Tesla’s Autopilot semi-autonomous technology has received a boost with new features as part of a Version 8.1 software upgrade.
Included in the new package - which Tesla says is its biggest update to Autopilot yet - is improved lane-departure warning, parallel auto-park and auto lane-change features.
There’s also an updated ‘summon’ feature, and the maximum speed at which Autopilot operates has been wound up from 55 to 80 MPH (from 88 to 128km/h).
To assist with the new features, Autopilot now uses two of the exterior cameras fulltime instead of one, while previous updates to radar functions remain. The second camera will primarily assist with the auto-steer system.
As always, Tesla will continue to use data from its owners’ travels to further improve the system. Tweaks in the pipeline include better autonomous emergency braking and fewer ‘false alarms’.
Also on the upgrade list for Tesla is the carmaker’s ‘Ludicrous Mode’ acceleration system.
Ludicrous Mode has already broken new ground for mainstream electric cars, with 0-100km/h times to rival the very best from the hypercar set (think Lamborghini, Pagani, McLaren etc).
But merely playing in the same league as these desirable hypercars was never going to be enough for Tesla, and now a new ‘Ludicrous+’ mode promises to transform your Model S P100D sedan into “the fastest-accelerating car from 0-100km/h of all time”.
Quite a claim - and Tesla CEO Elon Musk suggested a 0-100km/h time of around 2.4 seconds. Those that couldn’t wait, could set their Model Ss up with Ludicrous+ early (after selecting ‘bring it on’ from the warning screen over ‘no, I want my mommy’), and times as low as 2.34 seconds have been claimed for the 0-60 MPH (0-96km/h) sprint.
The updates are part of Tesla’s so-called Easter Egg, and the carmaker also included a new tool handy, perhaps, for passing the time while stuck in traffic jams.
Musk told followers to ‘tap the T [Tesla logo] three times’ after installing the update, and the result turns the giant touchscreen into a blank canvas for electronic finger painting.
If you fancy yourself as a finger painting Van Gogh, you can even submit your work to Tesla for appraisal.
Record Deliveries - And Worth More Than Ford
It’s unclear whether Easter Eggs, 2.34-second 0-60 MPH times or artwork touchscreens are contributing factors, but Tesla reported another quarter of record deliveries to the end of March.
Exactly 25,000 Teslas were delivered to new owners in the first three months of 2017 - up 69 percent on the same quarter from last year.
The Model S’s dominance has inevitably waned, but it still accounted for more than half of the Q1 deliveries with a tally of 13,450. The remainder were Model X SUVs.
Further, Tesla says another 4650 EVs were on the road heading for their new homes as the quarter closed, so these will be included in the Q2 data.
Once Tesla’s battery Gigafactory is fully-operational however, the carmaker will eventually ramp-up production from the thousands to the hundreds-of-thousands per annum. But even before that day, Bloomberg is reporting that Tesla’s market capitalisation has this week toppled even Ford (by US$3.1 billion) at US$48.2 billion.
Clock Ticks On Model S 60
Tesla has reminded customers looking to secure an entry-level Model S 60 that the variant will be dropped from the line-up for the second time in around a fortnight.
From then, the Model S 75 becomes the new entry-level Model S, and 60 owners can choose to upgrade to 75-spec via an over-the-air update.
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