At a press event today, Tesla announced the releaseof version 7.0 of the Model S software, a big, widely anticipated new build that finally enables the car's self-driving features. Those capabilities were first announced last year and the necessary sensors were added to all Model S cars that have rolled off the assembly line since last September, but Tesla has needed additional time to flesh out the algorithms, which it has been testing this year.
The 7.0 release starts in the US on a rolling basis tomorrow, and will proceed to Europe and Asia in the coming weeks pending regulatory approval; the Model X shouldn't be far behind, since it has the same sensors in place.
Model S is designed to to keep getting better over time. The latest software update, 7.0 allows Model S to use its unique combination of cameras, radar, ultrasonic sensors and data to automatically steer down the highway, change lanes, and adjust speed in response to traffic. Once you’ve arrived at your destination, Model S scans for a parking space and parallel parks on your command.
Today’s update increases the driver’s confidence behind the wheel with features to help the car avoid hazards and reduce the driver’s workload. While Model S can’t make traffic disappear, it can make it a lot easier, safer, and more pleasant to endure.
Along with the new Autopilot features, the instrument cluster’s new driver-focused design shows the real-time information the car uses to intelligently determine the vehicle's behavior in that moment relative to its surroundings.
The instrument panel provides a visualization of the road as detected by the car’s sensors, giving drivers the information their car is using for features including lane departure, blind spot detection, speed assist, collision warning, adaptive cruise, and autosteer.
Autosteer keeps the car in the current lane and engages Traffic-Aware Cruise Control to maintain the car’s speed. Using a variety of measures including steering angle, steering rate and speed to determine the appropriate operation AutoSteer assists the driver on the road, making the driving experience easier.
Tesla requires drivers to remain engaged and aware when Autosteer is enabled. Drivers must keep their hands on the steering wheel.
Auto Lane Change
Changing lanes when Autosteer is engaged is simple: engage the turn signal and Model S will move itself to the adjacent lane when it’s safe to do so.
Automatic Emergency Steering and Side Collision Warning
Side Collision Warning further enhances Model S’s active safety capabilities by sensing range and alerting drivers to objects, such as cars, that are too close to the side of Model S. When the car detects an object close to its side, fluid lines will radiate from the Model S image in the Instrument Panel to alert the driver.
Model S can now parallel park itself, eliminating the need for drivers to worry about complex and difficult parking maneuvers. When driving at low speeds around cities, a “P” will appear on the Instrument Panel when the Tesla detects a parking spot. The Autopark guide will appear on the touchscreen along with the rear camera display, and, once activated, Autopark will begin to park itself by controlling steering and vehicle speed.
A map of travel data uploaded from Tesla's autopilot test fleet, showing streets (and even individual parking spots) visited by cars in the Bay Area - theverge.com