An adventurous Tesla Model 3 driver found that in the last few updates of Autopilot, the system has become much more aggressive at finding lines that define a road, including dirt roads. In other words, Autopilot is getting better at defining and driving on dirt roads with absolutely no lane lines. That’s bonkers, and encouraging for owners who live in areas with lots of dirt roads, but also in locations with weather that can obscure even the boldest of lane lines.
Appropriately named YouTuber Dirty Tesla shared a few tricks for getting Autopilot to engage on a dirt road. In his area, after a lot of trial and error, he found a few areas on his road where Autopilot thought it could activate and quickly turned it on. He found that once it was on, it would stay on and do its best to navigate the diverse, unmarked terrain. “Most of the time, once I can get it activated on the dirt, it actually does really well,” he said.
The video highlights impressive progress made by Tesla on the neural net that runs the Autopilot solution on roads where lane markings are lacking, or in this case, completely absent. These are very real use cases for self-driving technology and represent situations that must be conquered for the solution to truly master the task.
With all its progress, there were still a few instances in the video above where the car asked him to pay extra attention, and a handful of times where it essentially made the wrong move and almost steered the car off the road or into oncoming traffic.
Progress, it seems, still continues in fits and starts, and it is clear that the solution has not been perfected, yet.