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Tesla software update rolls out

Steering committee: Tesla’s software update includes an update to the Autosteer function as part of the Autopilot system.

Pet and child protection part of Tesla’s latest software update

Tesla logo23 Sep 2016

By TIM NICHOLSON

TESLA has announced another software update for its Model S and Model X electric cars, claiming that it is the “biggest UI (user interface) revamp since Model S landed in Australia”.

The tech start-up says the software update 8.0, which was announced earlier this month, will help to make the massive touchscreen more useable and easier to navigate, while the Autopilot semi-autonomous driving system has also been improved.

A global rollout of the update has kicked off and the company’s Australian arm said it would hit local Teslas in a few weeks time.

In what Tesla calls an industry first, the update brings a new Cabin Overheat Protection function that maintains a safe temperature for several hours even after the car is off, to ensure the safety of children and pets.

Tesla says this could have only been made possible by an EV-maker because of its “uniquely large battery packs”.

As part of the update, Tesla says it has redesigned the media player and brought the user’s favourite content “front and centre”, while it has also enhanced the search function.

Voice controls have improved and according to Tesla are easier to use, with a single-tap start for voice commands, while visual feedback that appears as a transcript on the instrument panel helps drivers focus on the road.

Maps now span the entire touchscreen and display the key details of a particular trip. Users can navigate to home or work with a single swipe, search for destinations with voice controls or a single touch and the zoom function now adjusts to show what you need to see the most, based on your location.

A Trip Planner gives users an overview of their journey before they leave. Once the car is put into Drive mode, the navigation automatically fires up and will navigate to the first waypoint.

As previously reported, Tesla has also significantly updated its Autopilot system and says there are about 200 improvements to the controversial system.

Radars are now used more than before, and they constantly capture snapshots of surroundings that then create 3D images.

Autopilot is now more responsive in stop-start traffic, while the Autosteer function can now navigate highway interchanges but will also disable when safety warnings are ignored. It is now more obvious when Autosteer has been engaged.

A Tesla Model S was involved in a fatal car crash in the United States in June this year, when Autopilot was engaged, with the camera-based system unable to differentiate a white truck trailer from the bright sky.

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