Tesla’s over-the-air (OTA) software updates are routinely being deployed to the company’s cars, offering regular improvements and often the addition of new features. In one recent software update in China, Tesla has made improvements to its voice commands and to its navigation, along with an overhaul of the audio app Himalaya.
Software update 2023.26 has been deploying in China, and as Not a Tesla App points out, the improvements made in the OTA update are still exclusive to the country. The automaker will often roll out updates in limited areas before offering them to a wider set of regions, and this could be what Tesla’s doing with improvements to its context-based voice commands.
Tesla explains in the release notes for the update that voice commands have been “enhanced to better understand your requests.” As a result, drivers can now simply say a location’s name and the vehicle will automatically begin navigating, or they can mention that it’s too loud or too quiet, and the audio volume will automatically be turned up or down.
Other additions have also been made to the context-focused voice enhancements, such as the ability to follow up on previous commands. For example, you can say exactly what level you want the climate control set to and follow up by saying “lower” or “higher” to make the system change the climate even further based on your initial command.
The update also included major improvements to navigation, offering the addition of factors like real-time traffic conditions when you go to the settings and turn on the “Online Routing” setting. Tesla describes its navigation improvements in the release notes as follows:
“Online Routing now reflects real-time changes in traffic and road conditions,” Tesla writes in the release notes. “So Navigation provides better routes and responds faster to changes on your route. To get the most current route conditions, Navigation > Online Routing must be turned on.”
Tesla has also refreshed the Himalaya app, a China-based audio app dedicated to courses, motivational stories and additional podcast-like content.
Not a Tesla App notes that Tesla’s voice commands often leave something to be desired, so hopefully this is an update that’s being previewed in China before being rolled out to other markets.
While the voice commands still have a ways to go before becoming as intuitive as voice assistants such as Google Assistant, Siri or Alexa, the update demonstrates the continuous improvements Tesla makes to its vehicles, meaning that someday voice features could catch up to some of these better-established voice command systems.