Elon Musk has taken to Twitter to announce the next step in Tesla’s long quest towards autonomous cars. Starting this evening, V8.0 of Tesla’s Autopilot software will begin a “gradual” rollout to all users.
V8.0 is a major software update, and the first real change since the fatal Autopilot crash in May. Musk describes it as “a major overhaul on almost every level compared to V7.”
Musk wrote a blog post last week outlining the big changes coming in V8.0. One of the most major is a shift towards radar and away from cameras for controlling the car. In the fatal Autopilot crash in May, the car’s cameras failed to pick up a white trailer against a bright sky. In theory, a Tesla running the newer version of Autopilot would have avoided that crash.
According to leaked photos, V8 will also have some major UI changes to the Autopilot setup. The new version doesn’t just show where cars are on the road, but also their orientation. The speed limit is also more prominently displayed.
In addition to changes to Autopilot, Musk is also touting a new feature that will keep the car at a constant maximum or minimum temperature. The idea is that you can leave children or animals unattended in the car in the heat, and not worry about the temperature inside the car getting to hot.
The update will roll out as an over-the-air software update beginning tonight, although Musk is careful to note that it will be a gradual update, given the number of different cars in different countries.