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Tesla Rolls Out 'Major Overhaul' in Software Update

img1851296035 1474662915069 jpg Tesla Autopilot screen | Manufacturer image

CARS.COM — Tesla has begun sending out its updated over-the-air Version 8 software that includes a major revision of its Autopilot system for semi-autonomous driving.

Related: Tesla Updates Autopilot for Safer Operation, More Use of Radar

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced it via Twitter on Sept. 21, saying the software release, termed a “major overhaul,” would be done gradually, not to every car at once. “Release will be gradual to make sure there aren’t small regressions. Many car configs, many environments,” Musk wrote.

The major Autopilot change is a switch to radar as the primary sensor rather than using the camera and image processor as the primary source of data. The revision, which adds no new hardware, also includes firmer warnings to the driver to maintain attention and be ready to take control of the car.

The new software also includes a large number of other refinements, according to Tesla, including improvements to the maps and media player.

But Musk highlighted on Twitter a new function that keeps the cabin temperature under a set limit. “My favorite new feature,” he tweeted, “is the always-on max temp control for keeping kids and pets safe from overheating.” Or, for those of you without either, it could perhaps head off that “needs to cool down” temperature alert on your iPhone or iPad left in the car.

Musk wrote that the cabin always is kept below 105 degrees Fahrenheit with a combination of automatic venting and climate control as needed, not a major lift for the Tesla’s big battery. In fact, Musk said it could keep that going for up to a year. 


Photo of Fred Meier
Former D.C. Bureau Chief Fred Meier, who lives every day with Washington gridlock, has an un-American love of small wagons and hatchbacks. Email Fred Meier

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