After a few months of hype, version 9.0 of the software that runs on Teslas is rolling out starting today.
There’s a bit of a catch, though: one of the bigger expected features — one that would let Tesla’s autopilot handle passing cars and automatically make highway interchanges — is being delayed for now.
So what’s new?
- Newer Teslas (those built after August 2017) can now use the built-in forward-facing cameras as a Dash cam. If you need to save some footage of what’s going on in front of your car, a new dash cam icon will save the last 10 minutes of footage.
- There’s a new UI on the center display across all of the vehicles, cleaning things up while making the user experience a good bit more consistent between the Model S/X and the 3.
- The Model 3’s center display is getting a web browser (something the Model S and X have had for a while, but the 3 has been missing), along with a calendar and real-time energy-monitoring tool.
- Turn-by-turn now shows more information (particularly about your next steps), and you can tell the car whether or not you’re currently allowed to use the carpool lane and it’ll factor that into its routing.
- Autopilot will now disable full-speed acceleration when you’re at low speeds when there’s something in front of the car. If you’re parking in a parking garage, for example, Autopilot will try to stop you from rocketing into the wall if you mix up the accelerator/brake or mistakenly think you’re in reverse.
- You can now push a navigation destination to the car via the Tesla mobile app, saving you the effort of punching it in once you’re in the driver’s seat.
- Those Atari games Elon Musk said they’d sneak in as Easter eggs? They’re apparently in there now — “if you can find them.”
- A new 360º visualization, built by tapping all eight external cameras into one big-meshed image, shows a bird’s-eye view of your car and vehicles around you.
Musk had previously said to expect Navigate on Autopilot to go live in this build, greatly improving Autopilot’s abilities on freeways. You’ll still have to keep your hands on the wheel, but it’ll suggest lane changes, handle freeway interchanges and take freeway exits for you.
So why the delay? It’s not quite ready yet, says Musk:
With today’s rollout, Navigate on Autopilot will be running in “Shadow Mode.” In other words, all of the new logic and calculations will be running silently in the background, but Autopilot won’t actually be utilizing it — it’s just crunching the numbers and double checking that everything Navigate on Autopilot would do is safe.
Given that just means it’ll (hopefully) be that much safer when it does go live, I’m all for it. When we’re talking about a 5,000+ pound metal box cruising itself around at 70+ MPH, shipping early and crossing your fingers isn’t an option.