Tesla Autopilot starts giving right of way lane changes (video)

(Credit: privaterbok/Reddit)

The Tesla community recently welcomed yet another upgrade to its Autopilot driver-assist system, with vehicles now being able to warn drivers if they are about to run a red light. Tesla owners have also noticed that Autopilot appears to be learning how to give right of way to other vehicles that are changing lanes on the highway.

Observations from the community and a video shared by Model 3 owner u/privaterbok of the r/TeslaMotors subreddit depict the electric sedan’s Autopilot system slowing the vehicle down even before the other car merged into the Tesla’s lane. Curiously, the merging vehicle was tagged with a darker shade of gray in the Model 3’s center display, suggesting that Autopilot was specifically reacting to the car.

It should be noted that the vehicle in the video is not even equipped with Tesla’s latest software. The Model 3 owner noted that the vehicle was equipped with 2019.5.15, a version of Tesla’s software that was rolled out roughly two weeks ago. Tesla just released 2019.8.3 to some members of its fleet more recently, and the update included a few new tricks of its own. Nevertheless, the observations of the Model 3 owner do give the impression that Tesla is actively improving its Autopilot capabilities.

Among the tricks included in the recent 2019.8.3 update is dubbed as “Autosteer Stop Light Warning,” which is designed to help drivers determine if they are about to run a red light. Tesla’s release notes for the feature are as follows: “Your car may warn you in some cases if it detects that you are about to run a red light while Autosteer is in use. This is not a substitute for an attentive driver and will not stop the car.” If Elon Musk’s tweet last December is any indication, Autopilot’s ability to detect stop signs and roundabouts might follow soon.

This improvement will likely be useful for numerous Tesla owners, particularly as the company has listed Stop Light Warning under Autosteer’s features. Autosteer, which used to be part of Enhanced Autopilot, is now being sold by Tesla as part of basic Autopilot, which the company sells for $3,000 ($4,000 after delivery). With Stop Light Warnings being included in basic Autopilot, Tesla is all but ensuring that most of its customers will be able to take advantage of the safety feature in the future.

Tesla definitely appears determined to ramp its efforts in developing its Full Self-Driving suite and improving its Autopilot driver-assist system this year. Just recently, Elon Musk announced that no-confirmation Navigate on Autopilot and Enhanced Summon have begun rolling out to the first batch of electric car owners. Inventory codes also indicate that Tesla seems to be shipping some of its vehicles with Hardware 3, a custom-built solution developed by Tesla that is specifically designed to usher in Full Self-Driving capabilities.

Watch Autopilot give right of way to a vehicle that is changing lanes in the video below.

Simon Alvarez: Simon is a reporter with a passion for electric cars and clean energy. Fascinated by the world envisioned by Elon Musk, he hopes to make it to Mars (at least as a tourist) someday.
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