Tesla Autopilot Confuses Red Text on a Flag for Stop Light

The waving “Coop” text was just a little too round and red for this car’s Autopilot system.

byStef Schrader| UPDATED Oct 24, 2020 10:14 AM
Tesla Autopilot Confuses Red Text on a Flag for Stop Light

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems have come a long way, but they still get tripped up every now and then. Case in point: This bizarre interaction between a Tesla Model 3 and a gas station flag. 

Redditor cyntrex posted video of the flub to r/teslamotors, which we can't embed, but you can watch here. In front of the car are two vertical flags with "coop" in bold. As you can see on cyntrex's screen, the car clearly thinks the rounded red and orange letters of the Coop service station's flags are red lights. 

The "lights" detected by the car's Autopilot system flicker red and yellow depending on how the wind blows the flags. When the flags are more readable in the video, the stop lights on the Model 3's dashboard light up with red or yellow lights. 

So, here's your daily reminder that you still need to pay attention to what your car is doing despite names for driver assistance systems like "Autopilot," or even "Full Self-Driving." Your car can't completely drive itself—it still misses a few things that are obvious to human eyes, and this flag mishap is the perfect example. This driver clearly just needs to press the accelerator pedal on their own. 

Tesla rolled out its Full Self-Driving beta to select users this week. While it's supposed to be a big upgrade over the standard Autopilot system seen in this video, Tesla also warned beta testers that the system could "do the wrong thing at the wrong time." 

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