The much awaited and highly anticipated Tesla 8.0 software update which includes major Autopilot improvements will be going live for Model S and Model X owners today. Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk made an announcement to that effect, using his favorite social networking medium, Twitter. The update is pretty significant because in addition to the updated Autopilot feature, the new firmware is also bringing many other features to the table.

Musk tweeted today:

V8.0 starts downloading tonight. Release will be gradual to make sure there aren’t small regressions. Many car configs, many environments.

Let’s start with the biggest improvement of V8 over V7– the upgraded Autopilot service. Unlike its previous approach, Tesla’s Autopilot will now use radar to help detect things that might not get picked up by the camera vision sensors on the vehicle. This means that the probability of picking up substantial masses in the periphery of your Tesla is going to be drastically increased.

Essentially, this new upgrade is all about safety. According to Musk, the new changes might have prevented the fatal May 7 accident that resulted in the death of Model S owner Josh Brown, and although it unfortunately comes too late for him, Tesla hopes to minimize future mishaps.

This functionality will work with any Tesla vehicle made in 2014 and later, as only they have all the necessary components on-board to enable the new detection features.

Moving on to the next important update, your Tesla will now support an always-on max temperature setting that will prevent overheating. This feature is important since it will ensure the safety of children and pets left in the car. This feature works on its own by venting the cabin and turning on the AC whenever it detects temperature exceeds beyond 40C. Apparently, this is Musk’s “favorite” new feature.

Along with this, there are other significant changes to the Tesla software including upgrades in the user interface. A later update, scheduled a few weeks from now, promises some more interesting new features. The update number 8.1 will allow users to set their own min and max temperatures to engage the automatic temperature control. We’ll also get better and improved media controls on the Tesla cars.

Meanwhile, the new update has already started rolling out over-the-air.


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