Updates have become a regular fixture with phones, tablets and computers, but they're yet to fully take hold in the car world. Tesla, on the other hand, has made a big deal of offering free software updates over the air. Along with a big update to Autopilot, its latest software iteration overhauls the layout of the central touchscreen and adds a clever Cabin Overheat Protection system designed to keep pets and children left in cars cool.

Software update 8.0 brings with it a new look for the central touchscreen, the most major update to its design since the Model S launched. The media player has been totally redesigned to include a smarter search function, which can now access streaming radio, podcasts and live broadcasts more quickly.

Navigation destination searches now take just one touch, and the zoom function automatically adjusts to fit more relevant information. It will also automatically set course for home or work if the driver swipes down on the navigation button.

A lot of attention has focused on safety when the car is moving, but the new Cabin Overheat Protection system is designed for when the car is parked to keep kids or pets left inside at a safe temperature. When activated, the system uses the car's battery pack to run the air conditioning and keep the cabin temperature below 105° F (41° C). According to Elon Musk, a fully charged car is able to keep its cabin at a safe temperature for a year.

Finally, voice control has been made smarter and easier to use. Rather than relying on the central touchscreen to communicate with the driver, feedback pops up in the driver's instrument binnacle to cut down on time spent with eyes off the road.

Software update 8.0 has started rolling out, but not everyone will be able to download it immediately. Check out a few screenshots of the new maps and media player in our gallery.

Source: Tesla

View gallery - 6 images