Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) Quietly Refreshes Model S Hardware?


Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) recently released Version 6.0 software update for Model S. The update brings some impressive new features. Your vehicle will automatically download the update via built-in 3D data connection, without any intervention. It integrates your phone‘s calendars with the car. Another feature integrates live traffic data with the car’s navigation system. It will help you avoid major traffic obstructions and reach your destination in the shortest possible time.

Tesla introduces features that need new hardware

But the digital manual of Version 6.0 update explains two new features that can’t be implemented without some new hardware. A Tesla Motors Club member (via Jalopnik) noticed instructions on a Lane Departure Warning system and a new Speed Assist feature. Both features require a camera mounted on the windshield behind the rear-view mirror. The Palo Alto-based company hasn’t officially announced it, but has offered hints in the past.

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The Speed Assist feature uses the front-facing camera to read speed limit and alerts drivers when they cross the speed limit. The Lane Departure Warning system also uses the same camera to keep track of lane lines. If you drift from the lane, the steering wheel will vibrate three times to get you back on track. Both features rely on the camera’s visibility. So, direct sunlight, rain, fog and other things that affect the camera’s view will impact the functionality.

New features necessary to meet European standards

Jalopnik reached out to Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) to know when these features, or the refreshed Model S, would be rolling out. In response, Tesla said that “starting recently” some Model S cars delivered in North America will be equipped with lane drift detection and speed limit display. These systems are necessary to meet the latest European standards. But the automaker has decided to include these features in cars delivered across the globe.

The features will be installed in all cars being built. But the automaker noted that a retrofit isn’t possible due to the huge amount of changes involved.