Elon Musk has announced through Twitter that the new navigation system for its electric cars would be rolled out this weekend. Musk clarified, however, that the overhauled navigation software will be released as a “mature beta”, with improvements set to come after its initial release.
Apart from announcing the estimated date for the revamped navi system’s initial rollout, Musk also explained why Tesla’s old maps and navigation software had limitations. According to Musk, Tesla was limited by legacy third-party black box codes and outdated data, resulting in the cars’ navigation capabilities stagnating.
“New nav starts rolling out this weekend. Should be considered a mature beta at first, so won’t be perfect, but will improve rapidly. With the old system, we were stuck with legacy 3rd party black box code and stale data. No way to improve.”
Musk has been teasing the release of a new, improved navigation software for a few months now. Back in late December, Musk responded to a Tesla owner from the Netherlands who stated that this 3-year-old car had only received one map update since he bought it. This prompted Musk to issue a response on Twitter, stating that a new navigation system, one that is “light-years ahead,” would be released by Tesla early in 2018. Musk, however, announced then that Tesla would be extensively testing the new navigation software before they roll it out.
Earlier this month, Musk teased the release of its new navigation system again. This time around, the Tesla CEO responded to a complaint from Tesla Model S 100D owner Todd Bourne on Twitter, who lamented that his electric car’s maps and routing information have become so substandard and outdated; he and his wife do not use it anymore. Musk issued a brief response to Bourne, stating that the new navigation software was almost done.
Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles have so far been using a combination of Garmin Navigon software and Google Maps for the electric cars’ navigation and routing. Garmin Navigon’s information is displayed on the Model S and Model X’s instrument cluster, while the route is overlaid on Google Maps in the vehicles’ 17-inch touchscreen. The system works even when the car does not have an internet connection.
As we noted in a previous report, the release of a revamped navigation system could pave the way for vast improvements in Autopilot. Tesla is currently targeting a coast-to-coast AP2.0 drive sometime this year, and in order to accomplish this feat, systems such as the vehicles’ AP2.0 suite and navigation system would have to be refined and calibrated by the Elon Musk-led company. With this in mind, features such as high-fidelity GPS, high-definition maps, and real-time traffic updates that are on the same level as Google Maps or Waze, would definitely help Tesla accomplish its coast-to-coast drive successfully.