Leaked videos from members of Tesla’s Early Access Program have provided a glimpse at Autopilot navigating through intersections. The feature, which is expected to roll out following its early access release, will be one of the critical pillars of the Full Self-Driving suite’s inner-city driving capabilities. Based on the leaked videos, it is evident that Tesla is taking its FSD rollout seriously, and it is adopting a very cautious strategy in refining the system.
The leaked early access videos were posted on Twitter by Tesla owner-enthusiast Chris from YouTube’s Dirty Tesla channel. Aggregating videos from other EAP members, the Model 3 owner was able to show how the early access feature reacts to varying situations involving stoplights and stop signs on the road.
During Tesla AI Director Andrej Karpahy’s lecture on Autopilot and Full Self-Driving, he mentioned that a lot of his team’s work has involved training the company’s neural networks to recognize stop signs in inner-city roads. Such a task may be simple for human drivers, but it is actually a pretty complicated process for neural networks. Training neural networks require an immense amount of labeling work, after all, and labeling stop signs is no joke.
Karpathy explained that this is partly due to stop signs not being uniform. Some are partially covered, some are beat up, others are even held by humans, and thus have a passive or active state. All of these variations require a ton of training, and it hints at the immense work that goes behind the scenes in Tesla’s Autopilot team. Yet despite this, the progress achieved by the team goes a long way towards validating Tesla’s vision-based approach to autonomy.
A look at Dirty Tesla’s video shows all these efforts in action. As could be seen in the leaked videos, Tesla’s traffic light and stop sign feature still operates in a very cautious manner. When meeting green lights, for example, Tesla’s Autopilot still requires drivers to confirm if they would like to go forward or not. This is a very cautious approach, and is likely an invaluable tool to capture many edge cases that happen in intersections.
Tesla’s feature-complete Full Self-Driving suite is expected to be rolled out soon, as per estimates from CEO Elon Musk. FSD requires inner-city driving and the capability to recognize stoplights and stop signs. With every improvement to the company’s stop sign and stop light features today, the public release of Tesla’s Full Self-Driving suite gets a little bit closer.
Featured Image Credit: Dirty Tesla/YouTubeFollow @PurplePanda88