Tesla CEO Elon Musk says the company is continuing to adjust and update its self-driving system, possibly in preparation for a beta version of fully autonomous driving to be released in a month’s time. The latest update adds the ability for Tesla vehicles to automatically drive past the green light without a leader. According to Tesla’s guidelines, when the traffic lights turn green after the rule update, the vehicle will not need a “clear driving confirmation” to pass through the intersection.
Prior to this update, motorists using Autopilot on city streets were required to keep the car moving by tracking pushes or taping the accelerator at any time. Autopilot also always relies on the car in front of Tesla to indicate when it is safe to start accelerating. All of these features require Tesla owners to buy fully autonomous driving upgrades, but it doesn’t actually make any Tesla fully autonomous, even if its name says so.
Now, the software update will allow Tesla electric cars to simply pass through intersections, which can recognize green beacons, even if the electric car is the first car in line.
According to the release instructions, when this happens, “the stop line in the driving visualization turns green to indicate that the car will continue to pass through the intersection.” But don’t expect Tesla to take over every crossroads. The note also states that if the driver has stopped the car completely when the red light has turned green, the car still needs to be licensed. The autopilot system also doesn’t turn through intersections — it can only accelerate in a straight line. The electric car maker said it expects to add turning capabilities as it gathers more data from Tesla’s fleet that uses the software.
Musk said at last month’s Badery Day event that he was currently driving a prototype alpha with a fully autonomous driving assistant, adding that a “private beta” version of the software could be available “in a month or so.”