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OTA updates. Friend or foe? Who's car is it any way?

Battpower

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When I bought my MS I was already very conscious that OTA updates were not viewed as a universal benefit by all owners. IIRC the demise of V8 was an example. Then there were changes to battery parameters and charging characteristics that negatively impacted ownership experience. Extending vehicle life, addressing safety issue or dodging warranty claims?

Many, or even the vast majority of threads make constant comparison between one software version and another and how different car models in different States or Countries appear to respond.

FSD Beta / city streets added another layer but with a different core purpose of helping to evolve FSD into a more functional, solid product.

At first I was very much in favor of the idea that my car would be kept up to date for some time at least. I did my best to ensure that by getting a new HW3 car rather than chance Tesla honoring obligations to upgrade earlier 2.0 or 2.5 cars. Within only a few updates (claimed to increase the range or at least displayed range of MS R LR models) I discovered that features of OTA updates may not apply to my car.

Excitement over an update that would allow me to 'control' the windows from the app was short lived when I found that while I could open them, I could not close them! In addition, I started getting warning messages that the windows were left open when in fact they were not. Recalibration offers only a momentary fix until the windows are next used - unless recalibrated every time.

Since the first long journey I made, I had some dramatic phantom braking events around tunnels, over head gantries and curtain sided semi trucks. It took months before Tesla appeared to acknowledge this to be a genuine problem, and the solution, once it came, was apparently to disable radar on cars like mine. In reality the 'fix' was more of an exchange of one bad behavior for another slightly different one.

My expectation that OTA would somehow keep my car up to date was shattered when the latest models had sentry video visible in the app. I saw videos of hacked older cars' being able to support the same functionality, but it never came to my car.

As a UK owner, one area I needed OTA to deliver in was updating my purchased FSD software in line with regulatory constraints. All I have seen is addition of traffic light features that just don't work in busy streets and consecutive sets of lights. General AP has at least got no better during my ownership, and in many ways the fact that anomalous behavior / slowing in wrong places / attempting to turn off where there is no off ramp etc remain inconsistent with new quirks coming and going from one software version to another, it keeps getting worse or at least more distracting.

Changes in for sizes and moving controls around behind menus all adds to the distraction.... or at least stops me from becoming settled and comfortable with at least consistent and known behavior.

Throughout all this, I have begun to wonder how OTA changes are monitored and approved in different countries, especially if they make any significant change to original tested specifications. Changing regen behaviour, pre heating for AC and DC charging, changing charging rates etc must all impact efficiency. Changing to TV / VO must change behaviour and characteristics of safety features. The fact that so many behaviors (like auto wipers and headlights) get changed must mean at least there was room for improvement, or even that a previous iteration might have had serious flaws.

When we bought our cars, most owners would have clicked on various screens of small print about AP / FSD, but did we also agree that Tesla can add and remove features during our ownership at their will in future? Although we accept install of each update, Tesla do not give full breakdown of what's in an update, exactly why it's needed and how it may effect my car BEFORE we click to accept.

I believe it is also possible for Tesla to force update installation although that is only based on 2nd hand posts on TMC.

Tesla cars are probably the first that have had this regime of OTA updates giving the manufacturer a window to twiddle and tweek our cars at least to some extent beyond our control. Do other owners still see OTA as a massively positive feature? How much should a manufacturer be able to meddle with cars after sale and is that / should that be regulated in any way? When cars are sold with a promise that functionality will be delivered or reinstated (FSD / USS) at some future date, does the possibility of OTA update help or just allow the can to keep getting kicked down the road?

While my observations are fairly negative, I am interested if there are owners who still eagerly anticipate each update with some confidence that it will be broadly a positive thing.
 
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jjrandorin

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While my observations are fairly negative, I am interested if there are owners who still eagerly anticipate each update with some confidence that it will be broadly a positive thing.

Yes, I am one of those who still enjoys getting these updates. I think anyone who doesnt should probably get out of this ecosystem, since pretty much every brand except Tesla either doesnt offer any updates at all, or if they do, its cumbersome.

There are plenty of other choices one can make in vehicle to not have to "deal with" the car updating, and instead have it be pretty much static the way it is when you buy it no matter what they add later. You should choose one of those. Life is too short to dislike the vehicle you drive.
 

Battpower

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There is plenty of evidence that updates are not automatically 'good'. And of course, neither is it a crime to acknowledge a weakness in order to address it, as well as having a slick system to apply any fixes.

However, for me personally, the process, a lack of confidence and clarity as to what's being changed and 'why?' (evidenced to some extent by pages and pages of speculative posts on TMC and similar) is getting fatiguing. Having bought a car, I feel that beyond a few inevitable genuine fixes, I should at least have an option for a stable, predictable product.

Taking posts from owners who are happy with the way OTA updates work over all, I assume there must still be a way of looking at the process that brings satisfaction. Is it owners of newer cars that are generally more positive about OTA updates? Or those who have got FSD Beta (which is one case that I can see where OTA updates are essential and integral to FSD Beta)?

