Tesla Autopilot now recognizes traffic cones

Jon Fingas
Associate Editor
Standing dongyun / EyeEm via Getty Images

Tesla's Autopilot has been adept at recognizing other cars on the road, but those aren't the only things you have to worry about on the road -- what about the traffic cones that wall you off from roadwork? You can relax after today... well, for the most part. Tesla is quietly rolling out an Autopilot update that lets its electric cars detect and display pylons on the road. If you're using Navigate on Autopilot, your EV will even plan lane changes to avoid cones so that you don't have to take control around construction work.

You may not want to put all your trust in the feature just yet. Some early users have warned that Autopilot doesn't always recognize the cones, potentially leading to dangerous lane changes -- say, steering you into oncoming traffic or construction. Tesla did remind drivers that they're "required to pay attention at all times," though, so it knows this isn't a substitute for keeping your eyes open.

This is still an important step for Tesla. It still intends to enable full self-driving in the future, and that will require cars that can recognize and deal with virtually any road object. A seemingly small update like this could go a long way toward true hands-free driving.