Tesla is at the forefront of commercial electric cars for the masses, and their efforts to improve continue -- even though there are blips along the way such as the autopilot allegedly causing a Tesla Model X to bump into a police motorcycle recently. The latest Tesla software update 8.1 brings with it some pretty interesting features that would make you fall in love with your Tesla even more -- including a beta feature that makes your Tesla smart enough to park itself, without requiring you to be seated inside. How about that for novelty?
With Tesla’s software update 8.1, it will allow owners of the Tesla electric cars to engage automatic steering at up to 80mph, in addition to other improvements, of course. This latest update will see Tesla take a look at the rear view mirror by introducing features that were once there, but subsequently removed, from the existing Autopilot. According to Electrik, Tesla’s rollout of the new Autopilot in January saw it require a new hardware and software platform, and this did not support majority of the automation features to which owners were already used to.
Apart from seeing an increase of the automatic steering speed limit to 80mph, the software update 8.1 will also bring with it a beta feature that allows owners to have their rides enter and get out of parking spaces, all without requiring the driver to be inside. This particular parking feature was also made available in the first-generation Autopilot software, but back then, it was a whole lot more cumbersome to use since that required a fair number of days of calibration, and not only that, to drive at highway speeds before it is considered prime and ready to see action.
One particular first generation Autopilot feature that makes a long awaited return would be automatic lane changes. When Autosteer kicks in, drivers are then allowed to move into an adjacent lane through a simple action -- by activating the turn signal. According to Tesla's Vice President of Autopilot Software, Chris Lattner, software update 8.1 happens to be the "biggest update yet" when it comes to their rides that are equipped with second-generation Autopilot hardware.
This might seem rather unnerving for some, since it would mean handing over more and more control to software and hardware which you would expect to run at optimal levels all the time. What happens when it makes a mistake, or does not have space in its algorithm to compensate for the lack of data required to manage a situation on a highway at such speeds when you decide to change lanes? Surely much more work needs to be done before humanity’s faith in automatic lane changing reaches acceptable levels.
If you just downloaded V8.1, tap the the T on center screen three times
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 29, 2017
As for Easter eggs, software update 8.1 will be no different. Owners will be able to "tap the the T on center screen three times," and upon doing so, this will launch a sketch pad on the car's center display that provides you with a free reign of things to kill time with -- perhaps when you are stuck in a nasty traffic crawl.