Tesla company headed by Elon Musk is a stable generator of news for its customers. Thus, since 2013, they keep implementing new features that adjust the driving experience:
• ground clearance of car may be changed by one tap of a finger on the screen (November 2013),
• cruise control that takes the road traffic into account (January 2015),
• self-steering and changing lanes (October 2015),
• calling a car to you from its parking lot and auto parking (January 2016).
These updates were major versions of its software, unlike the new, 8.0, which does not have any single big update. Instead, it includes hundreds of small ones that make the driving experience more seamless. Altogether, they make the biggest update of autopilot software by Tesla ever. Let’s consider them below.
1. The new graphical user interface.
After the 8.0 update rolled on, many users noticed the new variant of their interface literally in all options – new menu icons, adjusted maps, better layout, and improved functionality of its multimedia center. Now, the latter incorporates all the user’s favorites from all sources on the Internet, from its podcasts, social networks, and so on, to be united under one umbrella of a Tesla car’s computer. In addition to the possibility to listen to offline and online radio, this is very useful option, as one simple-interfaced player in your vehicle collects all your preferences from everywhere in one place fast and easy, which is a very thoughtful thing made by Mr. Musk’s corporation. It is a big thing as you don’t have to surf for long hours through installed apps in your car to gather all your previous digital experience, you only make several clicks and spend less before everything is setup for a comfortable drive.
2. Improvement of Autopilot’s functionality.
As for Autopilot function, it must be said that Tesla positions its cars with 8.0 and newer versions of installed software as not self-driving cars but those that have the enhanced functionality of assisting driver on the road. This is very important from the legal point of view as Tesla already had multiple issues connected to its autopilot functionality that led to road accidents and the subsequent law sues. So now, they made several things better:
• more comprehensive indication that autopilot function is on or off to make it absolutely clear to a driver,
• make its behavior more humane – now it does not stick to the center of the lane as it was before and is capable of steering around the cars and other participants of traffic movement that share your lane – it selects the best option of being in the lane to avoid collision and to have the distance between rear, front, and side cars and other objects.
3. Radar in Autopilot.
Radar’s use is a distinctive feature of Tesla’s cars – all other car manufacturers use LIDARs for that but not Tesla. They consider radar the better option as it:
• can see through the rain, snow, and fog much better than LIDAR; enhancing its functionality even further, it will be becoming even more precise, which now is the only LIDAR’s advantage at the moment,
• it scans through the front and rear cars on the distance that is unavailable to the man driver currently – through the first or even second car in front and on the back from you. It is necessary to avoid collisions on high speeds – let’s imagine you are driving in the dense fog and a car in front of you hits the obstacle, whatever it is. You won’t be damaged as you will avoid collision – your car will brake even before the car in front of you makes a hit or will select the safe route to bypass this road situation.
• radar’s usage seems more secure than LIDAR, especially when the latter cannot properly see through the precipitations and developers are still working on the improvement of its software.
Despite the novelties, users say that the map is not perfect yet as it drives you on the shortest route in mileage, while Google’s maps drive you through the several other routes that may be considered optimal with hard traffic jams on the roads, in time, not in the route’s mileage. Still, the time to get from A to B is a more important factor.
A driver must still pay attention to a road and system will prompt a man to put hands on the steering wheel time from time or it will disengage.