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Tesla cars have some cool new tricks with latest software update

The AchieVer

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If you happen to be a Tesla owner, you should already be aware of this. For everyone else; this will make you jealous.

Not for the first time, Tesla has released an update for its vehicles. This isn’t a new model, or an added costly option or update during a service at the dealership. This is just like when Tim Cook talks about the latest iOS update for your smartphone, except it is Elon Musk talking about the way your vehicle operates.

For the majority of car owners, this just doesn’t happen. The infotainment system is the same on day 650 of owning the car as it was when you bought it. It likely drives worse than new and there certainly are no new features. When Tesla owners were advised of the latest update from the manufacturer, the car could simply update over Wi-Fi while parked in your driveway and be ready by morning.

So what is in the update? We borrowed a Tesla Model X to find out.

Firstly, this update applies to ALL Tesla vehicles ever sold. So a Model S from 2014 can receive this 2018 update, for free.

Nothing like some falcon doors.

Nothing like some falcon doors.


Tesla has long had a smartphone app which connects to your vehicle. You can open the boot, sound the horn and even move the car forward or back without being in the car.

The new app allows you to send navigation directions from your phone to your car as well as control media playback on the smartphone (perfect for the back seat DJ).

We loved the navigation sharing because it means before we leave the office we can type our destination into the smartphone, share it to the car and before we even get into the driver’s seat, the car knows where we’re going.

The Tesla app has some smart new functionality.

The Tesla app has some smart new functionality.


The Tesla vehicles have lots of cameras and sensors, many of which are underused. Elon Musk always commented that the sensors and cameras on the car will continue to add value. They’re added to the car because it’s very difficult to add hardware later. Software however can be updated. So in this update, the camera on the front is now able to be used as a dashcam.


For all those people buying aftermarket dashcams and sticking them to their window, the Tesla now has one built into the car. You will need to plug a USB drive into one of the slots in the car and that’s it. The car has an icon to show the dashcam is recording and if an event occurs you can simply tap the icon to save the last 10 minutes to the USB drive. The quality of the video isn’t spectacular, however it would be enough to identify who was at fault in a car accident, should that ever occur.


When you drive a Tesla, a digital screen in front of you generally displays your car and it the cars around you as it senses them there.

The update allows the car to see more and display that for you while also using the data to make smarter decisions.

The update allows the car to see more and display that for you while also using the data to make smarter decisions.

When you use Autopilot it will use this data to manage lane changing and maintaining safe gaps etc. The software update allows the Tesla to not just see other cars around them but it will now identify whether it is a motorbike, car or bus/truck. It is able to see more and display that for you while also using the data to make smarter decisions.

Autopilot has undergone some further growth and behaved very well in the time we were testing it. On a drive from Sydney to Mudgee, we made good use of the Autopilot feature and how well it performed on roads where line markings aren’t perfect, nor the road conditions.

The interface and UI is much nicer now.

The interface and UI is much nicer now.


We didn’t spent a lot of time on this but it will absolutely be Christmas for old-school gamers. Tesla has added a whole lot of Atari games which can be controlled on screen but also through your steering wheel. It can only be activated and played while the car is in park but it will certainly keep mum, dad or the kids entertained. Once the software update has been done to your Tesla you’ll be able to play Missile CommandLunar Lander and Centipede — ring any bells?

Because, why not?

Because, why not?


In the four days that we tested the Tesla for a wedding weekend in Mudgee, we were really pleased with the amount of space in the car, remembering you can store more in the front boot. We found it a pleasant drive, had safe use of the autopilot and loved the way the rear doors opened. While we were there, the Model X became the vehicle that would drive the bride a short distance to the ceremony and it looked great with a white ribbon and when self-opening the rear doors for the bride’s exit to the aisle.

The navigation on the car meant that we had far less battery anxiety and in the three-hour-plus drive to Mudgee we arrived with exactly as much battery left as it suggested we would before we left.

For such a long distance the car only needed one solid charge before returning home and the wedding venue had a Tesla destination charger — too easy.



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