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My feedback to Tesla

Discussion in 'Model X: User Interface' started by kennybroh, Aug 5, 2016.

  1. kennybroh

    kennybroh Member

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    So while sitting in the service center for some minor issues, I happened to get an email from Tesla asking about my experience after my first month of ownership. i am sure all of the following has been discussed ad nauseum, and Tesla will either deal with them or not, but it doesn't hurt to say it again. Here is what I wrote. I'd be interested in what else people think are high priority items.

    "Let me start by saying I love the car, and am completely committed to Tesla. Nevertheless, in certain highly visible ways, the Model X actually lags way behind other, far less expensive and less advanced cars, and needs immediate improvement. The following are some of my thoughts:

    I. Cell phone integration: this is probably the number one deficiency and source of discontent. For the iPhone, which I have, this most noticeable omission could easily be accomplished by offering two relatively simple options, providing different, but much needed functionality, for which users could pay like XM radio or any other optional service: (a) Apple CarPlay, and (b) an app which simply displays the phone's screen on the Tesla display.

    The latter is actually much more useful than some people think, and could be outsourced to one of a number of third-party developers who have already developed much of this technology. The most obvious benefit is users could see useful apps, which are unlikely to ever run natively in the Tesla operating system--Waze is a perfect example. But there are other substantial benefits as well.

    It is unrealistic to think drivers don't look at their phones to varying degrees--an obviously dangerous practice exacerbated by the absence of any useful integration with the car. Having an enlarged view of the screen at eye level would substantially reduce or eliminate that source of distraction. Moreover, through voice commands, whether the car's (which are way to limited, by the way,) or "Hey Siri," and familiarity with the relative location of items to touch on the phone's screen, access to many of the phone's functions would be no more difficult--and often much easier--than most of the other things drivers do using the Tesla touch screen and other controls.

    II. Other Apps: The second priority for me is a group of relatively minor, but extremely annoying, omissions from existing apps which need to be addressed because they make essential functions excessively cumbersome.

    A. Contacts: finding a contact in the phone app is ridiculously difficult. I have probably 1500 contacts, and must scroll through the entire list if the person is not in the recent call list. The lack of "favorites" and a search capability is simply inexcusable. Merely selecting a letter in the alphabet doesn't cut it.

    B. The Browser: The browser is in serious need of enhancement, but many deficiencies could be addressed without major surgery.

    1. The apparent lack of "cookies" or saved passwords must be fixed. Now, information must be re-enter every time a website is accessed after the car restarts. No other browser works like this, and like the phone, the browser is used while driving. Forcing the driver to constantly re-enter data is not only bad design, it is a dangerous and easily rectified source of potential distraction . Security concerns could be addressed by a setting enabling/disabling this function, and automatically disabling it in valet mode.

    2. The absence of a tabbed interface substantially reduces the functionality of the browser and makes it look quite dated. Having to reload pages in a single window, even if the address is stored as a favorite, is very primitive, and another unnecessary source of distraction.

    C. Navigation: the in-dash display should include additional information, and/or allow the driver to cycle through various data elements, e.g., projected arrival time, remaining miles, minutes to destination, miles to next turn, etc.

    D. The music app re-reads my USB flash drive every time I lock and unlock the car, and does not simply resume where it left off. Needless to say that is quite irritating. I have a 128gb flash drive, and it takes quite a bit of time to re-read the contents, and I then must find and re-select the song I was playing when i got out of the car. Not good. Also, the music player seems to "hiccup" playing high bitrate FLACC files, and they actually sound worse than normal MP3 files. I have the upgraded sound system, which I bought partially because it was supposed to provide superior sound for high res audio files. The reverse seems to be true.

    III. Key Fob functions:

    A. The passenger door cannot be opened from the fob or the app. That is very inconvenient, especially since people getting in the car for the first time are often confused about how to open the door. Two taps on the fob opens the driver door--how about 3 clicks opening the passenger door?

    B. When i double-click the top of the key, the drivers door opens, and that is fine. But I cannot simply unlock the car with the key fob without opening any door. I can do it from the app, but not from the key. For example, if I want to disconnect the charger I must unlock the car, but I may not want to open the door. A single press locks the car; how about a long press to unlock it?

    There are other issues, but this represents what to me are the most pressing. Essentially, the Model X is a computer on wheels, and therefore the user interface is a critical component of the driving experience. Unfortunately, these glaring, serious defects in the driver's interactions with the car, conflict disproportionately with its otherwise technologically advanced nature, and seem primitive compared to virtually every other new car of any price. None of these should be difficult or expensive to address, and this blemish on what is otherwise a truly spectacular automobile should be eliminated without delay. "
     
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  2. gavine

    gavine Petrol Head turned EV Enthusiast

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    You can open the charge port door by pressing-and-holding the trunk button on the FOB for a couple of seconds.
     
  3. bhzmark

    bhzmark Active Member

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    your criticisms didn't really fit this description.

    If those are the biggest problems now, that is looking good.
     
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  4. kennybroh

    kennybroh Member

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    What i was referring to was disconnecting the chsrge cable which can't be done when locked. Would holding the trunk button let me do that? But there are times i just want to unlock the car--not open a door.
     
