Software Update Adds Traffic Light Countdown and Trip Progress Bar in China

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla has added a trip progress bar and traffic light countdown in China
Tesla has added a trip progress bar and traffic light countdown in China
Not a Tesla App

Tesla's latest software update, version 2023.44.100, has brought an innovative feature to its vehicles in China - a countdown for traffic lights. The update displays the traffic light status and the remaining seconds for the next intersection in navigation mode. The feature requires Tesla's premium connectivity.

The concept isn't entirely new; Audi introduced a similar technology years ago using vehicle-to-infrastructure technologies. Audi's Traffic Light Information system, part of Audi Connect PRIME, also offers a countdown for traffic lights and other benefits like recommended driving speeds for fuel conservation.

How Does It Work?

The functionality of Tesla's new feature is likely to be based on principles similar to Audi's TLI. It's speculated that Tesla might be using signals from traffic lights or government data accessed via the internet in China. This method would align with Audi's approach, where data on traffic light patterns is collected and analyzed to provide real-time updates to drivers.

The traffic light countdown is more than a convenience feature. It can improve traffic flow and reduce fuel consumption by advising drivers on optimal speeds and reducing unnecessary idling at traffic lights. Cities can use the aggregated data to optimize signal timing, further enhancing traffic management.

Trip Progress Bar

At the bottom of the photo, we can also see that Tesla has added a “progress bar” in the bottom navigation module that typically displays additional nav options and your estimated arrival time, distance to travel, and more. The progress is displayed with a red triangle marking the vehicle’s trip progress along the gray and blue line.

It seems that Tesla could add this feature to any additional regions in the future, as it doesn’t depend on any additional data, unlike the traffic light countdown.

The Future of Connected Driving

The adoption of 5G-powered cellular vehicle-to-everything technologies will enhance these systems. Such advancements could allow for near-instantaneous communication between vehicles and infrastructure, increasing driver safety and efficiency. There has been speculation of this before from Tesla when talk of the HELP system surfaced. Not only would it change the hazard light features, but if a Tesla encountered a hazard, it would alert other vehicles approaching the area of the danger.

Audi's journey in traffic management technology dates back to the mid-2000s with their Travolution project in Ingolstadt, Germany. This project involved direct wireless communication with traffic signals to relay information, significantly reducing time spent at traffic lights and decreasing fuel consumption. The expansion of Travolution to other cities and the evolution into TLI marked Audi's commitment to innovative traffic management solutions.

Introducing this technology will allow municipalities to improve traffic flow and pedestrian-friendly intersections. The continuous data exchange helps optimize traffic signal timings and reshape road layouts based on traffic patterns. For drivers, this translates to a smoother driving experience with fewer stops and starts, ultimately leading to more efficient and less stressful journeys.

Tesla Vehicles Spotted With LiDAR: What Do They Use It For?

By Karan Singh
Not a Tesla App

Tesla recently hit the news for purchasing approximately $2M in LiDAR sensors from Luminar, one of Tesla’s long-term suppliers. You’ve probably seen photos of Tesla’s Semi and various Tesla models, including the Model 3 and Model Y sporting LIDAR equipment on the roof. These cars drive around with manufacturer plates scanning streets and highways.

However, many people confuse Tesla’s purpose in purchasing LiDAR equipment with using it for FSD versus testing. So, let’s look at what LiDAR is, and why Tesla uses it on its Fleet Validation Vehicles.

What is LiDAR?

LiDAR stands for Light Detecting and Ranging – essentially using lasers to measure distances. A laser pulse is sent out, and the time it takes to return is measured – providing extremely accurate distance measurements.

Some companies working on self-driving vehicles, including Waymo and BYD, use LiDAR as part of their self-driving suites, but Tesla is one of the few stand-outs that does not. Even Rimac’s “Verne” Robotaxi – which uses self-driving technology from Mobileye, also uses LiDAR.

While LiDAR can produce extremely accurate and high-quality 3D environments, it comes with its downsides as well. Not only is LiDAR costly and requires large gear strapped to a vehicle, but it also can not be used in bad weather and can have interference issues if there are other strong light sources present.

