Tesla Motors sent out an email yesterday on its 8.0 software update with Autopilot enhancements, and an emphasis on the software being safer and more intuitive.
The long-awaited 8.0 software update was released earlier this month with a detailed technical description of how radar will be used to avoid crashes. This promotional email focused more on improvements to the touch screen interface and a more intuitive Media Player. Safety was a recurring theme, including a new feature for child and pet safety.
The Software 8.0 website page displays two hands firmly on the steering wheel (see image above). This may have been in response to the two fatalities under investigation involving the Autopilot semi-autonomous system.
For Autopilot enhancements, Tesla reiterated improvement in the onboard radar. Advancements have been made to persistently capture screenshots and create a 3D picture of the world right around the electric car.
One of the enhanced safety features disable Autosteer if safety warning are ignored. Another improvement has been making the systems more responsive in stop-and-go traffic with redesigned indicators.
Media Player has been redesigned on its large dashboard display to place “your favorite content front and center.” The search function has been simplified for accessing streaming radio, live stations, and podcasts, Tesla said.
Voice controls are considered important for avoiding driver distraction, and Tesla says its voice commands are now clearer and easier to use, without “compromising convenience or control.”
For child and pet safety, Tesla has introduced what it calls an industry-first safety measure, Cabin Overheat Protection. The new feature keeps the car at safe temperature for hours, even when the electric motor is turned off. Tesla says this extra energy feature is made possible by “our uniquely large battery packs.”
On the mapping and navigation screen, users can see a wider view with the system spanning the entire touchscreen. Details of the trip can be seen more easily and the control car fades out for a more “uncluttered navigation experience.” The user can zoom in on the location display to focus in on what’s needed to be seen with more depth.