Hopefully the updates to Autopilot will save some lives as well.
Starting today and for the next few weeks, Tesla owners will wake up to the newest version of the Automaker’s software, which will carry an array of new features aimed at keeping the Model S and Model X fresh and competitive. The first things owners will notice is the change in the way the center touchscreen looks. Tesla’s navigation menu now has the option to place the map on the entire touchscreen instead of covering just half of it. An improvement in voice commands should help users avoid resorting to Siri when frustration sets in.
The media center makes searching for songs easier, which is a good thing now that drivers will have a harder time letting Autopilot do all of the driving work. It’s not that Autopilot has gotten worse, on the contrary in fact. It’s just that the system now punishes drivers who ignore warnings to place their hands back on the wheel by disabling Autosteer until the car is stopped and placed in park. The improvements made to Autopilot are some of the most comprehensive yet, allowing Teslas everywhere to rely more on their radar sensors and tone down some of the noise from the camera. Autopilot-enabled Teslas will now begin uploading safe spaces that the radar detector may otherwise think are dangers in the road to a database.
This should help create a sort of collective intelligence that should help make partial autonomy a safer experience. New to the Model S and Model X, and, as Tesla puts it, to the industry, is a cabin overheat protection system. Cars that have a large interior real estate dedicated to glass like the Tesla and its glass roof are prone to becoming greenhouse ovens in the heat. This puts unattended pets and children in danger of heatstroke in hotter months when they are left in a car. To remedy this, Tesla’s new update uses the climate control system to keep the interior cabin under a certain temperature, even if the car is turned off. While this feature may seem insignificant, as anyone who’s lived in hot climates knows, it can save both human and pet lives.