And it's not because the drivers are craving junk food.
What do greasy Burger King Whoppers and Tesla's traffic sigh recognition systems have in common? They both lull the consumer into a false sense of contentment, and both have become interconnected in a beautiful display of 21st-century absurdness. Burger King has recently latched its name on a malfunction that causes cars such as the Tesla Model 3 and Model S to stop at Burger King signs which they supposedly mistake for stop signs.
This slip-up has quickly become a boon for Burger King executives who are on an endless crusade to stuff as many heart bombs down the gullets of consumers as possible.
The technical slip-up was first noticed by a Tesla Model 3 owner who filmed his car stopping next to a Burger King sign: "So you'll see, just as I come over this hill there's a Burger King sign, and the car is going to try to stop. It thinks a Burger King sign is a stop sign. Over and over again." the driver says. This leaves the occupants in the perfect position to go get some Burger King as if you need a better excuse. Interestingly enough, it looks like the driver has cut the top half of his steering wheel off, and modified his navigation screen. Weird.
Burger King's marketing team quickly picked up on this video and started doing what they do best: advertise junk food to the masses. Burger King used the #autopilotwhopper hashtag to promote its unique special in which customers could qualify for a free whopper if they shared a photo of their smart car outside a BK restaurant with the #autopilotwhopper and #freewhopper hashtag. The special ran until June 23.
Burger King has clearly avoided using the Tesla name, instead referring to 'smart cars' which have at least level 2 of semi-autonomous driving capability and traffic sign recognition. This campaign might seem hilarious to most, but it underlines a glaring gap in autonomous driving tech and shows just how easy it is to fool these systems. This comes right after Tesla announced basic autopilot for only $2000.
With mega-corporations such as Amazon looking to enter the autonomous driving market, this technology is set to improve exponentially, but for now, reality remains stranger than fiction.