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Autonomous Vehicles

Published on January 10th, 2016 | by Kyle Field

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Tesla Model S 7.1 Firmware Update Adds New Feature (Videos)

January 10th, 2016 by  


tesla_modS_handsfree

New Autopilot Features! | Image Credit: Kyle Field

When Autopilot was first rolled out to the masses, we saw some dumb and just plain scary videos popping up on YouTube. With the software being a beta release, these kinds of moves seemed just plain reckless. Coming out of the initial launch, we reported that Tesla was working on an incremental firmware update that would add safety features to the Autopilot suite as well as a new remote parking feature. That day has come and version 7.1 of the Tesla Model S Firmware has started popping up on vehicles around the world.

Several videos have popped up demoing one of the key functionalities in the firmware called “Summon.” Summon enables the car to park itself into a garage parking space — without a driver in the car. This is fantastic for people with narrow garages and, more importantly, demonstrates the ability of the car to navigate a complex situation without human interaction. In addition to parking the car, Summon integrates automatic garage door opening and closing which is demonstrated well in the two videos at the bottom of this post.

Perpendicular Autopark similarly adds the ability for the car to park in more conventional nose-in or tail-in parking spots by itself. Again, this is more substantial when viewed as another piece of a full autonomous driving suite, but will surely be a nice add-on for those who fear parking.

Autopilot

Tesla Autopilot Sensing | Image Credit: Tesla Motors


Not to blow these features out of proportion, Summon and Autopark are designed for very predictable situations, but fill in a few more pieces of the driving experience. Rolling these features out a la carte will give Tesla more information about how these features work in the real world, which will improve the overall autonomous driving experience when the time comes.

HomeLink: Auto-Open/Close is a helpful addition that, in my 1 week of Model S ownership, I have already wished was built in… and now it is. HomeLink already uses GPS to detect when the car enters the proximity of the area where it was programmed (where the garage door is) and pops up a button… this new feature automates the full action, triggering the door to open on the way home and close on the way out.

Here is the full list of improvements that come with firmware version 7.1:

  • Autosteer
  • Summon (Beta)
  • Perpendicular Autopark
  • Enhanced Autopilot Visualizations
  • Traffic-Aware Cruise Control Improvements
  • Additional Autopilot Improvements
  • HomeLink: Auto-Open/Close
  • Vehicle Lock Improvements
  • Display Auto-Brightness
  • Supercharger Site Availability
  • Trip Planner Improvements
  • Additional Improvements

A forum post at TMC includes pictures of the full release notes for the update, including descriptions of each of the features and improvements that are included in the new update. I’m still waiting for the update to come through on my Model S, though I won’t be getting most of the features, as I don’t have Autopilot, but it is already blowing my mind how the car just keeps getting fairly significant updates that improve the way it works every day.

Two videos from YouTuber Ricco831 demonstrate the Summon functionality with automatic garage door opening/closing and leave me impressed:

Perpendicular Autopark:

 
 
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About the Author

I'm a tech geek passionately in search of actionable ways to reduce the negative impact my life has on the planet, save money and reduce stress. Live intentionally, make conscious decisions, love more, act responsibly, play. The more you know, the less you need. TSLA investor.



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