The Tesla Autopilot is now able to apprehend, understand and visualize traffic lights. The same applies to stop signs. A technological leap forward that goes so far as to make Volkswagen’s boss admit the advance of Elon Musk’s firm.

Recognizing and Responding to Traffic Lights: Tesla’s Move


Autopilot now has the ability to react to the display of a stop sign or traffic light by slowing down and then bringing the vehicle to a stop. “Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control” is a coup de force that brings Tesla models closer to the true autonomous cars that Elon Musk dreams of.

The CEO of Volkswagen, Hubert Diess, is himself forced to admit that the American giant is ahead of all car manufacturers around the world.

This is already a beta feature. It is possible to configure it in the “Automatic Control” tab when ordering your Tesla. Initially, the North American market will be able to test it in real conditions.

Any limits to this technological innovation?

Specifically, it should be mentioned that Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control already has its limits. The technology will slow down vehicles in the vicinity of any detected traffic light. And this, regardless of its colour or state (flashing or off). The only way for the driver to restart will be to manually confirm and then press the accelerator pedal.

So the technology behaves in a way that Tesla describes as “conservative,” meaning that it will cause the vehicle to slow down a lot. There are also other limitations: green lights must be approved by the driver for the car to continue its course, which can lead to very dangerous situations in the event of irresponsible driving.

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Temporary signals, railway crossings, studded crossings and toll stations are all situations where this control does not work. It will therefore take some time before Tesla’s accumulation of data really allows reliable and permanent use.

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