Tesla launches “most substantial update yet” for Model S, X and 3

by Lawrence Allan, Autocar Uk 09 Oct 2018

Tesla Model X and its door opening mechanism

Tesla has released a new over-the-air software update for the Model S, X and 3, said to be the most substantial the brand has ever released.

The new ‘Version 9.0’ software upgrade brings a raft of new features, including new hardware functions, simplified menus and additional 'Easter eggs'. Alongside this, a new mobile app update function allows owners to initiate a software update remotely without being in the car.

Most notably, a new Dash Cam function has been added to Model S, X and 3 vehicles built from August 2017, allowing owners to use the forward-facing camera to record and store captured video. Tapping the new dash cam icon allows a clip of up to 10 minutes to be stored, or recording to be paused. 

Additionally, all eight external cameras from Tesla’s full self-driving system have been activated, enabling what it calls “better situational awareness on the road with a 360-degree visualisation of surrounding vehicles”. 

Tesla Model S

Blind spot monitoring now relies on the side and rear facing cameras, alongside the previously used ultrasonic sensors, to detect vehicles and display them on the car’s screen. If there is a vehicle in the car’s blind spot when the driver indicates, it shows the lane as red on the digital display. New types of vehicles, including bicycles and large trucks, are also displayed to aid safety. 

A new application launcher simplifies the applications on offer by bringing them altogether in one place, and allowing quick access to the last-used app. Owners can also access the controls for cold weather features, such as rear seat heaters and the steering wheel heater, all in one place.

Alongside the more practical software updates, Tesla has added in some new ‘Easter eggs’, or hidden features, to its models’ large central display screen. Classic arcade games from Atari are now discoverable when the car is in Park. Finding them changes the controls on the steering wheel and touchscreen to that of a games console. 

Tesla Model 3 is safest car ever tested by NHTSA

The Tesla Model 3 follows on from the Model S and Model X by achieving the lowest probability of injury of any vehicle ever tested by the USA's safety body, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Previously, the S and X were given the lowest and second lowest probability of injury by the NHTSA, but now the Model 3 has beaten both of those models with a perfect five-star rating in every category. 

Tesla Model 3

The results come from the NHTSA’s New Car Assessment Programme, which used a Long Range Rear-Wheel Drive model in a series of crash tests, including front, side and rollover crashes. The probability of injury is less than 6 percent, a figure around 2 percent better than the Model X. 

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