While you slept, the Teslas grew smarter

Tesla released a full suite of software updates overnight — a new user interface, redesigned media player and a revamped Autopilot.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk called the 8.0 version a significant overhaul to make vehicles safer and more responsive to drivers. Early reviews agree the upgrade is significant, with clearer controls and design. It’s the latest in a series of over-the-air updates Tesla has made since 2012.

The changes include a new-look media player with simpler controls, a quicker and clearer interface for voice commands, and map, navigation and trip planning updates.

The company has also brought automatic air conditioning to its electric vehicles. The cabin overheat protection switches on the A/C when the cabin reaches 105 degrees. It’s designed to keep pets and children safe even when the vehicle is parked.

Roger Pressman, a Florida businessman and owner of a Model S and Model X, said the software was due for a new look. “It was, I think, ready for a refresh,” said Pressman, a Tesla owner since 2012.

Pressman is CEO of EVannex, an after-market parts and accessories business that caters to Tesla owners. He appreciates the regular updates since he received his Model S. “Your car just gets better,” he said.

Pressman thinks the biggest benefit for the average driver will be the new interface, although the Autopilot upgrade is important for vehicle safety.

Autopilot will rely more on front radar to spot road conditions and highway risks. The system has been under scrutiny for its possible role in the deaths of drives in Florida and China this year.

The company said Thursday the driver-assist has been tuned to drive more smoothly in stop-and-go traffic. It can automatically navigate highway interchanges. With radar, it should also be able to spot hazards two cars ahead of the vehicle and prepare better for heavy braking.

Photo: The back of a Tesla Model S. (Bay Area News Group)


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  • g13man

    i do not want to be radar-ed . time to get a space blanket [mylar ] for my back, side and front .
    does that still work ?

    • Stephen Pace

      Tesla vehicles have had a radar since Oct 2014 and other vehicles do as well. And there will only be more moving forward.

  • Yeah! Can’t wait to get my update!

  • I hope that autopilot will be on every market . Somehow i can’t see that yet.