The owner of a Tesla Model S released footage of his electric sedan seamlessly navigating on Autopilot through the sharp and narrow twists and turns of a construction zone.
Model S owner Fred Hassen was traveling on South Las Vegas Boulevard in the “Sin City” while using the vehicle’s Navigate on Autopilot feature as part of the Full-Self Driving suite. The Model S car managed to recognize the confusing lane shifts and road changes and navigate through the cones and safety barrels that were set up by local construction crews. Hassen seemed pleased by his car’s flawless navigation through the make-shift lanes, as can be heard in his video.
The appearance of traffic cones and traffic light indicators on the Model S’ instrument cluster suggests that the vehicle is equipped with Tesla’s latest Hardware 3 and capable of responding to red traffic lights and stop signs, including automatically stopping.
Autopilot progress in clearly marked construction zones is mighty impressive https://t.co/tb1tsuRQaD
— Tesla Owners Online (@Model3Owners) April 23, 2020
Navigate on Autopilot is one of the most sophisticated driver-assistance features in the automotive industry today. The suite is capable of performing lane changes, navigating through on and off-ramps, and helping drivers make their way through confusing construction zones. The development of Tesla’s software for its self-driving features helps the company work toward a “feature complete” Full Self-Driving suite, which aims to revolutionize the act of driving for every owner in the world.
Tesla’s Artificial Intelligence and Autopilot systems were broken down by Andrej Karpathy, Director of the company’s AI team. Karpathy explained that Tesla’s use of vehicle cameras and artificial intelligence trains its neural network to help cars respond to road conditions safely and accurately. Tesla’s fleet of 1,000,000 vehicles uses “raw images to perform semantic segmentation, object detection, and monocular depth estimation,” according to its website. These images are then used as data to improve the safety of Autopilot.
The data compiled by the fleet of Tesla vehicles is critical to Tesla’s teams who determine improvements that need to be made within the company’s self-driving software. Tesla vehicles likely travel through construction zones every day, but the performance of the cars continues to improve through its continuously-learning Neural Network.
In the past, a Tesla hacker known as “green” has showed Tesla Autopilot’s thought process when navigating through construction zones.
and finally a bit of construction zone (this is the only one of the set where AP is actually on), nothing groundbreaking since it was widely reported already long ago, but still interesting to see it "from the inside": pic.twitter.com/TmGkqhGPQz
— green (@greentheonly) November 7, 2019
The technology seems to recognize cones as the guidance point for the lane, forgetting about painted “on-road” lines when construction zones are concerned. The car understands that the standard path of travel is obsolete because of construction. Autopilot instead uses the cones lined up on both sides of the lane as the new guidance markers for travel. This video is from a previous version of firmware, so the program has improved since then as more data has entered the Neural Network.
Tesla initial plans were to release the “feature complete” FSD suite by the end of 2019, but the program was not ready for a full release. After the company release Stop Sign and Traffic Light recognition in mid-April, all that is left for Tesla to unveil is city driving. As the cars seem to be navigating through tricky construction zones with relative ease, city street driving could roll out soon.