Tesla Autopilot Confuses Oil Stain for Lane Separator

The system seems unable to recognize oil stains in sunlight.
Loukia Papadopoulos

Tesla's autopilot feature has had its fair share of scandals in its day from being sued for accidents to being accused of hitting a parked police car. However, in all fairness, it has also been responsible for saving drivers as well.


Oil stains in sunlight

Now, a new video posted on the Tesla community on Reddit is making the rounds showing another not exactly pleasant side of the feature. It seems that autopilot can't distinguish oil stains in sunlight and lane markings.

Autopilot gets confused by oil stain and sunlight from r/teslamotors

"Autopilot thought this was a lane separator, but it was just a black oil stain on the road, on sunlight. So, the car moved by itself to the speed lane... and I had to take over. Luckily there was no other car on that lane," wrote u/andupotorac on his video.

Looking at the video, one can see how the feature would be confused. The oil stains are shaped like a double lane separator.

Still, the driver's safety was jeopardized when the car changed lanes, and it seems that this driver is not the only one to have sunlight-related issues with his Tesla autopilot. It is certainly a bug in the system that has to be taken care of as soon as possible.

More sunlight problems

Another Redditor wrote in the comments section that his autopilot would simply not function during sunlight. "Sunlight is definitely a big issue, which I often wonder how they will tackle. I drive from Dallas to Houston in the AM once a month, and the sun comes up directly in front of my line of sight. Autopilot always goes nuts (with a reduced front camera visibility warning), wanting me to take over about a minute into turning it on," wrote the Redditor.

However, the fact that the car refuses to turn on the autopilot feature when visibility is compromised means that the system doesn't feel secure enough to rely on the feature. This actually minimizes the risk of car accidents, and as far as safety is concerned, it is totally justified.

Tesla's autopilot does seem to have a few flaws, but as a relatively new system, we should give it time to adapt.

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