Tesla has released its “most substantial update yet” to the onboard software in its Model S, Model X and Model 3 vehicles, simplifying its user interface, adding new features and improving its smartphone app. Owners will find their vehicles update to Version 9.0 automatically when connected to WiFi, but only models built from August 2017 will enjoy every new feature.
This includes a dashcam function, that allows owners to save a 10 minute video clip from the forward-facing camera when the car is being driven by tapping an icon on the screen. Owners will first need to place a flash drive (with a minimum of 1.8 GB of free space) in a front USB port where the footage can be stored. It will also be possible to press and hold the dashcam icon to pause recording. Every Model S, Model X and Model 3 will also get a new application launcher, with Calendar, Energy, Web Bowser, Rear View Camera, Phone and Charging apps grouped together. Swiping upwards on the screen will display the last-used app, while a downward swipe will dismiss it. Cold weather features in the climate control are also grouped together to make them easier to access.
All eight cameras on cars equipped with Full Self-Driving hardware are now active, providing a 360-degree visualisation of nearby traffic, showing new graphics for bicycles, motorcycles and small and large trucks to create a more precise view of the surroundings, while road users in the car’s blind spot turn red to alert drivers to the hazard.
Tesla Mobile App updates enable remote updates of the car’s software without having to be sat in it, and destinations can be sent to its navigation system remotely using the ‘share’ button in map apps, ready for the next journey. Passengers will also be able to use their mobile devices to control the media system on the move. In keeping with Tesla tradition, there are a few ‘easter eggs’ too, thanks to Tesla hiding classic Atari arcade games in the operating system. These can be accessed when the car is parked and the steering wheel or touchscreen becomes the controller.