Tesla’s next major software update is almost here. On Tuesday, CEO Elon Musk confirmed on Twitter that the update is in the “final tweaks” stage with a wider release set to appear by the end of the week. The version nine update will lay the groundwork further for Musk’s ambitions to deliver full autonomous driving.
The Twitter announcement is big news for users looking to get their hands on Tesla’s next major update, which is set to bring the refined Model 3 user interface to the Model S and X while also bringing features like Calendar, Energy and Web Browser to the Model 3. The update also brings a beta version of “Navigate on Autopilot,” which drives the car on and off the highway for enhanced Autopilot users depending on the indicated directions in the navigation software. It’s a small step, but a key milestone in the bid to deliver a system where drivers can sit in the car, enter a destination, and let the car drive the whole journey. Test users are already receiving the new version:
The update also includes support for expanded mobile app support. The update notes explain that users can “now start navigation in your car by using the share button in your favorite phone apps,” potentially enabling users to share an address and get going. The update also “allow[s] your passengers to quickly control the media, Play/pause, previous/skip, and cycle through your media favorites.”
Tesla’s update brings full autonomy one step closer. The company sells enhanced Autopilot as a $5,000 unlock at the time of purchase or $6,000 thereafter, with full autonomy pre-orders available from $3,000 extra at time of purchase to $5,000 extra thereafter. Originally slated for an end of 2017 release, the feature is now expected to ship at a later date using an in-house “Hardware 3” Tesla processor that replaces the Nvidia Drive PX 2 autonomy chip.
Version 10, expected to release some time later, could be the first version to offer fully autonomous cross-country road trips. Musk has also suggested that the update could offer Netflix and YouTube support.
Expect more updates on Tesla’s full autonomy project after version nine launches fully.