Elon Musk Promotes New 'Tap to Park' Tesla Feature, Shoots Down 360º View

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla appears closer to releasing an improved Auto Park feature
Tesla appears closer to releasing an improved Auto Park feature

If you’ve been out Christmas shopping, Tesla’s long-awaited Park Seek may have been on your mind. For more than a year, the company has been talking about this technology that would take over the job of not only parking, but finding a parking spot. Elon Musk has brought the long-anticipated feature back into the spotlight.

What is "Tap to Park"?

Now referred to as Tap to Park, Park Seek, also once known as Reverse Summon, is an innovative feature that Tesla officials discussed at AI Day in October of 2022. At that point, Tesla said this feature should be ready by the end of the year.

That didn’t happen, and now it sounds like there have been some changes to the original idea, given Musk’s post on X.

We are working on a feature where the car identifies probable viable parking spaces. You tap on one, exit the vehicle and it parks there.

The Evolution from Autopark to "Tap to Park"

Tesla's current Autopark feature, currently only available in vehicles equipped with Ultrasonic Sensors (USS), has been a stepping stone toward autonomous parking. However, its limitations include the lack of multiple parking spot selections and drivers' need to stay in the car. Tesla users noted these constraints, indicating a need for an upgrade. The current implementation of Autopark is also slow to park and requires driving extremely slowly to get the park symbol to show up on the vehicle’s display.

Earlier this year, Tesla introduced vision-based Park Assist, a system that utilizes camera-based tech to estimate distances between the car and nearby objects while parking. This development marked a transition away from USS and laid the groundwork for more advanced features like "Tap to Park."

Is “Tap to Park” a Replacement for Park Seek?

Park Seek has been previously touted by Musk as a revolutionary feature that will let you stop the vehicle in front of a store, get out, and let the vehicle go hunt for a parking spot itself. There were even leaks that mentioned owners’ would have three parking spot options when using Park Seek. However, this new ‘Tap to Park,’ appears to be a slightly watered-down version of the original vision, that removes the ability for the vehicle to travel autonomously around the parking lot looking for a spot.

The recent deployment of FSD version 12 to Tesla employees is a significant milestone. This version improves by reducing reliance on human-written code and increasing the system's dependence on neural networks trained with real-world driving footage. Such advancements are crucial for successfully implementing "Tap to Park."

It’s possible that “Tap to Park,” is a transitioning step toward the original Park Seek vision. Park Seek has the ability to significantly change urban environments and high-density areas where parking is often challenging.

Although ‘Tap to Park’ is not expected to be a part of Tesla’s 2023 Holiday Update, a new High Fidelity Park Assist is expected to arrive as part of the holiday special this week.

It is interesting to note the timing of this Musk hint on X. Tesla enthusiast Sawyer Merritt posted about the need for 360º views. Still, Whole Mars Catalogue called the feature “irrelevant” in a world with cars that drive themselves. This comes from a Holiday Update that didn’t meet expectations. Perhaps there is another update under the tree? Or, it may be another year away. Insert your two-week joke here.

Tesla Update 2024.20 Lets Matrix Headlights Adapt to Curves, Adds Supercharger Leaderboards and More

By Karan Singh

Tesla has been on a roll with updates recently, and now update 2024.20 was released to employees over the weekend. This update builds on the many features in the Spring Update and adds a few big improvements.

Adaptive Headlights

New updates to Adaptive Headlights are arriving for European cars with matrix headlights. The new update allows the headlights to adapt to curves in the road ahead of you, enabling better illumination. Having the adaptive headlights work for curves is the second major update for matrix headlights. Update 2024.8 added adaptive high-beam support, letting your high beams stay on longer by turning off select LEDs in the headlights.

Update 2024.2 first brought adaptive high beams to the new Model 3, before it was later introduced to older vehicles with matrix headlights. At this time, it’s not clear whether the improvements to headlights around curves will be exclusive to matrix headlights or also support the new Model 3.

How to Tell If You Have Matrix Headlights

How do you know if you have matrix headlights on your Tesla? On the outer edge of the headlight, there will be a large, round projector dome, like in the image below. If there isn’t a dome, those are standard non-matrix headlights.
Another way to tell is to run a stock light show while facing a wall. If the Tesla logo, in letters, pops up, you have matrix headlights.

Matrix headlights have a circular dome projector on the outer edge.
Matrix headlights have a circular dome projector on the outer edge.

