Posted on September 23, 2016 by Matt Pressman
We've been anxiously awaiting software update 8.0 from Tesla Motors [NASDAQ: TSLA] and it's arrived. Although mobile phone users may be accustomed to regular software updates, Wired* reports that: "The auto industry is slowly moving toward the same model, with Tesla leading the pack. Because Elon Musk’s Model S sedan and Model X SUV are always connected, they can actually get better with age... One push of a button and their [Tesla] car gets a new user interface, improved Autopilot, and some clever new abilities."
So what can Tesla owners expect from 8.0? "The first thing owners will notice is that the touchscreen looks flatter (a trend we’ve been seeing across all UIs). The row of icons across the top, to select between music, maps, or the web browser, is cleaner and more modern... The biggest functional updates concern the media player and the maps. A universal search feature has replaced sprawling menu trees for finding songs, stations, or podcasts. Presets, whether they’re playlists or podcasts, get big, bright on-screen buttons, usually featuring album or radio station art, which are easy to hit when driving."
We reviewed the technical aspects of changes related to Autopilot, but from a UI perspective, "Maps now get the best real estate—the top half of the touchscreen, in the driver’s line of vision—by default. Responses to pinching and scrolling are fairly speedy, and the icons at the top of the screen (energy use, phone, web browser, etc) auto-hide if you don’t touch them for a while. That means more space for the map."
What are some other highlights of the update? Below you can get a peek at the new instrumentation behind the steering wheels, maps, and media player redesign. In addition, v8.0 also includes improved voice commands functionality along with a fantastic new feature — Cabin Overheat Protection which keeps the car at a safe temperature (even when the car is off) to protect pets and children for hours. Check out the gallery below for a snapshot of what to expect with software update version 8.0.
After getting an initial look at the update, it's clear — the user interface and autopilot functionality was definitely ready for this refresh. And to see software update version 8.0 being tested, in action, and put to good use, check out this last video which provides some helpful info related to its functions and features...
Source: Black Tesla
As noted in Teslarati, "By bouncing radar signals beneath and around a car, hardware-equipped Model S and Model X are able to see two cars ahead, thereby improving the vehicle’s reaction time to heavy braking events... At one point during the video (2:54), we can see Autopilot tracking a vehicle in the far left lane that turns into the center lane where the Model S is traveling on – at that point the Model S is able to see a remarkable three cars ahead – before finally cutting over to the far right lane. All the while, Autopilot was able to marry the combined imagery from the radar with the front-facing camera to form a smooth picture of the world as it sees it." Kudos to the team at Tesla for implementing such impressive improvements.