Elon Musk promises new features and upgrades are coming to Tesla

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Tesla has unveiled a new Roadster, the new version of its original sports car. It’s the fastest production car ever made “period,” according to CEO Elon Musk.
USA TODAY

Elon Musk asked his Twitter followers for Tesla feedback Tuesday, saying he wants to know how the auto and power company “can improve further.”

Musk often — especially compared with most chief executives — responds to questions and comments on Twitter. Whether it is to explain upcoming Tesla software changes, to take feedback on elements of design or even to combat critics, Musk is accustomed to responding to his mass following online.

His responses Tuesday ranged from matter-of-fact explanations to jokes about SpaceX launches. Musk responded to one user that the Falcon 9 launch seen by millions in the sky above Los Angeles on Friday “was definitely aliens.”

More than 13,000 replies to Musk flooded in with suggestions for changes, upgrades and new features. The CEO personally responded to a dozen of them, giving a look into what is to come from the all-electric company.

More: Elon Musk promises to make a Tesla pickup truck, said he is ‘dying to build’ one

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Electric pickup truck

One Twitter user told Musk that a Tesla pickup truck is needed. Musk responded by saying that he promises Tesla will “make a pickup truck right after Model Y.”

Musk is “dying to build it,” he tweeted.

When asked if the pickup would be comparable in size to Ford’s F-150 line of trucks, Musk said it would have a “similar total size.” He added that the Tesla truck may be slightly bigger, saying he wants it to account “for a really game-changing” feature.

The other vehicle mentioned, the Model Y, is a crossover that Musk has hinted at both on Twitter and on a Tesla conference call earlier this year. Musk said in May that the Model Y would be built “using substantial carryover from [the Model] 3 in order to bring it to market faster.”

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Tesla unveiled its new electric semitractor-trailer Thursday night near its design center in Hawthorne, California. CEO Elon Musk says the semi is capable of traveling 500 miles on an electric charge and will cost less than a diesel semi. (Nov. 17)
AP

The second version of Autopilot

Users asked for more information about the second version of Autopilot — the self-driving feature standard on all Tesla vehicles. Musk said the new software is “going through exhaustive testing” and said Tesla is working on features such as recognizing road signs.

Musk apologized for the delay while saying Tesla has “the most advanced AI neural net of any consumer product by far.”

“The results are blowing me away,” Musk said.

Upgraded navigation software

Improved navigation software was top of the wish list for another Tesla owner, who said that relying on their phone for accurate travel times “is both painful for me and embarrassing when others are in the car.” Musk responded saying that “vastly” upgraded navigation software is coming soon.

Onboard and exterior camera upgrades

Making further use of the cameras on each Tesla was another request, with one user asking for the ability to turn all eight exterior cameras into dashcams — to continuously record the different angles simultaneously. Another user wants the camera to begin recording if someone forces entry into the car, and Musk acknowledged the request.

Location alerts for the family

Angel investor Jason Calacanis suggested a “family arriving home alert,” using a vehicle’s navigation system presets to tell others when the vehicle would be returning to a designated home location — to which Musk said “sure.”

Major browser upgrades

Others asked for updates to the Model S browser, such as a night mode and the option to open mobile versions of websites. Musk said that the existing browser is “terrible” but that “major browser upgrades” are coming “to all cars in a few months.”

Added luxury features

A request for new Tesla features — music that quiets automatically when the doors all open, ambient lighting and disco mode — was met with Musk saying he would do all of them, especially since the disco mode “sounds like good, cheesy fun.”

Another person asked about further remote controls, such as turning on a Tesla’s heated features via the mobile app. Musk says those features “should be in the next update.”

Smart windshield wipers

Windshield wipers that automatically adjust to the amount of rain? Musk says that feature is “coming very soon” as part of a rain sensor in the next version of Autopilot.

Software connectivity updates

A Twitter user said his Tesla’s Bluetooth feature “steals calls from the house” when his wife walks by the garage with a Tesla key, adding that it was “also annoying all the time for audio books.” Musk briskly responded, saying “done.”

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