For now, North America still does not have adaptive headlight support, mostly due to legislative and testing issues in the United States. The US recently approved adaptive headlights, and a Tesla employee mentioned they’re working on it. Canada has legalized adaptive headlights since 2018, so we see this deployed in North America at some point in the future.

Supercharger Races on Beach Buggy Racing 2

Tesla is still improving its Arcade functionality, with the addition of local leaderboards at Superchargers in Beach Buggy Racing 2. It appears that each individual Supercharger site will have its own leaderboard, which drivers can compete on while their cars charge. Tesla says there will also be special races to compete in this Beach Buggy Racing 2 update.

Tesla owners can plug in and play with a controller, the touchscreen, or their vehicle’s steering wheel. Thanks to steer-by-wire on the Cybertruck, the actual wheels on the truck won’t move like they do on other Tesla models when playing the game.

We continue to hope that future refreshes to the S, 3, X, and Y will eventually receive steer-by-wire as well, as the feature has quite a few unique uses, whether driving or parked.

Autopilot Strikes and Suspension

An updated Autopilot Strike system, similar to the one that is on Tesla’s upcoming FSD V12.4 update, is on 2024.20 as well. At five strikes, users will be suspended from the use of Autopilot like before, but now Tesla will remove a strike for each 7-day period the driver goes without receiving a strike.

FSD 12.4 also improves vision-based monitoring and removes the steering wheel nag, but that’s not in this latest Tesla update, but will likely be added in the future.

Tesla tends to release new Autopilot features in their FSD updates before releasing them to the wider public for regular Autopilot use.

Hot Weather Improvements

The last set of user-end improvements coming in 2024.20 will be related to hot weather, the opposite of 2024.2.6’s cold weather update. This set of changes intends to improve AUTO mode HVAC performance in hot weather, helping to cool down the cabin faster, while also maintaining comfort at lower noise levels.

There have been several updates in the last six months to Tesla’s HVAC systems, all helping to deliver a quieter, more comfortable experience, with one of the last major ones introducing cool-down or warm-up periods before blowing air into the car cabin.

Tesla Software in China Shows 'Employee FSD Beta Program' as Tesla Prepares for Launch

By Karan Singh

Chris Zeng, a Chinese Tesla content creator on X, recently posted an image with Tesla’s Spring Update – 2024.14, with the words “Employee FSD Beta Program: Registered.”

He also confirmed that although this text appears in the vehicle, there are no actual FSD features enabled yet.

FSD Beta Coming to China

Recently, Tesla began to offer Enhanced Autopilot subscriptions in China, and Chinese corporate giant Baidu announced that it will be providing enhanced 3D mapping for Tesla vehicles as well.

On a recent trip to China, Elon Musk spoke with Premier Li Qiang on the rollout of FSD to China. Later follow-ups said that “it may be possible [for FSD to arrive in China] very soon”.

FSD Shadow Mode

Tesla’s cars can operate FSD in Shadow Mode – which means that the vehicle is running FSD in the background without any real output except analytics. This is a common software practice that lets software engineers compare the process they’re testing against an existing known output and compare the results. In this case, Tesla compares what FSD would do to what the driver does, and any discrepancies are reported back to be analyzed.

With this information, we could guess that FSD has been operating in Shadow Mode in China for a while, and this new Employee FSD Beta Program will be the beginning of employee testing in China, providing even more data for the end-to-end process that is FSD V12.

FSD Beta, not Supervised FSD

Most interestingly, the photo refers to “FSD Beta” instead of “Supervised,” which Tesla started using with FSD 12.3.3 in March 2024. This could imply that FSD in China isn’t ready for a “Supervised” variant, and it’s considered to be in more of a testing stage.

In the photo, we can also see that it says “Wave 1,” which is what Tesla calls the group of employees who receive “pre-release” Tesla updates on their personal vehicles. Wave 1 serves as a final test for software before its released to the public. In most cases, the software is rolled out publicly within a couple of weeks, however, there have been times when bugs are found and Tesla releases revision before a public release.

Release Date

Prior to larger releases here in North America, we generally see Tesla ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) testing and verification vehicles on the roads, which have not yet been spotted in China.

Whether these vehicles will be needed in China is up for debate, but once FSD features begin rolling out to employees, we should get a better idea of a public release in China.

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Take a look at features that Elon Musk has said will be coming soon.


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