Tesla started pushing the latest software update, 2022.20, to its EVs over the weekend, bringing with it automatic detection of rough road sections.
Available only on the Model S and Model X, this is a feature that customers have requested and that Elon Musk teased as coming to all vehicles since early 2020. Back then, the CEO said that Autopilot would be able to create a "micro maps" of local road specific details, such as potholes or areas with a rough pavement surface, in order for Teslas to avoid them.
That's similar to what this update appears to bring, although for now Tesla EVs are not able to avoid rough road sections but only soften the shock of hitting a pothole. Shared by @tesla_adri on Twitter, the release notes explain the function as follows.
Tesla Adaptive Suspension will now adjust ride height for an upcoming rough road section. This adjustment may occur at various locations, subject to availability, as the vehicle downloads rough road map data generated by Tesla cars. The instrument cluster will continue to indicate when the suspension is raised for comfort. To enable this feature, tap Controls > Suspension > Adaptive Suspension Damping, and select Comfort or Auto setting.
Essentially, this update enables the Tesla Model S and Model X to scan the road ahead for potholes and rough surfaces and increase the ground clearance accordingly to avoid damaging the suspension and creating discomfort for passengers.
This appears to be the first step toward giving Autopilot and Full Self-Driving Beta the ability to navigate around rough road sections. For now, Tesla is only adapting the suspension for those conditions. Needless to say, the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y cannot get this feature as they are not offered with adaptive suspension, at least for now.
In addition to the adaptive suspension update, the 2022.20 update brings the Green Traffic Light Chime feature that will play a chime when the traffic light turns green or the vehicle ahead starts advancing (unless Traffic-Aware Cruise Control or Autosteer are active). Before the 2022.20 software update, Green Traffic Light Chime was only available with Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) suite.
The final feature introduced by the update is Seat Belt System Enhancement, which uses Tesla Vision to tighten seat belts around passengers earlier "in a wider array of frontal crashes."