Tesla Autopilot Thinks Reddish Circles on a Flag Are Traffic Lights

Autopilot blooper 1 photo
Photo: Reddit video screenshots
Tesla announced it began rolling out the Full Self-Driving beta service to selected customers yesterday, and the improvements over the version every Tesla owner has access to are supposedly massive.
It is undoubtedly a very important moment for the company since Autopilot has been one of Tesla's most important selling points alongside its Supercharger network and the range and performance of its vehicles.

It's no wonder then that, among the multitude of videos showing how the EVs can now navigate a roundabout or make a right turn, we get to see people posting clips that put the Autopilot in a less flattering light. Some will call them TSLA shorts, some will call them trolls, and others will call them heroes - you just can't please anyone.

This little clip we came across on Reddit, however, must be both the most amusing and the scariest we've seen in a while. It's just a reminder for all those who take the FSD name literally - which, in their defense, doesn't seem like the wrong thing to do. After all, why name it that if it isn't true? - that while progress is made, the work is far from complete.

The clip shows a Tesla Model 3 driver who is stopped at a Coop gas station. Whether he wanted a pack of gum or he came in by mistake because old habits die hard is completely irrelevant. What matters is that the car's cameras and AI interpreted the vertical flags with the gas station's logo (which features the coop name written in different tones of orange) as being traffic lights.

Spare a moment to think about that driver. Those flags are never turning green so, as you can imagine, as far as the car is concerned, they are stuck there forever. Well, not forever, but at least until night falls and the flags aren't visible anymore. That because no matter how much computing power you have, a computer doesn't think and can't take the initiative.

By the looks of it, we're not dealing with the FSD Beta version here, but the plain old Autopilot. Not that it matters, though. Even if the new software would have ignored the flags in this situation, you can bet your last cent it's not completely fail-proof. Not by a long shot. So, keep your eyes peeled when out on the road, whether you're driving a Tesla or just driving past one.

Interesting Stoplights from r/teslamotors
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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