  5. kennybroh

    kennybroh Member

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    i made it clear i love the car, but to me these are really embarrasing deficiencies in a $115,000 car purporting to be the state of the art technologically.
     
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  6. davidc18

    davidc18 Member

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    All excellent points that have been present since the S was rolled out. Not holding my breath that any of the known issues will ever be addressed.
     
  7. BrokerDon

    BrokerDon Member

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    Don't forget that our Teslas don't support the significantly faster / newer 802.11ac WiFi either...
     
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  8. TacC

    TacC Member

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    Screen mirroring would be a game changer. Unfortunately, I don't think legislation in the U.S. allows it.
     
  9. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    In principle, screen mirroring is a great idea, and I'd love to have it. In practice, it's nowhere near as simple as you make it sound - and the important parts of it need to be resident in the phone OS rather than the car.

    The major challenge is bandwidth. Mirroring the phone screen at a usable update rate means sending a whole lot of data to the car quickly. Far more than any Bluetooth connection can handle - but both the phone and the S/X have WiFi, so an app could connect the two that way.
    It's still a lot of data, though - so you really need optimization techniques to reduce the bandwidth needed - possibly something akin to keyframe video encoding, send a single screen image every few seconds and then update everything that changes between frames.

    The thing is - all that processing has to happen on the phone side - and currently the phones aren't even programmed to send their screens to external sources AFAIK. You need an OS level function or an App with global permissions and developed with extensive processing/optimizing to make it happen - so you probably need either Google or Apple (hopefully both) to partner with the carmaker to codevelop a screen sharing app.

    I am rather surprised that Tesla hasn't implemented CarPlay yet, and I expect it'll show up in a firmware update soon unless there's a hardware requirement for it that I'm not aware of.
     
  10. KZKZ

    KZKZ Member

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    Tesla seems to dislike Apple, so I doubt if CarPlay will show up on a Tesla anytime soon.
     
  11. vandacca

    vandacca Active Member

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    I thought Apple CarPlay did exactly that: mirror iPhone screen onto the car's display.
     
  12. gfb107

    gfb107 Member

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    Doesn't CarPlay essentially give the screen over to the phone, so very similar to mirroring?
     
  13. mspohr

    mspohr Active Member

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    CarPlay is an app which emulates the iPhone screen and functions. Not quite the same a mirroring the screen.
     
  14. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    Hasn't the iPhone Tesla App consistently been better implemented and more feature rich than the Android version? I know at one point the iPhone version sent notifications and Android didn't...
     
  15. xkwizit

    xkwizit Member

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    @kennybroh - all of the items you mention ..to me those are frills. The browser, unlocking the charger port, opening the passenger door, music app, phone app, etc are not essential to driving. What's essential to driving is battery capacity, ability to charge faster and driver assist features. If TM were to seek my feedback on priority, the following will be my order of priority:
    1. Autopilot
    2. Battery capacity
    3. Ability to charge the car faster

    Once they get these three done, they can put resources to enhance the frills.
     
  16. TaoJones

    TaoJones Beyond Driven

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    Typically, initial feedback is similar in nature to the OP.

    After a few long trips, more granular and/or pointed revelations about Nav/Trip Planner, charging, range, and app interfaces (the Tesla app juxtaposed with Remote S, for example) will rise to the fore.

    Evidently, Tesla has actively listened, as we have been led to believe that some Nav/Trip Planner UI/UX improvements will be made as part of v8.x. Mostly UX if I remember right.
     
  17. kennybroh

    kennybroh Member

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    Obviously things like autopilot, battery capacity and charging time (that hasn't been an issue for me) are fundamental things that I assume will evolve as Tesla continues to lead the market. But those are major upgrades, requiring different hardware. That's why I leased my X.

    What I'm talking about are things that relate to the interface in the current car. I think I should have been clearer about my priorities. Things like the key stuff and door opening is secondary. Nice but not critical.

    The phone integration is different, however. While traveling, the phone is an essential tool and Tesla's phone integration is worse than any car I've driven in the last couple of years. It is not only annoying, it is potentially dangerous. One can say don't look at the phone but that's not realistic.

    Not being able to even search for a contact or have a favorites list is primitive. Not having access to CarPlay seems to be an ego thing which is truly unfair to people paying a lot of money for a state of the art car. And I don't know why an equivalent app for Android isnt available.

    Web functionality is similar. If one is going to offer that feature why do it poorly?

    Bottom line is the features offered with the car should be of uniformly high quality, especially when that would not be hard to do and is done by virtually every other car manufacturer.
     
  18. xkwizit

    xkwizit Member

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    Have you tried voice control for bringing up your contacts? Even though I have heavy accent and Siri doesn't like my voice, Tesla's voice synthesizer is able to easily pull up contacts and destinations. That's way more convenient and safer than having to look away to the screen for finding a contact.
     
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  19. bhzmark

    bhzmark Active Member

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    It does search contacts. Hold button and say "call Chris smith" and it searches. Couldn't be easier.
     
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  20. Aljohn

    Aljohn Member

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    Same for internet and navigation. Voice commands work well. This is the best interface I have seen in vehicle. For the most part, it even interprets mispronunciations.
     

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