Tesla’s new offering may bring cars to a controversial ‘rolling stop’

Rolling stop in which car doesn't fully halt at a stop sign is often illegal

Picture source: AP

Tesla has seemingly left it up to the driver’s discretion whether they wish to fully halt the car at stop signs or roll through, as per its self-driving software options that were revealed in October last year.

According to The Verge, Tesla’s ‘Full Self Driving’ software suite allows for drivers to pick between ‘Chill’, ‘Average’ or ‘Assertive’ modes. The Average and Assertive modes could both lead the car to perform a rolling stop instead of a complete halt, which is often illegal. Some places like the province of Ontario Canada, also count a rolling stop as grounds for failure during a driving test that would determine a person getting their license.

The optional modes were rolled out by Tesla in October last year as part of its beta testing plan in which consumers would respond over possible efficacy or lack thereof in the vehicle’s features.

The Verge however explicitly pointed out that it wasn’t certain whether Tesla cars were trained to not brake completely at stop signs. The publication added that in some cases where a car is required to observe a yield sign, a rolling stop could be justified.

Another feature of the Assertive mode reportedly includes the ability to shorten following distances and quick lane changes, which would be something looked down upon by careful drivers.

This isn’t the first time Tesla is shrouded in controversy over its tech features. Reuters reported in December last year that the company was under investigation by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for the safety features of its vehicles. At least 580,000 Tesla vehicles sold since 2017 came under probe after it emerged that a feature allowed drivers to play video games on the centre display. The NHTSA had contended that the feature could contribute to dangerous, distracted driving.

The NHTSA also looked into the company’s auto-pilot offering after Tesla vehicles smashed into stationary emergency vehicles in several instances.

Notably, Tesla Founder Elon Musk also conceded that the FSD function that was out for testing, in his opinion, was not perfect yet. In August last year, he said that his team was working effortlessly to better the cars’ self-driving offering.