Based on a technology called the FSD, Tesla’s flagship feature, its Autopilot has been updated to move autonomously in urban areas, detecting traffic lights and stop signs.
We knew the ability of the autopilot of these vehicles to manage driving on major roads such as highways, in particular by taking the decision to maintain safety distances. But driving in an urban environment is a much more complex challenge.
With this update, the vehicle is able, thanks to the combination of information collected using cameras and GPS data, to identify a stop sign or three-color lights. It will then start to slow down until it comes to a complete stop. This system will also detect out-of-use lights or intersections that do not have a sign, by asking the driver what choice to make. Once stopped, it will be up to the latter to make the decision to restart the vehicle to start again.
But this technology is not able to recognize all traffic signs and the user must in all cases remain attentive, with his hands on the wheel ready to take control instead of the software.
An impressive but intermediate stage
This update, while impressive, especially for urban driving, appears to be an intermediate step in the development of the autopilot. The end result would be to have completely autonomous vehicles.
According to the first beta users, the autopilot is not yet able to manage roundabouts and intersections where it is necessary to cut the lane.
A beta version of the update had first benefited a small group of users, so that they could test it. It will now be rolled out to the Tesla fleet more widely, but only in the United States at this time. It will take several months for it to be available in other countries, including France.