Interestingly, it seems a new Tesla over-the-air (OTA) software update may be the solution for issues surrounding some Tesla vehicles failing to "see" and respond to stopped emergency vehicles, especially at night.
The specifics surrounding update 2021.24.12 were shared on Twitter by Analytic.eth @Analytic_ETH. Reportedly, the new OTA software update for the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y will automatically slow the car down if it detects an emergency vehicle. More specifically, if the cars detect emergency lights while Autosteer is engaged at night, the cars will slow down and display a message on the large touch screen.
The information apparently came directly from the Model 3 and Y Owner's Manual, which Analytic.eth was able to access. While the update itself didn't include specific notes related to the added feature, the owner's manual has been updated with the following text:
“If Model3/ModelY detects lights from an emergency vehicle when using Autosteer at night on a high speed road, the driving speed is automatically reduced and the touchscreen displays a message informing you of the slowdown. You will also hear a chime and see a reminder to keep your hands on the steering wheel. When the light detections pass by or cease to appear, Autopilot resumes your cruising speed. Alternatively, you may tap the accelerator to resume your cruising speed."
As you can see, Tesla is still making it very clear that drivers need to be aware and in control at all times. However, if all of this is true, it seems the electric automaker is working to fix the problem that NHTSA is investigating ahead of any further problems.
We've seen this before. Regulatory agencies have asked Tesla about driver monitoring and noted that its cars don't have it, though Tesla has already added that feature as well, also via an over-the-air software update.
Arguably the best part about Tesla's OTA updates is not only that it can instantly add features like this to its entire global fleet, but also that it can tweak and improve the features with subsequent updates. Several of the issues pointed out over the past months have already been addressed via software updates, and Tesla can continue to address any issues as they come to light.
Check out the older video below for some insight as to why Tesla Autopilot may have been failing to "see" and respond to stopped emergency vehicles. Then, start a conversation about this topic in our comment section below.