Tesla Autopilot is now knowingly able to drive through green lights and some owners are starting to test it out.
I emphasize ‘knowingly’ because technically Autopilot has always been able to drive through intersections, but it didn’t really know what it was doing.
It was either trying to stay within a lane or to follow a lead car.
Now Tesla Autopilot has evolved enough that it actually knows what it is doing.
The new feature is called “Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control.”
It’s the first time Tesla released a significant feature to handle intersections and it has been especially careful about the rollout of the new feature — admitting that the feature will be “conservative” at first and requiring drivers to confirm when the Autopilot can actually cross an intersection.
While the vehicle will automatically stop at a red light or stop sign, it wouldn’t go through an intersection when the light is green. It required drivers to press the stalk or the accelerator as a confirmation for the vehicle to proceed.
Last week, Tesla has started pushing a new update to early access owners that removed the need for the driver to confirm before going through a green light – although there are requirements:
“This software update contains improvements to our new Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control feature. Your vehicle will no longer require driver confirmation to continue through green lights while there is a lead vehicle ahead of you and not in a turn lane. Every driver is responsible for remaining alert and active when using Autopilot and must be prepared to take action at any time.”
With this update, it’s technically the first time Tesla Autopilot drives completely automatically and knowingly through green lights.
The software update has now started to be pushed to the wider fleet and Tesla owners are starting to test it out:
It looks like it’s working fairly well, but it will certainly be more useful in traffic.
I appreciate that the owner here had someone else filming and they decided to test it out in low traffic for the first time.
As usual, while it is impressive to see the improvements Autopilot is making, it is still only considered a driver-assist system and that means the driver needs to be paying attention at all time and be ready to take control.
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