Why Does Tesla Use LiDAR?

A LiDAR rig mounted on a Tesla Semi for testing FSD.
A LiDAR rig mounted on a Tesla Semi for testing FSD.
Not a Tesla App

At Autonomy Day in 2019, Elon Musk mentioned that LiDAR isn’t the solution for self-driving cars – it's just a crutch. Thus, Tesla hasn’t used LiDAR for any production self-driving software.

Instead, Tesla uses it exactly how it's described – they use it to gather ground-truth data. This data is then used to feed Tesla’s Full Self Driving system – which helps validate its vision-only system's accuracy. LiDAR provides very accurate measurements to help ensure that FSD’s perception of space is accurate – and is only used by Tesla to ensure that its AI technology which is the brains of FSD is capable of accurately interpreting depth from just visual data.

Tesla’s vision-only system has been seen to be extremely accurate, with Vision-only Autopark being able to park in even narrower and tighter spaces faster than the previous version that relied on ultrasonic sensors.

We’ll likely continue to see Tesla purchase LiDAR systems, as well as use them for validation well into the future.

Tesla's Upcoming Robotaxi Event in August Delayed, According to Bloomberg

By Karan Singh
Sugar Design

In a report from Bloomberg, it is claimed that Tesla will be delaying its much-anticipated 8/8 Robotaxi event by two months to October 2024.

While sources other than Bloomberg haven't confirmed this report, Bloomberg has a positive track record of reporting on financial decisions. We’ll be sure to update the article if there is confirmation on X from Elon Musk or another Tesla senior official.

Tesla’s stock has dropped nearly 8.5% over the day, ending back-to-back gains over the last two weeks. It closed yesterday at $ 241 after hitting a peak of $270 earlier in the day before the news broke.

Why the Delay?

The delay – of approximately two months – has been communicated internally, but not publicly announced just yet. Bloomberg goes on to mention that the design team was told to rework certain elements of the Cybercab, necessitating the delay.

If Bloomberg’s report is correct, it sounds like Tesla’s unveil event will be largely focused on showing off the vehicle, instead of demoing how it will work. Of course, it could still be both, but given past events, Tesla has always shown off the vehicle years before it hits production.

Rimac recently showed off their version of robotaxi vehicle named Verne, and surprisingly, it could almost pass for Tesla’s own robotaxi. A lot of design cues in Rimac’s version are elements we have already seen or expect to see in Tesla’s autonomous taxi.

A recent Tesla patent revealed that Tesla is incorporating a sanitation system into their robotaxi that will be responsible for analyzing and cleaning the vehicle’s interior, although the delay itself is likely tied more to a physical feature rather than software.

Another element we know almost nothing about is how Tesla plans to charge these robotic taxis. Will they rely on the existing charge port and adapt a solution like the robotic charging arm (video below) we saw almost eight years ago, or will wireless charging or a dock finally become realized?

While the delay for Tesla’s event appears to be related to the vehicle’s design itself and not further development of FSD, Tesla is wasting no time in getting FSD working for the upcoming vehicle. Model 3 vehicles have already been spotted with camera locations that resemble a robotaxi.

Is the Delay Accurate?

We expect that this delay might actually be true – Elon Musk usually takes to X within hours of such news breaking if it's false to refute it and hasn’t done so yet.

Tesla has delayed several of their events in the past, and a delay of a couple of months seems plausible. We should hear from Musk himself soon on whether this report is accurate.

Latest Tesla Update

Confirmed by Elon

Take a look at features that Elon Musk has said will be coming soon.

More Tesla News


Subscribe to our weekly newsletter.


Find out how to become a sponsor and have your site listed here.

Although we share official Tesla release notes, we are not affiliated with Tesla Motors. We are Tesla fans and supporters.

Tesla Videos

Latest Tesla Update

Confirmed by Elon

Take a look at features that Elon Musk has said will be coming soon.


Subscribe to our weekly newsletter.