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Tesla software update unlocks new camera capability

Tesla will finally enable side cameras for easier parking and changing lanes. Though, it still isn't a bona-fide 360 degree view.

3 months ago
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Henry Man
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Tesla has unlocked a raft of new features for drivers in North America and China – and Australian owners won’t be far behind.

CarExpert understands the over-the-air software update 2020.24.5 will be released free to Australian owners in the coming weeks. For now, it appears to be limited to early access owners in North America and China.

Headlining the 2020.24.5 update is the activation of left and right side-mounted cameras to complement the reversing camera. When the indicator is activated, the car is shifted into reverse, or the driver manually triggers the function on the infotainment system, the three camera angles are displayed simultaneously.

This means the addition of the side cameras – which are directed towards the rear of the vehicle – will ensure drivers have clearer view when manoeuvring, reversing, and changing lanes as pictured by xiaoteshushu.

Despite many owners requesting a 360 degree top-down view stitching front, rear and side cameras together, Tesla’s update keeps each view separate in rectangle windows.

On the screen, there’s an obvious empty gap in the middle, suggesting that one more camera could be activated in the future or used to display something else.

This feature will only be available on Tesla vehicles with Hardware 2.0 update rolled out in 2016, as they include eight cameras, including the side-mounted lenses.

This includes the Model 3 sedan, Model Y crossover SUV, and Model S large sedan and Model X family SUV sold after October 2016.

A similar implementation is already featured in some Hyundai, Kia and Honda models. When the indicator is activated, wing mirror-mounted cameras are shown in the instrument cluster or touchscreen to essentially eliminate blind spots when attempting to change lanes.

Additionally, Tesla will activate the cabin camera found on the Model 3 and Model Y, which is located in the rear view mirror and is directed at capturing all occupants in the vehicle.

The cabin camera will now “automatically capture images and a short video clip just prior to a collision or safety event to help engineers develop safety features and enhancements in the future”, Tesla says in the changelog.

Tesla software update unlocks new camera capability

This feature can be turned off in the infotainment system settings. Previously, CEO Elon Musk said it will be used as a security camera for the company’s upcoming Uber-rivalling self-driving robotaxi network.

Meanwhile, the Dashcam Viewer receives some welcome tweaks, too. 

The video player interface will now show red dots along the scrubber bar to indicate when a Sentry Mode event was triggered – by a person being near the car or when the vehicle detects it is being tampered with.

The video will also automatically skip ahead and begin playing just before the Sentry Mode point.

Tesla software update unlocks new camera capability

Other improvements include the much-requested battery preheat feature for third party public charging, such as a ChargeFox station, when set as a navigation destination.

Previously limited to Tesla Superchargers, the vehicle will warm up its battery before it reaches the charger to ensure optimal temperatures for faster charging – particularly helpful in cold conditions.

Also, owners can now disable the walk-away door auto-locking function when the car is at home.

An image posted by Tesla Mania also presents 2020.24.5 containing new instrument icons in China, including a mute vehicle and 12V battery glyph.

Following the addition of USB-C in the Chinese-made Model 3 sedan (now available in the United States) and reported development of a low-cost million-mile battery, it is apparent that the electric car company is focusing on China as a test bed for future technologies.

Currently, Australian Teslas are on software version 2020.20.13, which enables vehicles to automatically stop for traffic lights and stop signs when vehicles with the “Full Self-Driving” option is ticked.


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