Tesla Autopilot Mistakes Red Letters on Flag for Red Traffic Lights

It looks like Tesla's Autopilot still has a long way to go.
Chris Young

Last week, we reported on the rollout of Tesla's Full Self-Driving Beta to a select few Tesla owners.

Though self-driving technology has undeniably come a long way in the last few years, we're never far from a reminder that the technology also still has a long way to go.

A case in point is a Reddit user's recently uploaded video showing a faulty interaction between their Tesla Model 3 and a gas station flag.


Flagging a flag-related error

Redditor cyntrex posted their video to the subreddit r/teslamotors. The video shows the view from the inside of a stationary Model 3. The car's Autopilot system is registering traffic lights changing intermittently from red to yellow, and back to red.

The person recording the video then shifts the camera angle to show us what is outside, just in front of the car. Two vertical flags with the word "coop" written in bold red and orange letters — shown in the image above — seem to be confusing the Tesla Autopilot system.

As the flag waves in the wind, the system changes from red to yellow lights as it reads the different colors on the looped "o's" on the flags. The car clearly thinks the round letters on the flag, belonging to a service station, are red and yellow traffic lights.

Tesla's Autopilot isn't perfect

The thankfully non-dangerous situation in the video serves as an important reminder that Tesla's Autopilot and Full Self-Driving Beta aren't advanced enough to simply allow drivers to step into their cars, key in a destination, and then let the vehicle do the rest.

Though Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently stated that the company's new Full Self-Driving Beta update would be a "quantum leap" in comparison with its previous iteration, the release notes for the update did emphasize that the system "may do the wrong thing at the worst time, so [drivers] must always keep [their] hands on the wheel."

You can view the video from the original Reddit post here.

message circleSHOW COMMENT (1)chevron