The actual moon tricks self-driving Tesla car into slowing down

A Twitter clip shows a self-driving Tesla registering the moon as a yellow light before attempting to slow down. The clip, which has been liked over 12,000 times and retweeted 3,000 times, shows the AI picking the moon up as a yellow light. 

Tesla launched its self-driving car in 2015, but has since launched many updates and added several improvements. The technology still isn’t as competent as a human driver just yet, though, as unusual glitches and accidents have happened occasionally. However, this latest issue just reveals one more kink in the machine.

How Tesla Auto-Pilot works

The autopilot technology interprets lights in real time, scanning for which colour the stop is currently on. In most cases, this system works fine, but there are problems which can cause it to malfunction. 

Tesla has typically been pretty quick to respond to technical issues like this in the past, releasing firmware updates that roll out across new vehicles and retroactively install on active cars. Still, this one is a little more unique than most issues, and could be caused by something fairly unusual.

Why is the moon making Teslas slow down? 

At the time of writing, Tesla self-driving vehicles are having issues differentiating between orange traffic lights and the moon. While hilarious out of context, the true reason behind the self-driving cars' technical difficulties is very interesting indeed. In fact, it's all caused due to a rare yellow moon.

The unusual yellow tint in the moon may well be caused by the numerous wildfires burning across the US. The smoke caused by the fires is rising into the atmosphere. This stops certain lights from travelling into the atmosphere, therefore changing the appearance of the moon. 

As unusual as this phenomenon is, the moon can change color for a number of reasons. It’s likely an issue Tesla will aim to fix pretty quickly. In the past, Tesla’s autopilot feature had issues recognising road lane markings and parked fire trucks. 

AI driving is still a new technology, so it’s understandable that glitches like this will appear from time to time. 

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Subscription model 

Tesla’s moon woes arrive shortly after the manufacturer launched a subscription model for its self-driving feature. All Tesla cars have launched with the feature in recent years, giving customers the option to upgrade should they want to.

Buying the feature outright costs around $10,000. However, for a monthly subscription cost of $199 Tesla customers can stick their feet up and let the card do all of the work. But here's the killer question: is it worth that much if it doesn't work all that well?

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