

For me the most mind-blowing part next to the autopilot and the $80 it costs me per month to run this thing is the unbelievable handling. I do have aftermarket rims and tires which are wider and stickier than stock (Conti Contact Sport), but man, with that low weight it handles much better than a 5 series (I am talking about the Model S here btw). It goes where you point it, even though the steering feel is a bit dead.
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      11-01-2018, 06:50 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kgroschi View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by ADS-UK View Post
About time for them given the incidences. Ultimately it's not an autopilot system. Hugely misleading to call an assistance system an autopilot. And Tesla remains a L2 system with only Audi A8 being the only L3 system in market.
These "incidents" are caused by people who don't pay attention and don't know what they are doing. How many airplane accidents were caused by human error. Does that make a 747, A320 or whatever a piece of crap or a misleading machine because it had autopilot? Is the A330 a piece of crap because of AF447? I sometimes wonder what the regular person thinks an autopilot actually is?
I am a pilot and use autopilot on every flight of course, but I can tell you it's not a hands off, brains off kinda thing what some people seem to expect from an autopilot. Tesla does not claim that any of their cars are a hands off autopilot, at least not yet. So I don't think it's misleading at all.

It's misleading that you claim Audi has a L3 system. I mean it does, but only up to 60 km/h which is kind of a joke. It's great for traffic jams, but what after that?
Oooh a Tesla fan boy on a high horse.

Anyone who spent a day in marketing will tell you that it's branded to sell customers a dream. There's a reason why every other traditional car makers have opted to call their systems driver assistance systems and not auto pilots. Because L2 and L3 aren't autonomous driving systems. If you aren't sure, stop 30 average people (not pilots) in a mall and ask them what they understand by the term autopilot.
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