Tesla has finally started rolling out software update 8.0 and with it comes a number of enhancements, including updated warnings for the autopilot system for all those pesky rebels that like to break the rules. That, along with a handful of other new or updated features makes update 8.0 a rather significant update and is available for all Model S’ purchased since 2012.

To start off, the car’s built-in media player has taken a huge redesign that helps to bring the content you prefer to the forefront. The search function has been refined and allows you to access streaming radio, podcasts, and any USB device. The voice commands function has also been updated, making the feature easier to use overall. Just like getting a new version of iOS or Android, the voice command system no initiates quicker when requested, and there is also a transcript that appears on the instrument panel to help confirm the vehicle heard your voice command correctly. There are also visual tips to help shed some light on available commands.

The navigation system has also been updated. The biggest news about this is that the system will now span the entire length and width of the touchscreen and provides important details about your trip. You can search for your destination by voice command, and the zoom adjusts automatically display important information. Home and work routing is nearly automatic, taking nothing more than a swipe to initiate. Part of this system includes Trip Planner which displays your entire trip on the screen prior to leaving. Navigation automatically starts when the Model S or Model X is put into drive.

The biggest news about the update come in the form of AutoPilot enhancements. According to Tesla, the system is now more responsive in stop and go traffic and can now navigate highway interchanges. The instrument cluster gets new AutoPilot indicators, while the system “controls for two cars ahead” which apparently improves safety and reaction time. If another car is close to the lanes edge during overtaking maneuvers, the autopilot system will now steer the car a little off center to help prevent the possibility of an accident. The most important part of the update to the AutoPilot system is the new enhanced safety requirements that will disable Autosteer if safety warnings are ignored.

Keep reading for the rest of the story

That New AutoPilot Warning

The video you see above is a video of the AutoPilot system going through the motions of its new warning system. Admittedly, it takes quite a while to kick it, but I suspect it takes so long because the driver was initiating lane changes which would likely reset the counter as the driver is likely paying at least some kind of attention to what’s going on. But, there’s another thing about this video that I want to point out. Why is the AutoPilot system allowed to break the posted speed limit? In the video, you can clearly see that the system recognizes the posted speed of 65 mph, but because the max speed is set to 75, it proceeds to break the posted speed limit. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those people that are anal about going to speed limit, but for a system that’s in “beta” and has been under a lot of heat for multiple accidents, I think this should be addressed.

What do you think about the latest OTA update for the Model S and Model X? Let us know in the comments section below.

Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topsped.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read More
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Press Release

Tesla software update 8.0 revamps interface, enhances owner experience & safety for all vehicles

Tesla makes the only cars on the road that continue to get safer, smarter, and more capable over time, thanks to free, over-the-air software updates. While traditional cars have static features, a Tesla is more akin to a smartphone, adding new functionality and enhancements throughout the life of the car.

Software update 8.0 kicks off a significant over-the-air overhaul of the Tesla touchscreen and introduces the biggest UI revamp since the launch of Model S. Customers who purchased their car in 2012 will receive the same value of functionality and improvement as customers who purchased vehicles last month. 8.0 combines a modern look with updates to Autopilot, Navigation with Trip Planner, Maps, and the Media Player for a safer, more advanced driving experience. In an industry-first safety measure, we’re also introducing Cabin Overheat Protection, focused on child (and pet) safety. This feature keeps the car at a safe temperature, even when the car is off, and is made possible by our uniquely large battery packs.

Intuitive media player
The media player has been redesigned and personalized to put your favorite content front and center. Search is now simpler to access and more powerful, accessing streaming radio, live stations, podcasts, and any USB device to help you quickly find what they’re looking for.

Voice commands
Voice controls are now easier and clearer to use. Initiation is quick, and clear visual feedback lets you focus on the road without compromising convenience or control.
Voice commands initiate with a single tap
Feedback in the form of a transcript now appears on the instrument panel to confirm your command
Visual tips remind you what commands are available

Maps and navigation
Maps have been updated to span the entire touchscreen, displaying the most important details of your trip. The control bar fades automatically for an uncluttered navigation experience.
Search for destinations with a single touch or voice command
Zoom adjusts based on location to display what you need to see most
Navigate to home or work with a single swipe.
When at home, swipe the navigation button down in the Maps app and navigation will automatically route you to work. When away from home, swipe down and navigation will route back.

Cabin Overheat Protection
In an industry-first safety measure, we’re also introducing Cabin Overheat Protect, focused on child (and pet) safety. This feature keeps the car at a safe temperature for hours, even when the car is off. This feature is only made possible by an electric vehicle with Tesla’s uniquely large battery packs.

Trip Planner
Trip Planner provides a clear overview of your journey before you leave, with maps that zoom out to show your entire route. Putting your Tesla into Drive automatically starts navigation to your first waypoint.

Autopilot Enhancements

Advancements in signal processing use the Tesla’s onboard radar to persistently capture snapshots of its surroundings, creating a 3D picture of the world. Learn more about seeing the world in radar.

Displays now show angled vehicles as they enter a curve and the Autosteer indicator has been updated to more clearly indicate when Autosteer is engaged. We won’t list all 200 improvements to Autopilot in 8.0, but here are a few additions:

Autopilot has been tuned to be more responsive and smoother in stop-and-go traffic
Enhanced safety requirement which disables Autosteer during trip when safety warnings are ignored
Autosteer now navigates highway interchanges
Redesigned Autopilot indicators
Curve speed adaptation now uses fleet-learned roadway curvature
Autopilot now controls for two cars ahead improving reaction time to otherwise-invisible heavy braking events
Car offsets in lane when overtaking a slower vehicle driving close to its lane edge


Periodic over-the-air software updates continue to make Teslas safer, smarter, and more capable at no additional cost to customers. While traditional cars have static features, a Tesla is more akin to a smartphone, adding new functionality and enhancements throughout the life of the vehicle.

7.1: January 2016
Autopilot enhancements
Autopark (perpendicular)

7.0: October 2015
Autopilot: auto steer, auto lane change, auto park, side collision avoidance)

6.2: March 2015
Range Assurance
Trip Planner
Trip Overview
Automatic Emergency Braking
Blind Spot Warning
Valet Mode

6.1: January 2015
Traffic-Aware Cruise Control
Forward Collision Warning
Auto High Beam
Trip Energy Prediction
Reverse Camera Guidelines
Calendar Enhancements: Meeting Notes & Phone Numbers

6.0: September 2014
Traffic-based navigation
Calendar app
New Power management options
Location-based smart air suspension
Custom Car Name

March 2014:
Ability to adjust air suspension to low again
Personalized internet music for Europe
Hill Start Assist (another great powertrain feature)
Navigation: Home/work locations and favorites

November 2013:
Raised air suspension

October 2013:
Energy saving mode to reduce power draw when car not in use
Owner’s manual on the touchscreen

August 2013:
Wi-fi & tethering
Heading-up maps

June 2013:
Recognizing superchargers (and other previously used charging locations) on the map, navigating to them

March 2013:
Scheduled charging (to help customers save money by charging when electricity is cheaper)

November 2012:
Auto-presenting door handles (evidence of how useful over-the-air update capability is)
Location-aware Homelink
Voice commands

October 2012:
Added "creep" functionality (exciting to add a powertrain capability as part of an over-the-air update)
Named driver profiles

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