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Image credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images

Tesla touchscreens to offer minimalist 'fade mode'

Elon Musk says it will only show "essential info."
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Bloomberg via Getty Images

Screens can be distracting and, therefore, dangerous if you're driving an expensive car down the freeway. If you own a Tesla, though, fear not: the company is adding a software feature that will make its giant touchscreens less intrusive. Tesla CEO Elon Musk, replying to a tweet by EV owner Andrew Gold, confirmed that a "fade mode" will soon be added that hides all but "essential info." It sounds like a neat option, and heck -- if the display isn't working so hard, maybe it will save some battery life too?

Fade Mode will form part of version 9, a highly anticipated firmware update for Tesla's electric fleet. The update will change the UI in the Model S and crossover Model X to be closer to the Model 3. It should also include some "significant advancements in autonomy," Musk hinted on a conference call in August. The company's autopilot software could be patched with a long-anticipated "on-ramp to off-ramp solution" that will move into faster lanes on the freeway, identify your exit, move into the correct lane for the exit and then hand back control at a suitable time.

Earlier this week, Tesla tinkerer Jason Hughes leaked an early version of the firmware on Twitter. It showed off some of the UI changes, and a new waypoints feature, but little else. In a tweet on September 5th, Musk said he was running version 9 in his car but felt it wasn't quite ready for public release. Tesla owners on the early access program should have the update in the next two weeks, ahead of a full rollout by the end of the month.

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