You probably don’t know it, but Tesla’s driver-assist feature Autopilot can now detect and stop for pedestrians in crosswalks.
In the 2020.20.13 software update released in June, Canadians received the new Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control (TLSSC) feature. According to the release notes your Tesla could “recognize and respond to traffic lights and stop signs, slowing your car to a stop when using Traffic-Aware Cruise Control or Autosteer.”
The feature has been improved since then, first allowing your car to proceed through green lights when you are following a vehicle through an intersection. Soon to be coming next in the 2020.40 software update is the ability to proceed through green lights when there is no lead vehicle.
Even though it was not in the release notes of any recent software update, your car can now also detect and stop for pedestrians in crosswalks.
In testing this new capability out while on software version 2020.36.11 (FSD and HW3.0), we have been able to get it to detect a crosswalk in two different scenarios.
This first, which was not caught on video, happened when Autopilot was engaged. While approaching a crosswalk with no flashing lights and pedestrians already in the middle of the road, the car detected them (and showed them on the screen) and slowed down before coming to a complete stop. The message “Stopping for crosswalk in 25m” also appeared.
The second time, which was caught on video, occurred again when approaching a crosswalk with Autopilot engaged. This time no one was in the crosswalk, but there were people very close by. The system appears to have recognized them as pedestrians, provided the notification that it was slowing down, before realizing no one was crossing and proceeding through the crosswalk.
It appears as though the system is relying on map-based data to know if a crosswalk is present, but using vision-based data to determine its behaviours. As you can see, there is still no visualization for the crosswalk but it is clearly detecting it as one and reacting appropriately.
There have been some tests performed previously to show the car reacting to crosswalks, like this one by Tesla Life from May 2020. In reviewing the video the system is reacting more to the flashing traffic lights seen at many crosswalks, and not the fact that it is a crosswalk itself. This is further backed up by the message on the screen, which says “Stopping for traffic control”, with no reference to a crosswalk.
Have you seen your car detect and respond to a crosswalk like this? Let us know in the comments below.