Safety and navigation systems upgraded via latest over-the-air update

Details about the Tesla software version 9.0 have been announced ahead of its release Down Under “in a couple of weeks”.

On the safety front, every Model S, X and 3 equipped with “full self-driving hardware” now utilises all eight external cameras, giving Tesla’s cars “better situational awareness”.

Bikes/motorcycles, light-duty trucks, and heavy-duty trucks are now distinctly displayed via Tesla’s 360-degree visualisation system.

The driver assistance system can now optionally limit acceleration when driving at low speeds if it detects an obstacle in the car’s path.

Code for the Navigate on Autopilot feature has been included with the latest software upgrade, but will only be running in a background “shadow mode”, which collects data and is designed to help verify if the system is working as intended.

Once this process is complete, the system will be enabled in the US a beta feature. Navigate on Autopilot has yet to be confirmed for markets outside the US.

When enabled the system can, in normal circumstances and with some driver input, steer, brake and accelerate a car from highway on-ramp to off-ramp through lane changes, exits and merges. The driver still needs to confirm lane changes via a tap on the indicator or cruise control wand.

Above: A still from Tesla’s dashcam footage.

An upgrade to the navigation software on the Model S and Model X now means next turn information is always shown on the touchscreen display. The system also shows more details about upcoming turns, including highway exit information.

The touchscreen interface has been refined with improved climate controls, and a new app launcher, which brings together the calendar, energy monitor, reversing camera, phone and charging functions. As before the web browser app is not available in Australian market vehicles.

Vehicles equipped with “Hardware 2.5”, introduced from August 2017, have access to a new Dash Cam function, which can record 10 minute videos using the forward-facing camera. A USB stick with at least 1.8GB of free space is required.

The Tesla mobile app also gains extra functionality with the latest firmware upgrade, with owners now able to apply software updates remotely, and send navigation destinations directly from their favourite smartphone map app to their car. Passengers can also control the audio system via the app.

This, of course, wouldn’t be a Tesla software update without hidden easter eggs. Only available when the car is in park, version 9.0 includes a variety of classic Atari games, which are controlled via the touchscreen and steering wheel.

Australia

The latest software upgrade is a free over-the-air download, and is currently available for Tesla cars in North America.

According to Tesla’s local representatives, the software will begin rolling out in Australia and New Zealand “in a couple of weeks”.