Tesla continually improves its electric vehicles with over-the-air software updates that include enhancements to Autopilot, legacy “Enhanced Autopilot”, and Full Self-Driving (FSD) features in the future.
Note that Tesla recently completely updated their Autopilot options to simplify the lineup across its EVs. Enhanced Autopilot is no longer offered and instead, autonomous driving features have been folded into the Full Self-Driving option.
How Often Do Software Updates Occur?
Tesla Motors continually rolls out firmware updates to its electric cars, including the Tesla Model 3, Model S and X, probably even the Semi and upcoming Roadster ;). They typically test new features on a smaller set of vehicles first (e.g. 1,000), including Elon Musk’s own car, to ensure there are no issues ‘in the wild’ before rolling firmware updates out to the broader fleet.
How often your Tesla’s Autopilot is updated depends on your patch cycle. Each Tesla vehicle typically has a 30 to 60 day patch cycle, which means that you may not get every incremental update. This ensures the electric vehicle fleet is relatively heterogeneous and not prone to single-bug failures.
It’s probably also helpful to have a strong Wi-Fi signal since the updates can be large. The good news is that your Tesla mobile app will now alert you to updates and allow you to apply them remotely!
Recent Firmware Updates and Notable Autopilot Enhancements
Tesla Software Updates 2019
Listed below are the latest software updates with notable Tesla Autopilot improvements. Have any tips? Contact Us!
March 2019 Software Updates
Update 2019.8.x (incl. 8.1, 8.2, 8.3, etc.)
The 2019.8.x update includes an exciting new feature, specifically found in 8.3 that now can recognize stoplights when Autopilot is engaged.
From the Tesla 2019.8.3 release notes:
Additional 8.3 updates include Model 3 summon with key fob and a power increase for the Model 3 (not AWD version yet).
2019.8.2 includes disable confirmation for lane changes on Navigation on Autopilot.
2019.8.1 includes Enhanced Summon that requires activation server-side from Tesla.
February 2019 Software Updates
Update 2019.5.x (incl. 5.4, 5.14, 5.15, etc.)
The 2019.5.x update variants includes the following features: Blind Spot Warning chime, in addition to other updates such as: Sentry Mode (Model 3), Multi-Camera Dash Cam (Model 3), Dog Mode (all), and Auto-Folding Mirrors. It also appears Tesla has begun testing this version on Autopilot Hardware 3 test vehicles in California for the first time (these are vehicles using Tesla’s custom AI chips instead of the NVIDIA system).
5.15 Autopilot Notes:
- Tesla owners have reported that Autopilot updates include better detection of lane incursions and avoidance, but this is still to be verified. Some have reported more hesitancy with phantom braking.
- It seems that with 5.15 lane changes are a bit smoother as well as acceleration and deceleration.
- Upon disengagement of Autopilot, the speed now remains at the preset speed versus the current speed at time of disengagement.
- Lane changes on S and X can be fully engaged with a partial turn signal tap.
- Navigate-on-Autopilot will automatically disengage if poor weather is detected and re-engage once it clears up.
- In addition there is now Tap-to-Delay Lane Change for Navigate-on-Autopilot:
January 2019 Software Updates
Update 2018.49.20 (49.20) and (50.6)
These updates don’t appear to have significant Autopilot improvement of note.
Tesla Software Updates 2018
December 2018 Software Updates
The 48.1 update had some notable Autopilot improvements in the release notes, including:
- Smoother Lane Centering in Merging Lanes. Users have reported that vehicles don’t center in merging lanes as abruptly as before. A welcome update!
- Navigate-on-Autopilot: Change from Passing Lane. A warning now appears asking users to confirm changing from the left-most passing lane if the user is currently in that lane (as shown here on a Model X instrument cluster):
- Upcoming Lane Change now also appears in the map view on the instrument cluster of Model S/X.
- Update to “Apply Light Force to Steering Wheel” graphic. Now includes hands on the wheel.
October 2018 Software Updates
Firmware 2018.42.2 (October 2018) – Software Version 9
This was a major new software update to Version 9. Read the full Version 9 Update with Navigate on Autopilot in the linked article. In brief summary, Navigate on Autopilot allows the car to drive itself from freeway on-ramp to exit when Traffic-Aware Cruise Control (TACC) is active with Autosteer and a destination is entered.
The Version 9 Software update is the biggest step yet towards full self-driving capabilities.
Future Autopilot Updates
These are some of the recent Tesla Software Updates released in the last year, but there are many more exciting features coming down the pipe, like:
- Recognition of traffic lights
- Detection of stop signs
- Automatic City Driving
Learn more about Future Tesla Autopilot Software Updates.