Tesla is preparing to release an update to its Autopilot system that will enable it to automatically stop at traffic lights and a video of the system at work has already been released.
The automaker is supposed to introduce more advanced driver-assist features meant to help city driving the same way Autopilot has been helping Tesla drivers for highway driving.
It is part of what CEO Elon Musk calls the “feature complete” version of its full self-driving capability, which Tesla was supposed to push (at least to its early access owners) by the end of last year.
Instead, Tesla pushed what Musk called a “full self-driving preview”, which was the integration of stop signs and traffic lights in Tesla’s Autopilot visualization.
When the automaker pushed the update in December, Tesla’s Autopilot system didn’t act on those traffic lights.
Now it looks like Tesla has started to push an Autopilot update with the actual ability to handle intersections to its “early access fleet”, a group of owners who beta test new software update from Tesla.
Out of Spec Motoring on Twitter, who apparently has access to a Model 3 with early access software, released a video of the new Autopilot software in action:
— Out of Spec Motoring (@Out_of_Spec) March 26, 2020
It shows the Model 3 detecting the red light and stopping the car on its own with some new driving visualizations.
This driver-assist feature for city driving is part of a promise that Tesla has made since starting to sell its “Full Self-Driving” package years ago.
It’s going to be available to owners of Tesla vehicles with the latest Autopilot hardware and who paid for Tesla’s $7,000 Full Self-Driving Capability package, which has been listing these two upcoming features:
- Recognize and respond to traffic lights and stop signs.
- Automatic driving on city streets.
The fact that the feature is in the early access program right now means that Tesla is closer to releasing it to its broader fleet, but the timeline is not clear.
Sometimes Tesla only takes days between pushing a feature to its early access owners and the larger customer fleet while at other times, it can take weeks.
While Tesla Autopilot will be able to automatically operate at intersections, like with Autopilot on the highway, Tesla still says that drivers must keep their hands on the steering wheel at all times and be ready to take control. The driver is still always responsible for driving the vehicle.
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