As if to simply tease the 99.9% of non-Tesla car owners, Tesla has today released an over-the-air (OTA) update of its in-car software with user interface enhancements and new safety features.

The update rolls out to Model S owners in Australia in the coming weeks as part of a global roll-out which happens when the car is connected to its home WiFi network.


These OTA updates are Tesla’s most obvious middle finger to the entire automotive industry which for the most part simply refuses to provide enhancements to owners via self-installed software updates, instead relying on dealerships to install any updates if and when the owners takes the car to a dealer.

Featured in the update are strong enhancements to Autopilot which uses the radar systems in greater detail to detect surroundings, in an effort to enhance the safety of the Autopilot system.

As part of that update auto-steering is disabled when safety warnings on the dash are ignored – the performance of Autopilot in stop-and-go traffic is enhanced and the visual prompts in the dash have been improved.

Perhaps the most obvious change in 8.0 is the user interface – in particular the mapping.


A new, clearer uncluttered map looks to be moving to the clean look of modern smartphones.


The biggest safety improvement outside of Autopilot is “Cabin Overhead Protection” which will keep the car at a safe temperature for hours even when the car is off – with pets and kids in mind.  Though I’d like to think a parent wouldn’t even consider taking advantage of this one.


Here are the release notes from Tesla:


  1. Touchscreen redesigned around providing a large, uncluttered map
  2. Status bar and app icons will fade when car is driving, reappearing at a tap or when parked

Media Player

  1. Updated “Now Playing” view and controls
  2. Favorites across all media types
  3. Play recent media
  4. Remove media from recent list with press and hold
  5. Improved media search and navigation
  6. Improved TuneIn support and navigation
  7. Updated radio design and navigation

Maps & Navigation

  1. Swipe to navigate to home or office
  2. Controls now hide and show as required
  3. Improved location listing
  4. Map automatic zooming
  5. Option to avoid tolls and ferries
  6. Clearer turn instructions
  7. More visible round trip energy estimate
  8. Choice of time savings before traffic based re-routing

Voice Commands

  1. Voice commands are easier to use
  2. More accurate contact matching
  3. Initiate voice commands with a single press of the steering wheel button
  4. Voice command transcript
  5. Voice command tips
  6. Improved voice command response time
  7. French and German support


  1. Enhanced safety requirement which disables Autosteer during trip when safety warnings are ignored
  2. Redesigned Autopilot indicators
  3. Autopilot has been tuned to be more responsive and smoother in stop-and-go traffic
  4. Vehicles on the instrument panel show direction

Additional Improvements

  1. Consistent airflow from fans throughout the car
  2. Smart climate control based on solar heating and position of the sun
  3. Passenger control of the touchscreen now lasts 30 minutes after the driver has left the car
  4. Intelligent HomeLink notifications
  5. Improved regenerative braking on all-wheel drive cars
  6. Improved Auto Front Door functionality
 (Model X only)
  7. Falcon Wing doors open and close more quickly (Model X only)