Tesla has released a new software update to further enable cars to automatically drive through green traffic lights now without a lead car.
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.
The rollout has been similar to Autopilot’s automatic lane change feature, which at first needed driver confirmation to perform the lane change, but it was later made completely autonomous after Tesla gathered data from the fleet and improved the feature.
Now Tesla is doing the same for the new “Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control” feature.
In June, Tesla started to enable cars to automatically drive through green lights if they were following another vehicle, also known as a lead car, while the light is green.
In a new software update (2020.40.1), Tesla has started to remove the lead car requirement, but the automaker also notes that it might not work in all intersections:
“As you approach a green traffic light, in some situations where there is a straight path through the intersection, the Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control feature may no longer require explicit driver confirmation. If this occurs, the stop line in the driving visualization will turn green to indicate that the car will continue through an intersection. Confirmation is still required if your car is already stopped at the light when it turns green.”
It sounds like it will only work without a lead car in simple intersections with a straight path to cross.
As with prior updates to the ‘Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control’ feature, Tesla also notes that the system is still not able to turn in an intersection and it can only be used to go straight:
“Note: this feature will not turn or attempt to turn through intersections, although over time, as we continue to learn from the fleet, we expect that it will control more naturally. For more information, please refer to the Owner’s Manual.”
This new update should be among the rare few updates to Autopilot and Full Self-Driving Capability before the Autopilot Rewrite that Tesla aims to release by the end of the year.
The rewrite is expected to enable Tesla to release more features and improvements faster.
As usual, be careful when using new Autopilot and Full Self-Driving Capability features and always keep your hands on the steering wheel and be ready to take control at all times.