Teslas can now roll through green lights automatically

Autopilot grows smarter.


Tesla

Tesla continues to tweak and update its Autopilot system, likely in preparation for a Full-Self Driving beta set to launch in about a month, according to CEO Elon Musk. The latest update adds the capability for Tesla vehicles to automatically drive through green lights without a lead car.

According to the Tesla release notes, the vehicle will not require “explicit drive confirmation” to move through an intersection when a traffic light turns green. Before this update, drivers needed to give the car permission to proceed with a stalk push or a tap of the accelerator anytime they used Autopilot on city streets. Autopilot also always relied on a car in front of the Tesla to indicate when it was safe to start accelerating. All of these functions require Tesla owners to purchase the Full-Self Driving upgrade package, and no, it does not make any Tesla fully autonomous, despite its name.

Now the software will let a Tesla simply roll through as it recognizes the green signal even if the EV is the first car in line. When this happens, “the stop line in the driving visualization will turn green to indicate that the car will continue through an intersection,” according to the release notes. Don’t expect the Tesla to take over every intersection, though. The notes also state drivers still need to give the car permission if they’ve already brought the car to a complete stop when the light turns green. Autopilot also will not turn through an intersection — only accelerate in a straight line. The automaker said it expects that, as it gathers more data from the fleet of Teslas using the software, it will add turning capability.

Musk said at last month’s Battery Day event he’s currently driving an alpha prototype version of the Full-Self Driving Autopilot assistant that is “bleeding-edge,” then added that a “private beta” of the software could launch “in a month or so.”


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