Tesla is about to roll out a new update that will keep users focused on the road. CEO Elon Musk responded to a user query on Friday asking if the company can add a new dashboard mode that only displays key info like current speed. Musk confirmed that a “fade mode” will come that grants only essential information.
The change is expected to come as part of Tesla’s ninth version of Autopilot, the semi-autonomous driving mode that handles simple maneuvers like driving along a highway and exiting a garage. Version nine will include support for moving on ramp and off ramp, boosts to driving safety, and a series of Atari games that may feature controls with the steering wheel. The upcoming update is set to be the first to also include features related to full self-driving, a prospect first announced in October 2016 with the release of the “Hardware 2” platform.
Tesla has gradually moved toward a cleaner, more minimalist driving experience ahead of the launch of full autonomous driving. The Model 3, which entered production in July 2017, features a single touchscreen tablet in the center of the dashboard, ditching the instrument clusters of yesteryear. The Model S and X, which currently feature a second display behind the steering wheel, are expected to receive a design update that will reduce the size of the cluster. The second-generation Roadster, set to hit roads in 2020, has similarly been pictured with a giant central screen.
Alongside a “fade mode” to further focus drivers, version nine will bring an on-ramp, off-ramp feature. This update, Tesla marketing literature explains, will :determine which lane you need to be in and when. In addition to ensuring you reach your intended exit, Autopilot will watch for opportunities to move to a faster lane when you’re caught behind slower traffic. When you reach your exit, your Tesla will depart the freeway, slow down and transition control back to you.”
The new update was initially set to reach consumers by the end of August, but Musk announced earlier this week that it will now roll out to consumers by the end of the month, after a beta testing period.