- A video clip posted to Twitter by an unofficial source shows a Tesla Model 3 stopping itself at a red light, and the author of the post says that the feature also works with stop signs.
- It's likely the vehicle in the clip is part of the company's early access program, which allows certain owners to beta-test new features.
- Tesla CEO Elon Musk retweeted an account that stated the feature will be part of the next Autopilot update. But that's far from an official statement.
UPDATE 3/27/20: We have installed software 2020.12.1 on our long-term 2019 Tesla Model 3 and will be testing the new Autopilot features soon.
Tesla's Autopilot continues to evolve. While it's not an autonomous system and the company’s road map for that to happen has been frequently delayed, it still rides high as the best driver assistance system on the market. Now it looks like there's a chance that with the next update, it'll stop at stop signs and traffic lights.
In a video clip, posted to Twitter by Out of Spec Motoring, a Model 3 recognizes a series of traffic lights and eventually stops at one that turns red. The account commented on the tweet that the vehicle will also stop at stop signs. When a still from the video was tweeted by the Third Row Podcast saying that this feature would be part of the next Autopilot update, it was retweeted by Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
Car and Driver has reached out to Tesla for official confirmation about whether this feature will be coming to Autopilot during the next update but have yet to hear back from the company. Without any official acknowledgment, it’s hard to say when or if this option will show up in the next over-the-air update to the vehicle's driver-assistance system.
What we can say is that in the video the vehicle notes that it's about to stop at multiple intersections with green lights before doing so at a red. It keeps telling the driver that it's "stopping for traffic control" in a few hundred feet when it encounters green lights. So it's probably not ready for broad distribution. Sadly, there is no video of the Model 3 recognizing and acting on a stop sign.
It's very likely that the vehicle is equipped with the $7000 Full Self-Driving (FSD) package and is part of Tesla's early access program, which allows drivers to beta test features in the real world on public roads before they're rolled out for the rest of the fleet with compatible hardware. How quickly the feature is pushed live to other vehicles with the FSD option is unknown.
In February, Tesla shared footage of what its vehicles see when FSD Autopilot is enabled. Part of that video shows the system recognizing a stop sign.
While the feature looks impressive, the ability to recognize signs and even intersection lights isn't exclusive to Tesla. Many automakers have driver-assistance packages with sign recognition. In some areas, for instance, Audi uses GPS and infrastructure-to-vehicle technology to recognize traffic lights and count down the time until the light turns green.