Tesla is ‘getting close’ to releasing v8.1 software update: team working seven days a week says Elon Musk [Updated]

Tesla Model S, Zurich, 31 January / 1 February 2013. James Lipman +44 7803 885275

Last month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that the automaker’s anticipated v8.1 software update, which is expected to fix several user interface problems and add Autopilot functionalities, will be ready to be pushed to the fleet within “about three weeks.”

Three weeks have passed, and Musk reassured Tesla owners last night that they are “getting close” and that Tesla’s software team is working seven days a week to get the update out.

As usual, Musk made the comment on Twitter in response to a question from an owner:

v8.1 of the Tesla operating system is expected to include several important updates, including a long-anticipated update to Tesla’s in-car browser – enabled through an upgrade of the core Linux OS to 4.4, which in turn is expected around the same time as v8.1.

More importantly, for owners with the new generation of Autopilot hardware, v8.1 is expected to bring back all the Autopilot functionalities that are available in the first generation of Autopilot, but not yet adapted to the new hardware.

Update: a source familiar with the update is now telling us not to expect that all first generation Autopilot features will come to second generation cars with v8.1, but that they will gradually be released around the same time as the 8.1 update.

Tesla started pushing some of those features pre-v8.1 last week, like auto-dimming headlights and touchscreen, but the features most associated with the Autopilot, like traffic-aware cruise control and Autosteer, have not been released yet.

Here’s the current list of the features available in vehicles with Autopilot 1, but not Autopilot 2. The ones that have already beed pushed to new vehicles are marked by strikethrough:

  • Auto windshield wipers
  • Auto low beam headlights
  • Auto high beam headlights
  • Auto-dimming touchscreen B instrument cluster
  • Parking assist
  • Blind spot detection
  • Forward collision warning
  • Auto emergency braking
  • Side collision warning
  • Side collision avoidance
  • Lane departure warning
  • Speed assist
  • Traffic-aware cruise control
  • Autosteer
  • Auto lane change
  • Autopark
  • Summon

Hopefully the next updates will fix all of these, and vehicles with the new Autopilot can start improving beyond the capacity of the first generation.

v8.1 is not just for owners with Autopilot though. Tesla is also expected to push UI improvements to the media center, which should affect every owner, and a “big” mobile update is expected around the same time as v8.1.

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