Over the weekend, Elon Musk alluded to impending software updates that would make Teslas even safer than they already are. In response to a story about a DUI where a Tesla autopilot may have been involved, Musk said Autopilot may soon be able to recognize emergency response vehicles and react accordingly. Inverse reports: “Default Autopilot behavior, if there’s no driver input, is to slow gradually to a stop & turn on hazard lights,” Musk explained in the replies. “Tesla service then contacts the owner.” That naturally got people wondering whether or not Tesla’s autopilot was capable of differentiating between emergency response vehicles and everyone else. Presumably, someday soon autonomous vehicles are going to be able to recognize sirens (or their futuristic software equivalent.) If an ambulance pulls up behind an autonomous car on a single-lane road, it will need some mechanism to know it’s supposed to get out of the way. In the meanwhile, Musk said that Tesla is already working on the first half of that problem, by teaching neural net to be able to recognize police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks. On Twitter, he said that this capability would be added to the neural net “in the coming months.”
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