Tesla EVs regularly get OTA (over-the-air) updates when new firmware versions are available. The current version 8.1 is now expected to be upgraded to version 9.0, which Musk promises will have full self-driving capability for Autopilot. But some Tesla owners aren’t even aware of the full feature-set in the current version. To that end, we’ve shown you what the 8.1 firmware is capable of.

Autopilot Features on Tesla Firmware Version 8.1:

Tesla Model 3 Firmware 8.1

So, when it first came out (Build 2018.26 3bbd9fd), the Summon feature was in beta. It’s still not a public release, but several builds have come out since then. The latest build installed for a Tesla Model 3 is from yesterday (Aug 13) – Build 2018.28.5 377ec8b – and others have also reported an update. But the release notes simply say “minor improvements.” That likely means no significant bug fixes or additional features for this version.

What’s Expected on Tesla Firmware v9.0?

There haven’t been any formal confirmation on 9.0 features other than what Musk has indicated, and the timeline as of Aug 1 was “in four weeks”, so we should see something at the end of August 2018. Model 3 owners have, of course, speculated on what might be coming, but the lines are blurry between that and what might really come with the update. Nevertheless, here’s a non-comprehensive list of what to expect and what Model 3 owners are looking for:

  • FSD – Full Self-Driving – Musk has promised this, so let’s wait and see. Could require a paid hardware upgrade for Model 3. This is just the beginning of the rollout, so don’t expect full autonomous capabilities just yet. That may only come with v10.0 or later.

  • Tesla Maps could see a much fuller release with 9.0

  • The IC may show tiny cars in blind spots

  • 360-degree surround camera view – already trialed

  • In-car WiFi hotspot (not likely for Model 3 but since Supercharger billing for overages is set up on S and X and has been for more than a year now, these models might get their hotspot capability. Musk initially tweeted that it was billing constraints, and not technical considerations, that prevented this feature from being introduced)

  • Dashcam function – already trialed, could be close to release

  • Atari games (the image was on Tesla site but later pulled, so this is sort of confirmed)

Most of the other features talked about in forums are pure wishlist-type features. Still, it’s good to know that quite a bit is being planned for the 9.0 release. Watch out towards the end of August for the OTA rollout.

Autopilot Hardware 3

On the AP hardware side of things, there’s some great news as well. About 196,000 of a total of 360,000 deliveries made so far (all models) have Hardware 2+, and Hardware 3 is slated for 4-6 months from now, per Musk.

As of now, Tesla claims to have the “world’s most advanced computer for autonomous driving”, thanks to the new chip developed in-house under the guidance of Pete Bannon after Jim Keller, formerly of AMD, left Tesla.

[Update: Two key AI Chip architects have left Tesla. Will this impact Autopilot Hardware 3.0 Rollouts? Here’s why it probably won’t]

Per the tweet thread, it’s been hinted that FSD features will start being rolled out with 9.0, but true FSD will likely need additional hardware support that will only come with Hardware 3.0 early next year. Hardware 2+ owners will get their new computers as a free upgrade, and this is applicable for everyone who already has Enhanced Autopilot and has ordered Full Self-driving.

This is all the information we have on firmware v9.0 and Hardware 3 release date for now. We’ll keep updating this page as we hear more. Please feel free to comment if you come across anything that might need to be added to the content here.

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