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A new software update lets Tesla vehicles respond to traffic lights and stop signs

You still need to pay attention to the road.

Tesla model 3 on road
Image: Unsplash

Some Tesla owners are getting one step closer to fully autonomous driving with an update that allows its electric cars to recognize and respond to stop signs and traffic lights. The update is now rolling out to more drivers, after a previously limited release.

To get it, your Tesla must have the most recent Hardware 3 package and also the fully-optioned Autopilot package aka the “full self-driving” one. It’s called Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control, and it’ll let your Tesla recognize and respond to exactly those things.

You can see it in action in the video below from DragTimes, where the feature was shown in beta. It slows down Tesla vehicles to a stop when it detects any traffic light, including green, blinking yellow, and off lights. It seems a bit dangerous to slow down on a green light, honestly.

To continue through, the driver must pull the Autopilot stalk or manually press the accelerator pedal. That makes it more of a driver aid, rather than the future of self-driving.

It’s worth noting that Tesla vehicles aren’t self-driving yet, and the feature does have some sharp limits in its current form. Tesla says it won’t completely stop “for all traffic controls” the car and is no replacement for an attentive driver that’s able to take immediate action, as any other driver in charge of a moving vehicle should be.

What makes the demonstration from DragTimes even more impressive is that traffic accident statistics show that drivers don’t always pay heed to traffic signs or signals. Having a computer as a failsafe is sounding like a better idea already.

What do you think? How do you feel about Tesla vehicles assisting with traffic lights? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere. His hobbies include photography, animation, and hoarding Reddit gold.

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