Tesla Model 3 and Model Y will now detect and slow down for emergency vehicles

A Tesla Model 3 driving at night. (Photo: Andres GE)

Tesla’s software update 2021.24.12 seems to include something noteworthy for the Model 3 and Model Y. While the software update’s Release Notes were identical to previous updates in the way that they highlight features like Disney+ streaming and Car Wash Mode, 2021.24.12 also included something that would likely make the Model 3 and Model Y even safer on the road. 

As per observations of Tesla owner @Analytic_ETH, who was able to view the 2021.24.12 Owners Manual for the Model 3 and Model Y, a particularly interesting section on how Autosteer responds to emergency vehicles has been added by the company. Unlike its previous iterations, the 2021.24.12 Owner’s Manual for the Model 3 and Model Y now states that Autosteer would automatically reduce a vehicle’s sped when an emergency vehicle is detected. 

“If Model3/ModelY detects lights from an emergency vehicle when using Autosteer at night on a high speed road, the driving speed is automatically reduced and the touchscreen displays a message informing you of the slowdown. You will also hear a chime and see a reminder to keep your hands on the steering wheel. When the light detections pass by or cease to appear, Autopilot resumes your cruising speed. Alternatively, you may tap the accelerator to resume your cruising speed,” Tesla noted. 

A look at the updated Owner’s Manual shows that the company is still emphasizing that drivers must be fully aware and vigilant when operating features like Autosteer and Autopilot. While the Model 3 and Model Y are now capable of slowing down for emergency vehicles, drivers must still be ready to take over if needed. Tesla was also careful to highlight that the feature would likely not be perfect, and thus, it must be used cautiously. 

“Never depend on Autopilot features to determine the presence of emergency vehicles. Model3/ModelY may not detect lights from emergency vehicles in all situations. Keep your eyes on your driving path and always be prepared to take immediate action,” Tesla wrote. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched an investigation on driver-assist systems like Tesla’s Autopilot system. More recently, the NHTSA expanded its investigation by requesting information from twelve other manufacturers that employ driver-assist systems on their vehicles. Automakers included in the NHTSA’s expanded list include BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Toyota, Ford, Nissan, Setllantis, Kia, Volkswagen, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, and Subaru.

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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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