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Published on October 13th, 2018 | by Paul Fosse


Tesla V9 Update — My First Impressions

October 13th, 2018 by  

My wife noticed a notification on her phone that a software update was available. Why was Henry letting her know before me? Was it because she washed him last week? But I digress.

I ran out to our car and clicked the “Install Now” button like a kid running downstairs to look for presents on Christmas morning.

Then I went to write some dry technical piece on tax credits while I waited for the update to finish. When it was done, I looked at my phone for the version changes.

When I got into my car, I checked out the menu structure. It looks like it has been simplified quite a bit — you don’t have to go into settings to do many things that used to be somewhat hidden. An example: you can set an audio notification for when you’re speeding on the main Autopilot menu instead of having to go into the settings inside the Autopilot menu.

Next, I was ready to have some fun, so I went to the Atari games.

I played a couple rounds of Missle Command, but couldn’t figure out how to get out of full screen mode (triple tap). I decided I wasn’t going to save us from a missile attack, but thought maybe I could practice some landings with Lunar Lander. I did accomplish one landing (it was pretty hard, so it did some damage) and I really liked using the thumb wheels on the steering wheel to control the thrust. I took a quick look at Asteroids and found it a little difficult. I didn’t even try Centipede. OK, back to work …

I tried the new calendar app and it had my calendar already loaded. That was nice (and a little creepy, but I’m sure I gave Tesla my password somewhere — I just don’t remember where). I checked out the energy app. It looks like this will be handy to get better estimates of range and better understand the Model 3’s energy usage.

The web browser is okay. I hated typing on the menu and wanted to use the voice recognition to do my google searches, but didn’t figure out a way. I went to CNN and it worked well. I did a NSFW web search and it was fine (sorry, no picture of that).

I thought, “Maybe this would be good for playing YouTube videos.”

Nope, that didn’t work. Well, maybe I’ll figure out a use for this thing. Let me know in the comments what you would use a browser for? I find my phone works better. I guess it would be good where my Sprint phone doesn’t have service but AT&T does. I had seen somewhere that there was a cool new animation for the Climate Controls, which I found rather impressive.

Well, it was time to hit the road and see what was different. I immediately liked that the car shows the other cars all around you, and although the blind spot warning only works with the turn signal, I still found it useful. Like others, I’d like that to be an audio warning and not require a turn signal, so that I don’t have to look at the screen. I didn’t find the range of vehicles shown in the back or on the side to be as far as I expected. Maybe this will be fine tuned in a future release.

Using Autopilot for a few minutes, I did have a small slowdown (maybe 5 mph) for no reason. Those are annoying and I hope that doesn’t happen too often in this release. I didn’t get a chance to try out the dash cam, since I was too lazy to format and prepare a USB drive.

Overall, I liked the new release and it has set the stage for the big enhancement that wasn’t included — the integration of Autopilot and Navigation. I look forward to getting that update soon! 

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About the Author

A Software engineer for over 30 years, first developing EDI software, then developing data warehouse systems. Along the way, I've also had the chance to help start a software consulting firm and do portfolio management. In 2010, I took an interest in electric cars because gas was getting expensive. In 2015, I started reading CleanTechnica and took an interest in solar, mainly because it was a threat to my oil and gas investments. Follow me on Twitter @atj721 Tesla investor. Tesla referral code: https://ts.la/paul92237

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