Tesla Autopilot Sees the Moon, Thinks It’s a Yellow Traffic Light. Cure Is Easy

No matter how you feel about it, the Tesla Autopilot is undoubtedly the most advanced system of its kind in the world. So much so, that people feel comfortable in letting the thing drive them to their destination while they sleep, eat, or are otherwise occupied. And you don’t see people doing that with any other car.
Tesla Autopilot mistakes Moon for yellow traffic light 6 photos
Photo: Jordan Nelson/Twitter
Tesla Model YTesla Model YTesla Model YTesla Model YTesla Autopilot mistakes Moon for yellow traffic light
Like most other things Tesla, the Autopilot is controversial. Those who advocate its benefits have a long list of working features to back them up, while the detractors pick a fight using everything from the thing’s misleading name, to its past mistakes in correctly assessing a situation.

What we all should understand is that the Autopilot is an inanimate system, one that lacks the capabilities of seeing nuances in the situations it encounters, and at times misjudges things. But hey, that’s why humans are in the car, with their superior brains, to correct these little mishaps. All they have to do is pay attention, not sleeping, eating or being otherwise occupied.

The fellow that made this piece of Autopilot adventure famous was paying attention, and it’s thanks to him that over the weekend we got news of another Autopilot blooper. And it was a celestial one.

As of about a year ago, some Teslas come with traffic light recognition. As advertised, it’s supposed to be able to see and properly interpret all three traffic lights. The system on the car we’re here to talk about went above and beyond the call of duty.

On a road in America somewhere, the car was driving in the early hours of the evening, with a small, dim-yellow Moon hanging overhead. For some reason, Autopilot mistook it for a yellow traffic light, and tried to slow down because of it.

Now, obviously, this is a possible issue, and it will probably have to be addressed by Tesla sometime soon. But until then, like most other Tesla hiccups, this one too can easily go away with a simple cure, which is the driver being always on alert.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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