Tesla Autopilot now alerts drivers to green lights

Tesla continues to build out Autopilot's smarts, but it's far from a self-driving car.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
2 min read
Tesla Model 3 Autopilot
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Tesla Model 3 Autopilot

Green light alerts join a growing list of Autopilot functions.


Following an update earlier this year that enabled Teslas with the "Full Self-Driving Capability" package to come to a stop for red lights, the automaker has rolled out the latest addition to Autopilot's growing list of technologies. Now, the system recognizes green lights and can alert the driver when a traffic signals turns from red to green.

According to the release notes following the update this past Saturday, the "green traffic light chime" will sound once to alert the driver to proceed. Note, the car won't start moving on its own. If there's a car in front, the chime will go off once the vehicle in front starts to move. In addition, if Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control is active, drivers will need to confirm to proceed through the intersection. Again, in no case will the car take matters into its own hands. These tools remain pretty experimental driver assist features and do not create a self-driving car.

The latest update does more than alert to a green light, though. The latest software also adds an alert when using Autosteer if the system detects the driver may run through an intersection. Tesla warns, "This is not a substitute for an attentive driver and will not stop the car." And Teslas will now use their cameras to identify speed limit signs for more accurate speed limit data.

So far, the improvements are far from CEO Elon Musk's vision to essentially have fully self-driving Teslas roaming about. Musk said by the end of 2020, owners could let their Teslas roam around as autonomous taxis to possibly generate income. While the advances are impressive, we're certainly nowhere near such a scenario yet.

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