Lots of folks use Google Maps, Waze and similar navigation apps because they're able to take traffic into account. Soon, Tesla owners will be able to keep their phones stashed during their commutes, because a similar system will be added to the built-in navigation software.
The latest Tesla firmware update (8.1, 2018.14) will add traffic-based navigation, Teslarati reports. It follows the same methods as the aforementioned navigation apps -- it can monitor traffic and factor that in when creating a route. It can also reroute the driver in real time if traffic changes.
The release notes for the update, posted on the Tesla Model 3 Owners Club's Twitter account, point out that traffic data is accumulated using Tesla vehicles currently on the road, just like how Google Maps acquires some of its traffic data. Of course, this requires taking data from owners' vehicles, but the release notes address any privacy-related concerns.
"In order for these features to work, Tesla measures the road segment data of all participating vehicles but in a way that does not identify your or your car, and may share that with partners that contribute similar data to help us provide the service," the release notes state. "At no point is any personally identifiable information collected or shared during this process." The notes also point out that owners can turn this feature off at any time if they don't want to participate.
Elon Musk mentioned this update back in March, in response to a Model S owner who pointed out that traffic nearly made him miss evening plans, had it not been for his wife using Google Maps on her phone. Owners on Reddit have lodged similar complaints.
While the user base for both Waze and Google Maps is significantly higher than the number of Tesla owners on the road, the automaker's new routing system is a big step forward for avoiding traffic jams. Not only are they a waste of time, they're a waste of charge. The update should be making its way to owners via over-the-air updates in the near future.