On Christmas morning, I awoke to find a minor software update waiting for my 8 day old Tesla Model S. While the install screen warned me the update would take 1 hour 40 minutes, it actually completed much quicker. Being Chrismas morning I was otherwise preoccupied and didn’t time the update, but glancing at my mobile phone about an hour later I noticed the update had already completed. My speculation is that the 1 hour 40 minute time is for older models that don’t have the new and 40x more powerful NVIDIA powered AutoPilot 2.0 (AP 2.0) hardware.
This is not the much awaited 8.1 software update which will enable the AP 2.0 autopilot capabilities, but it does seem to add some test functionality to the car’s new NVIDIA hardware. More on that later.
First the official stuff.
The “Automatic Driver Profiles” is a nice touch that links the key fob to a driver profile. Link your key to your profile, give the #2 driver the same treat, and make everyone else have to select their driver profile on the main screen. Now saving 1 click when entering the car doesn’t seem like a big deal, but since many cars have a similar feature, it is a nice to have. The main difference here is that Tesla enabled the feature with a simple software upgrade. Try doing that on your favorite luxury car…
Rounding out the minor update are inclusion of supercharger amenity icons and additional equalizer bands, the latter lost on my tone-deaf ears. But my kids may use that feature when they borrow the car.
Now back to the AP 2.0 hardware. The 2.50.180 release notes don’t mention anything about it, but the dashboard display clearly does. When driving next to other cars, sensor icons on each corner of the car now light up, white, yellow, then red to indicate nearby objects. This added dashboard display feature is informational only at this time, but clearly will be feeding into the autopilot software when that feature is enabled. A bit more on this can be found in the Tesla forums.
Now for the fun stuff. I’m not sure if this was part of the 2.50.180 upgrade or not, but as reported elsewhere, pressing and holding the Tesla icon at the top of the main screen and typing in the code “mars” places the navigation system somewhere on the red planet, complete with the expected pan and zoom capability.
Returning from the Mars navigation screen, I noticed my Tesla was also temporarily upgraded to a different model.