Tesla has taken some steps forward in its effort to attain full self-driving for its vehicles. In the company’s recently released Q2 Update Letter, Tesla stated that it is making headway towards stopping at stop signs and traffic lights, and that the feature is currently operating in “Shadow Mode.”
“We are making progress towards stopping at stop signs and traffic lights. This feature is currently operating in “shadow mode” in the fleet, which compares our software algorithm to real-world driver behavior across tens of millions of instances around the world,” Tesla wrote.
Traffic light and stop sign recognition is a critical component of Tesla’s Full Self-Driving suite, considering that the vehicles will be operating autonomously inside cities. Together with general automatic driving in city streets, Tesla currently lists stop sign and traffic light recognition and response as features that are set to be released later this year.
Considering that traffic light and stop sign recognition and response is already operating in Shadow Mode, it will likely only be a matter of time before the features will start getting rolled out to members of the company’s early access program. Once these capabilities are refined, the electric car maker could take a definitive step towards attaining full self-driving, and in extension, launching the Tesla Network’s Robotaxi service.
Tesla’s second-quarter Update Letter also mentioned developments in other aspects of its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving initiative. For one, Tesla noted that it is making significant progress on Enhanced Summon, which is already being tested among early access program members. The company also mentioned that its Hardware 3 computer is now in full production.
“As safety has always been a priority for us, Model 3 received the highest ever ratings in the Safety Assist category of Euro NCAP’s new and more stringent testing protocols. New active safety features built on our Autopilot and Full Self-Driving (FSD) hardware and software suite contributed to this achievement. Development of new features continued in Q2 as we launched Navigate on Autopilot in new regions including Europe and China. We are making progress on our next major update: Enhanced Summon, which is currently in our early access program. Our new FSD computer, which is ~21x faster than our previous HW2.5 computer, has been in production since Q2,” Tesla wrote.
Tesla is yet to introduce the full capabilities of its FSD suite to its fleet, though Musk has stated that he expects the system to be “feature complete” by the end of 2019. During the Q2 earnings call, Musk added that he expects Full Self-Driving to be offered to the international markets such as China as well, though Europe might be an exception due to specific regulations in the region.