Tesla Pushing Out Autopilot Enhancements

Posted by at 10:52 am on September 22, 2016


Tesla is now rolling out software update 8.0, which brings with it promised updates to the company’s troubled Autopilot feature. It also includes a significant overhaul of the vehicle’s touch screen, as well as the biggest UI revamp since the Model S launch.

“Customers who purchased their car in 2012 will receive the same value of functionality and improvement as customers who purchased vehicles last month,” the company said in an announcement.

Earlier this month, CEO Elon Musk outlined a radar-based upgrade for his company’s EVs, which will provide a “dramatic improvement in the safety” of Tesla’s Model S and X electric vehicles in Autopilot mode.

Radar was added to all Tesla vehicles in October 2014; Autopilot technology was introduced at the same time but not activated for another year. At the time, radar “was only meant to be a supplementary sensor to the primary camera and image processing system,” but it has since improved enough that Tesla can use it “as a primary control sensor without requiring the camera to confirm visual image recognition.”

It will also require drivers to be more attentive and prevent them from completely ignoring the road.

The Autopilot enhancements arrive after the death of Joshua Brown, a Florida man who crashed his Tesla, operating in Autopilot mode, into a truck.

According to Tesla, 8.0’s 200 improvements include better responsiveness in stop-and-go traffic, enhanced safety requirements, redesigned indicators, and improved reaction time. Tesla also teased updates to Navigation with Trip Planner, Maps, and the Media Player, as well as a new Cabin Overheat Protection function, which keeps the car at a safe temperature, even when turned off.

Tesla’s new Model S P100D, meanwhile, now has the longest range of any electric vehicle available, based on the latest Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel economy ratings. As reported by Electrek, the EPA gave its official rating of 315 miles—just enough for the luxury automaker to leapfrog the Toyota Mirai’s 312-mile range. The EPA also confirmed the Model S P100D’s energy consumption as 90 MPGe (mile per gallon gasoline equivalent) in the city, and 105 MPGe highway driving. The previous P90D was rated at 95 MPGe.

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