Tesla Motors have just officially announced their latest software update for the Tesla Model S and Model X. Software update 7.1 contains serious improvements over update 7.0, the latter which was unfolded in fall last year and became famous because of the Autopilot feature.
The beta version of the 7.1 update has been available since a few days, so several Tesla owners have had the opportunity to test it out. The highlights of this software update include important improvements for Tesla Autopilot and the ability for Tesla owners to ‘call’ and park their car using the key only. Being the absolute highlight of this software update, we attached a video in which the new feature is demonstrated.
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk acknowledged in a November 2015 press conference that improving the safety of Autopilot tops the to-do list. This was said in the light of the many Youtube videos that took over the web showing people using Autopilot and afterwards taking place in the backseat of the Model S. Tesla have taken a first step into putting additional constraints to people doing dangerous things while using Autopilot by releasing update 7.1.
These safety measures translate into Tesla Autopilot being now restricted on residential roads and roads without a centre divider. Further improvements include better lane keeping features where road markings are partly vanished and when passing highway exits.
Another important improvement includes the Tesla automatically following a road’s speed limit when Autopilot is engaged. As far as we know this only goes for the ‘restricted’ roads we mentioned earlier, with a safety margin of 5 mph maximum. This means that on certain roads drivers don’t need to reset the cruise control before switching on Autopilot. This is also a next step to the Tesla being able to comprehend traffic signs and act actively on speed limits in Autopilot.
The visualization of Autopilot has also been improved. Now it’s able to detect and show multiple vehicles in different lanes on the highway, instead of just the one in front of you. This goes hand-in-hand with the updated traffic awareness features on the adaptive cruise control. The Tesla will now automatically slow down when approaching your highway exit, while it’s also easier to set the speed limit requiring less actions from the driver.
Tesla’s Autopark has been enhanced big time, now giving Tesla owners the ability to park their car without being inside it. It’s not something we haven’t seen before – think 2016 BMW 7 Series – but Tesla have managed to integrate it all into the most complete autonomous driving package that currently exists.
As shown in the video, it just takes your keys and phone to have your car pull out of your garage or parking spot. The same goes for parking. The official name for this specific function is ‘Summon’, and it is currently just the beta version that has been rolled out by Tesla Motors. Naturally Tesla encourages customers to experiment with it on private property only, and require customers to stay in range of the car at all times.
Using the centre screen, customers can set the maximum distance they want the car to be parked from a wall or obstacle. When the Homelink function is configured, there is also no need to control the garage doors. The car will do that all by itself combining both Homelink and Summon features. It’s Tesla’s vision that eventually customers will be able to summon their car anywhere at anytime and that the car will be synched to the customer’s calendar, knowing when it needs to arrive.
A last added function to Autopark is the perpendicular parking function. Tesla vehicles can now park itself into parking spaces that are perpendicular to the curb. For it to work, the driver needs to slowly drive by the parking spot until a P shows up on the screen. All that remains is a simple push on the start Autopark button and done!