Earlier this week Tesla snuck in a new feature in the 2021.24.12 software update. The Model 3 and Model Y can now slow down when emergency vehicles and their flashing lights are detected when Autopilot is engaged.
The feature wasn’t included in the release notes, but it was instead discovered by a Twitter using reviewing any changes in the updated owner’s manual.
Thanks to a Reddit user, we now have our first look at the feature in action. In a video shared by u/pengellyb, his Model Y can be seen slowing down from 56mph (90km/h) to 46mph (74km/h) as he approaches a police car on the side of the highway with its lights activated.
It is difficult to tell from the video but based on the on-screen warning the police car was detected from a fair distance away. The car is travelling at between 56mph and 45mph for about 8 seconds before being side-by-side with the police car.
Using a conservative average of 45mph the police was detected from a distance of more than 500ft away. This could have potentially been even longer since the video begins with the message already on the screen.
The arrival of this new feature comes at the same time Tesla is facing an investigation over alleged Autopilot crashes with parked emergency vehicles. If it performs as well as it does in this video, then a lot of the potential problems identified in the investigation will no longer apply.
You can watch the full video below. As a reminder, please do not use your mobile device to capture video while driving, even if Autopilot is engaged.