It was long-promised and some were skeptical when CEO Elon Musk said it was coming “very soon” last week, but Tesla finally delivered what we called ‘its most requested feature’‘; automatic sensing windshield wipers.
But the feature is “in beta.”
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It’s an overdue feature that comes as a gift to Tesla owners with Autopilot 2.0+ vehicles for the new year today with the software update 2017.50.3.
In the software release, Tesla calls the feature ‘Beta’:
“Keep your windshield clear with automatic wipers (Beta)
You can now set your Model S windshield wipers to turn on automatically in wet weather. Tap CONTROLS > Settings > Vehicle. and set AUTOWIPERS (BETA) to ON. Then adjust the sensitivity of the wipers so that they turn on based on how much rain is on your windshield. Want them to turn on intermittently when a medium amount of rain has accumulated? Choose the Auto 1 option on the wiper lever. Or, choose the more sensitive Auto 2 option if you prefer wiping as soon as the vehicle sense even just a light mist or drizzle, such as when driving out of the garage on a foggy morning. To make sure your windshield is clear, the wiping speed automatically adjust based on how much rain accumulates between each wipe.
It’s the only new feature in the update. So far only Model S and X owners have reported receiving the update. As usual, keep in mind that it can take a while for Tesla’s software updates to reach the entire fleet.
Update: It’s now also available in Model 3 with the update 2017.48.15 even though there are no release notes.
As we reported last week, the highly requested feature was lacking despite Tesla offering the feature on pre-Autopilot 2.0 vehicles. The main theory was that Tesla didn’t include a rain sensor on the second generation Autopilot hardware, at least not a visible one, thinking that they would be able to use the suite’s cameras or other sensors to replace the traditional rain sensor.
It’s not clear if that’s the case, but it would explain why Tesla is tentatively releasing the feature in “beta” today.
Either way, it’s nice to see that Musk’s latest ETA for the feature was respected. Hopefully, that becomes a trend for Tesla in 2018.