Tesla has updated its Autopilot software, bringing more advanced semi-autonomous driving capabilities to Tesla vehicles built since October 2016. That’s when Tesla began including a more advanced sensor-suite in its Model S and Model X vehicles. Though while the hardware is more advanced, it’s taken Tesla’s engineers a few months to slowly roll out the capabilities of the companion software.
The end result was that buyers of new Tesla cars had vehicles with fewer features than older ones. But, with the release of Tesla Software 8.1 rolling out today, cars with the HW2 suite are gaining several new or updated features:
- Lane Departure Warning. A steering wheel vibration alerts the driver when the car leaves its marked lane without a turn signal active.
- High Speed Autosteer (80 mph / 130 kph). It maintains the vehicle’s position within a lane and allows the driver to briefly remove their hands from the wheel in some situations; it’s now restricted to 80 mph and below on HW2, up from 45 mph. Tesla notes that Autosteer requires that the driver keep their hands on the wheel and be prepared to take over at any time.
- Auto Lane Change. An Autosteer feature where the car can change lanes on its own when the driver activates the turn signal on a multi-lane road.
- Summon. The car can pull in and out of parking spaces, without a driver in the car, when a button is held on the key or the Tesla mobile app.
Notably still missing from HW2 vehicles is automatic emergency braking, as well as automatic windshield wipers and high beam headlights.
There are a handful of other new features in Version 8.1, including the ability to reduce the default opening height of the falcon-wing doors in the Model X, an added ability to adjust the front-seat headrests, and the addition of user ratings and hours of operation to businesses in the navigation system. The new features are rolling out now to Tesla vehicles via an over-the-air software update.