Tesla is pushing a new software update today with its long-awaited ‘Navigate on Autopilot’ feature, though it comes with a disappointing caveat and several other changes.
According to sources familiar with Tesla’s software, the automaker slowly started releasing a new v9 update (2018.42) last night to the first wave of a few thousand vehicles in North America.
The main new feature is ‘Navigate on Autopilot’, which was supposed to be released in version 9 earlier this month, but Tesla pulled the feature for further validation.
The feature, which enables Autopilot to suggest lane changes on the highway, on and off ramps and interchanges, represents the biggest step for Tesla in the rollout of Enhanced Autopilot features.
But it is still in beta, and unlike the first version that was released in Tesla’s Early Access Program, the feature doesn’t initiate the lane changes.
Drivers still need to press the blinker stalk to initiate the lane changes suggested by the Navigate on Autopilot feature.
As for ‘Navigate on Autopilot’ in Europe, Musk confirmed that it is still months away as they need to address the differences in how lane lines are painted, which varies greatly by country.
The 2018.42 update also includes a few other changes.
As we reported earlier this week, Tesla started rolling out the Model 3 key fob and the new software supports the new way to unlock the vehicle and manage the keys.
Tesla also made a user interface change allowing users to stack apps over the media app — something that a fair number of owners have been requesting.
“You can now use the Calendar, Energy, Rear Camera, and Phone applications at the same time as Media Player. When Media Player is open, these applications display above the Media Player window and can be dragged up or down to adjust the viewing position.”
Furthermore, apparently many Model S and Model X owners drove with the rear-camera stream on full time on the center screen.
With the initial version v9 release, this was deemed impossible since the Tesla system itself was using the navigation app as a background.
Now, owners will be able to have the rear camera back on top – much like before.
I honestly didn’t know it was an issue since I always kept the maps as the main app in my Model S.
For me, the transition in v9 made sense and I have to assume that Tesla did its research to know which apps drivers were using when developing the new UI.
But apparently, there are many Model S and Model X owners driving with the rear-camera stream on full time on the center screen.
Those users should be happy with the new update.
As for the Navigate on Autopilot feature, I honestly don’t know what it’s good for if you have to initiate the lane change, which was already a feature before.
Now it suggests you lane changes when you are supposed to initiate them based on your destination in the navigation, which I guess is an update over the previous system, but the navigation system was still telling you what to do either way.
It also tells you when to change lanes to overtake someone, but you’re always supposed to pay attention to the road when using Autopilot anyway and therefore, you should know when to initiate the lane change without this.
Honestly, I’m still trying to wrap my head around the feature, though perhaps I’ll see more value in it once I start using it myself.
What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.