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Tesla’s holiday software update includes voice-to-text, Camp Mode, and a song making kit

Tesla’s holiday software update includes voice-to-text, Camp Mode, and a song making kit


Make some music while stuck in traffic

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Illustration by Alex Castro / Th

Tesla has started rolling out a massive holiday update that was previously teased by CEO Elon Musk last week, including a “Full Self-Driving sneak preview.” It also includes long-awaited features like reading text messages aloud, a “camping mode,” and more.

The “full self-driving” sneak preview is mainly an improvement on the driving visualizations that appear in-car. The new visualization can now “display additional objects that include stoplights, stop signs, and select road markings.” The update notes, however, that stop signs and stoplight visualizations “are not a substitute for an attentive driver and will not stop the car.” Here’s the visualization in action:

One of the biggest feature updates allows driver to listen to and send messages via Tesla’s built-in voice commands. What seems like a basic ability for any modern car was previously unavailable. Tesla doesn’t use other third-party services like Apple Carplay or Android Auto, according to Tesla news site Electrek, but customers have requested the feature for years.

Tesla’s update notes specify customers can “now read and respond to text messages using your right scroll wheel button.” When drivers receive a new text message, all they have to do is “press the right scroll wheel button to have your text message read out loud and press again to respond by speaking out loud.” Customers will also be able to view messages via the “Cards” section on the touchscreen. The feature won’t work with group texts, and notifications on phones must be enabled.

Another long requested feature, going back to the Model S launch in 2012, is the release of Camp Mode. The update will allow customers who want to use their vehicles for camping situations to “maintain airflow, temperature, interior lighting, as well as play music, and power devices when Camp Mode is enabled.” Although Tesla issued a software update in 2017 that allowed for climate control features to run for an extended length of time, this new update marks the first official Camp Mode. Its arrival comes just one month after Musk revealed Tesla’s new vehicle, the Cybertruck. A camper configuration will be available to purchase, making the mode somewhat essential.

Of course, a Tesla update wouldn’t be complete without a few fun additions. There are a couple of new games available to play on the center console, but the more exciting addition is TRAX. TRAX is a digital audio workstation, similar to Apple’s Garage Band that’s available on MacBook and Mac devices. Once in park, customers have the ability to mess around and make their own songs on the fly. Here’s YouTuber Oliver “Ov” Ryan playing the theme song to Nickelodeon’s Rugrats:

Further details on the holiday update can be read in-depth over on ElecTrek.