December 24, 2019

Now that Tesla started pushing its holiday update to the fleet, we get our first look at what Elon Musk called Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving Sneak Preview.”

Last week, the CEO announced that Tesla is working on a “holiday update” that would include a “Full Self-Driving sneak preview,” new video games, and “a few more things.”

Yesterday, we reported on Tesla starting to push this update, and it turns out the “Full Self-Driving sneak preview” is actually a set of new “Driving Visualization Improvements”:

The driving visualization can now display additional objects that include stoplights, stop signs, and select road markings. The stop signs and stoplight visualizations are not a substitute for an attentive driver and will not stop the car. To see those additional objects in your driving visualization, tap Controls > Autopilot > Full Self Driving Visualization Preview.

Tesla YouTuber Raj got the software update and posted a first look at the new Tesla driving visualizations and the other new features:

While it may not be clear at first how this is a “Full Self-Driving sneak preview,” it has to do with Musk’s “feature complete” concept.

In order for Tesla to have all the pieces in place for self-driving, Tesla has to add city driving to Autopilot, which is currently meant for highway driving, and the new Smart Summon, which handles low-speed driving in parking.

Therefore, city driving is the missing piece, and in order to achieve it, Tesla needs to navigate intersections.

The new driving visualizations showing that Autopilot can see stoplights and traffic lights is an important step toward that goal — hence the “sneak preview.”

Raj’s first look shows that Tesla represents the signalization at the intersections fairly well.

Here’s a look at what Tesla renders at an intersection with a stop sign:

Here’s a look at what Tesla renders at an intersection with traffic lights:

The render of the lights also change colors with the actual traffic lights.

However, this is just a visualization, and Autopilot doesn’t act on those intersections just yet. Once it does, Tesla will likely still recommend that drivers stay attentive and be ready to take control at all time, like it does under the current version of Autopilot for highways.

Tesla is starting the wider rollout of the new software update, but the new driving visualization is only working on vehicles with the latest HW3 FSD computer.

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