Last week, the driver of a Tesla car ran into a rather curious problem while driving. The Autopilot system of electric car maker confused the full moon with an endless string of yellow traffic lights. The fault was recorded on video and shared on the Twitter, the driver laughed a lot at the situation and faced the error lightly.

In the video, the driver shows the assisted driving technology from Tesla, the Autopilot, interpreting the full moon as consecutive yellow traffic lights. However, the path taken was an entirely empty highway, which did not even have traffic lights. Despite the curiousity of this particular error, it demonstrates how difficult it can be to develop autonomous driving systems.

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One of the main difficulties in the development of this type of technology is precisely the obstacles found in the streets, such as artificial lights and, it seems, even the moonlight. The difficulty of overcoming these obstacles, which seem smaller than they really are, is what surprised Elon Musk, who said autonomous driving was harder than he expected.

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Fortunately, the flaw that caused the Autopilot to confuse the Moon with traffic lights did not put the driver, pedestrians or other cars at risk. Because it was a mess with yellow rather than red lights, the car didn't stop, but kept at a constant speed of about 100 km/h, which could mean that the car didn't “forget” that it was on a highway.

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Within autonomous driving, this type of failure is known as an “extreme event” and as it has been given a name, we can understand that it is not unprecedented. In April of this year, another Tesla car confused a stop sign printed on a billboard with an actual license plate, in June another car confused a truck carrying traffic lights with installed traffic lights.

With information Futurism

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