Tesla’s latest software update (2020.40.3) now reads speed signs. A/B tested in Australia

Tesla is rolling out the latest over-the-air update, version 2020.40.3 and in this release there’s a substantial change to how the car works. Before now, Tesla had used a...

Tesla is rolling out the latest over-the-air update, version 2020.40.3 and in this release there’s a substantial change to how the car works.

Before now, Tesla had used a dataset that allowed their cars to adjust its speed automatically when using Autopilot. When you enable cruise control, it would also jump to the current speed zone. For the most part, this dataset was fairly accurate, however many Tesla owners (myself included) found edge cases where speed zones weren’t accurate, which resulted in the car slowing down or speeding up, to an incorrect number.

This was obviously a problem that needed solving, but if you’re using the best dataset available from local councils, governments etc, what could you do to improve the situation?

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In the 2020.40.3 Tesla are now leveraging AI, specifically computer vision to identify the speed signs on the side of the road to determine what the current speed zone is.

I had experienced this exact issue on a street in Wodonga and it served as a great A/B test to see if the new update resoled the issue where a 60km/hr speed zone incorrectly reduced my speed to 50km/hr.

Check out my hands-on video with the new 2020.40.3 software running in my 2019 Tesla Model 3 to see how it went.

Armed with this technology, this should mean that getting a speeding ticket, is a thing of the past (unless you have a heavy right foot).

Adding to the traffic light and stop sign detection added earlier this year, Tesla’s are advancing rapidly in their ability to see the world as humans do and respond accordingly.

While there’s still a decent to-do-list before autonomous driving is a reality, it’s steps like this one, that is necessary to achieve that dream.

This speed sign recognition is currently not being used on freeways, just city streets, but that seems just a matter of time before the technology is capable of responding to overhead, speed zones, particularly in metro areas that are digital displays that change based on the time of day or traffic congestion and accidents.

For our international readers, this feature is only available in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Below is the official text from the release notes for update 2020.40.3.

‘Speed Assist now leverages your car’s cameras to detect speed limit signs to improve the accuracy of speed limit data on local roads. Detected speed limit signs will be displayed in the driving visualization and used to set the associated Speed Limit Warning. As usual, to adjust Speed Assist settings, tap Controls > Autopilot > Speed Limit.’

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Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis.
One Comment

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  • Brian
    13 October 2020 at 10:14 pm

    this is a great addition that really enhances the car. AS you said those funny edge cars are now gone as the car correctly reads speed signs even in roadworks zones

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