Tesla’s Version 8.0 software most advanced to date
Not only has its semi-autonomous Autopilot system benefitted from a three-fold increase in safety tech, software 8.0 brings about a revamped user interface for the Trip Planner, Maps and Media Player too.
Elsewhere, a system known as Cabin Overheat Protection focuses on child and pet safety and is an industry-first. It keeps the car at a safe temperature, even when the car is off. It’s been made possible thanks to Tesla’s powerful battery packs.
Autopilot adds radar
As for Autopilot, the most significant upgrade sees the addition of onboard radar that reads and memorises the road ahead to ensure safety is constantly improved. The radar was initially added to all Tesla vehicles in 2014 but was only meant to be a supplementary sensor to car’s central camera system.
In light of the sad news in May - where the Autopilot system failed to see an obstruction due to reflective paint merging with the bright sky in a fatal accident involving Joshua Brown- Tesla has repurposed the radar to also be used as a primary control sensor.
Tesla stated that the challenge in using radar was avoiding false alarms, e.g. where small objects like cans could be interpreted as a threat. This is why the radar will now be able to learn the road.
Initially, this will involve the vehicle fleet taking no action except to note the position of road signs, bridges and other stationary objects, mapping the entire world according to radar.
It is hoped that the end-goal of this is that the car should almost always hit the brakes correctly, even if a UFO were to land on the freeway in zero visibility conditions!
Other changes to Autopilot include a new warning, whereby if drivers ignore repeated warnings to keep their hands on the wheel they will have to pull over and put the car in park to reengage the auto steering system.
Lane-keeping tech has been improved and sees an improved auto-lane change system too, while voice commands are now easier to initiate thanks to a more intuitive system that requires a single touch to initiate.
Back in August, Tesla’s Autopilot managed to safely get Joshua Neally to hospital after he suffered a potentially fatal embolism.