Ranging from $99 to $199 per month, Tesla’s autonomous driving subscription was launched in mid-July and the first U.S. customers now have access to it. A much larger number of customers are using the system than in previous months, when the automaker’s test phase limited the number of guinea pigs. With more users comes a wider range of situations encountered on the road.
Jordan Nelson is one of the new Tesla owners to have subscribed to the autonomous driving mode. On July 23, he shared an unusual experience on Twitter. While driving a Model 3 at dusk, he was facing the moon, which was particularly bright that evening. At 64 mph (100 km/h) on the highway, the automatic system had no problem until it started to detect a series of orange lights.
Hey @elonmusk you might want to have your team look into the moon tricking the autopilot system. The car thinks the moon is a yellow traffic light and wanted to keep slowing down. 🤦 @Teslarati @teslaownersSV @TeslaJoy pic.twitter.com/6iPEsLAudD
– Jordan Nelson (@JordanTeslaTech) July 23, 2021
Facing the vehicle’s cameras, the moon had turned into a traffic light turning orange. In the video, the detection is visible via the radar reconstruction of the car’s sensors. A series of orange lights can be seen. Fortunately, it did not occur to the system to stop the car, certainly for a reason of distance with the luminous point emitted by the Moon, which never approached.
The video shows that the Moon was particularly yellow, bright and at a good angle that night. Distinguishing a traffic light from this bright spot is quite logical and it will be up to Tesla to find a solution to deal with this exceptional case. It will not be the only one. The Californian carmaker has well understood that it will still have to deal with exceptional situations. In April, another Tesla braked suddenly when approaching a stop sign printed on a billboard.