Tesla's bringing a big refresh to the dash screen: things are going flatter and more modern. Way back when the Tesla Model S first launched, the visual design of the center console was, in a word, gaudy. The massive 17-inch touch screen was littered with so-called skeuomorphic buttons — they were designed to mimic the appearance of real buttons, but did so badly. In subsequent updates Tesla has toned down the false decorations in the interface, but a leaked photo of the 8.0 update shows that Tesla's going all-in on flat:
It's somewhat in keeping with the modern design language that Tesla has embraced. With the Model X, the refreshed Model S, and the upcoming Model 3, Tesla's ditched the black nose cone and un-needed grilles of previous designs for a look that embraces the modern electrified vehicles that these are. And so it makes sense that the software interface design would follow suit. It's also in keeping with the flat monochrome look of the Model 3's single display.
As posted on TTF Forum.de, the the system has received a thorough flattening, with buttons now showing their activation status via color highlights instead of faux-3D effects and the app icons across have gone grayscale. The app button row also supposedly auto-hides. The media app has also received a thorough revamp, making it far easier to switch between sources with tabs across the top of the window.
According to Electrek, the update will also bring improved voice commands and new navigation features.
The main display isn't the only thing getting an improvement with the 8.0 update — Autopilot is due for some improvements as well. Electrek says that Autopilot will be picking up the ability to take off ramps with the flick of a turn signal (Autopilot can maintain the current lane and speed and change lanes when commanded).
The dashboard display's representation of surrounding vehicles based on camera and radar data will also get an improvement. Currently it only shows the rear end of any cars in front of you, which looks awfully janky when the tractor trailer ahead of you in the lane to the right is just sort of floating there in space — with 8.0 vehicles will be rendered in 3D, including as they turn off the road.
Based on previous comments by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the capabilities of the current generation of Autopilot are limited by the car's hardware — there's only so much they can do with a single camera and a single radar unit. We could very well be staring down the barrel of an autopilot hardware refresh as well — with rumors of a triple-camera system and testing mules with additional cameras and sensors and even a LIDAR rig being spotted driving around.
As for when the 8.0 software update will arrive? Soon, friends, soon.