By Fred Lambert
Tesla has released a new, highly anticipated Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control feature.
As we reported last month, Tesla has started to push an Autopilot update with the actual ability to handle intersections to some drivers in its “early access fleet,” a group of owners who beta test new software update from Tesla.
We even got to see a quick demo video.
Later, we also took a look at the manual for the new feature that explains in detail how it works as well as its limitations.
Now Tesla is starting to push the new feature to the wider fleet in the US as part of a new 2020.12.6 software update.
The automaker writes in the release notes of the new update:
Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control (BETA)
Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control is designed to recognize and respond to traffic lights and stop signs, slowing your car to a stop when using Traffic-Aware Cruise Control or Autosteer. This feature will slow the car for all detected traffic lights, including green, blinking yellow, and off lights. As your car approaches an intersection, your car will indicate the intention to slow down via a notification, slow down, and stop at the red line shown on the driving visualization.
To continue through the stop line, push down the gear selector once or briefly press the accelerator pedal to confirm that it is safe to proceed. As with all Autopilot features, you must continue to pay attention and be ready to take immediate action, including braking because this feature may not stop for all traffic controls. This feature will be conservative, slow down often at first, and will not attempt to turn through intersections. Over time, as we learn from the fleet, the feature will control more naturally.
To enable, shift your car into PARK and tap Controls > Autopilot > Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control (Beta).
The CEO stuck to the timeline. For international markets, they will likely have to wait for the summer as Tesla has to adapt the technology to different road markings and types of traffic lights.
Some owners have already started testing the feature:
I don’t think there’s much value in this feature for drivers other than slowing down and stopping at intersections at the moment, but using it might lead to a more useful feature later.
I think it’s more about improving Autopilot to help Tesla achieve full self-driving, and it looks like Tesla is being clear about that when it writes:
This feature will be conservative, slow down often at first, and will not attempt to turn through intersections. Over time, as we learn from the fleet, the feature will control more naturally.
Drivers using this feature will basically train Autopilot to cross intersections.
As usual, when talking about new Autopilot features, it’s important to remember 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.