If you are happy with the general experience of OTA updates, what are examples of lasting and sure benefits? Am expecting too much or the wrong kind of benefits from OTA? Since I don't play the games, can't get FSD Beta and am happy listening to radio or USB entertainment, are the 'big wins' just going unnoticed by me?
 
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if you dont want updates you can get an id.4
1671356267644.png
 
There is plenty of evidence that updates are not automatically 'good'. And of course, neither is it a crime to acknowledge a weakness in order to address it, as well as having a slick system to apply any fixes.

However, for me personally, the process, a lack of confidence and clarity as to what's being changed and 'why?' (evidenced to some extent by pages and pages of speculative posts on TMC and similar) is getting fatiguing. Having bought a car, I feel that beyond a few inevitable genuine fixes, I should at least have an option for a stable, predictable product.

Taking posts from owners who are happy with the way OTA updates work over all, I assume there must still be a way of looking at the process that brings satisfaction. Is it owners of newer cars that are generally more positive about OTA updates? Or those who have got FSD Beta (which is one case that I can see where OTA updates are essential and integral to FSD Beta)?

If you are happy with the general experience of OTA updates, what are examples of lasting and sure benefits? Am expecting too much or the wrong kind of benefits from OTA? Since I don't play the games, can't get FSD Beta and am happy listening to radio or USB entertainment, are the 'big wins' just going unnoticed by me?
2018 M3 LR RWD here with EAP/FSD from the beginning (NOT FSDb) and an upgraded computer HW3.0. At one point several months ago I installed the v2022.20.8 update and it was my 108th such OTA update. Early on, this process has been one of excited expectations and a search through the menu system to learn what new features/changes had been delivered. Mostly, the changes were welcome and delivered added value…at least to me. As is wont to happen, over time these updates became less exciting but only because I was used to the process now, i.e., the novelty had worn off. But the changes were still interesting and I applied updates as soon as they became available to my car. Then V11 hit and delivered a huge change in the UI, almost none of which was welcome nor did it add any value to my driving experience, quite the reverse. Over time, Tesla back-tracked on several of V11’s “improvements” and those too were advantages to the OTA updating process….mistakes (in my opinion) could be easily corrected

Fast forward to earlier this year and v2022.20.9. This was the first update I received that I hesitated to install as it turned off my radar and did a host of other things I didn’t want. That included loss of the “1” following distance, reduced autopilot speed, mandatory wipers/high beams with autopilot, loss of Summon (which actually works pretty well for me unlike others) primarily while delivering things I really didn’t much care about one way or the other. So for the first time in over four years, I decided to see what happened if I just said no. It has been over four months since I installed v2022.20.8 and I don’t know how long Tesla will tolerate my update reluctance. I’ve had seven newer versions downloaded to my car but have installed none of them, including the latest one for me v2022.44.25.1 now awaiting install. These seven versions have delivered things, for sure, but I now have a car I like very much and don’t wish to degrade. For me, the newer feature do not overcome the losses I mention. And again, I like the car I have the way it is.

Others will say that the OTA is always a good thing, enjoy the new “stuff,” and if you don’t want to do so perhaps Tesla isn’t the brand for you. I agree, Tesla is no longer the brand for me. We’re keeping our Model 3 for awhile in its current v2022.20.8 state, but have moved on for our primary driver and purchased (and love) our Ioniq5. There were several reasons for us not staying with Tesla but certainly one of them has been degrading my car with OTA updates. Maybe I’ll feel better after an update actually delivers parity as is promised, but it isn’t there yet and I’m happy with the car I have.
 
If every OTA upgrade was a good one, there would be no issue. But they aren't. Witness V11. I think people, for the most part, are happier when things they know well and use every day don't suddenly, radically change without their knowledge or consent. It's like a piano player suddenly having the white and black keys reversed for no apparent reason.

Change to fix or add value, not just for the sake of change. Microsoft has never learned this tenet either. I'm currently running 2022.12.3.2 and will stay that way. I toyed briefly with the idea of installing the holiday update this year. But no. Better the devil you know. I don't want to have to dread the update each time, fearing what's been broken, or just plain removed without apparent cause.

My wifi net (and I) are much happier without the Tesla on it... ;-)
 
Similar boat here, 2018 LR RWD that I have had since new. The first few years of updates were generally very good, then they started mucking with the UI in ways I did not appreciate (Holiday Updates 2020 and 2021). I have not let the car update in two years. I am not happy or proud of that, but interface design is something I care about, and I no longer trust Tesla to deliver updates I like, or updates that are not super buggy.

I absolutely consider OTA a huge net negative at this point, at least for modern Tesla. I still plan to keep the car for quite a while longer, but may reconsider that if I do eventually get forced an update that ends up ruining my enjoyment of it. At least this Holiday Update seems to have addressed several of the remaining pain-points of V11 for most people, so it might finally be something I could tolerate but still probably never like. Do I regret buying the car? Not at all, it is still a blast. Would I buy another if I had to replace it? No.
 
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Then V11 hit and delivered a huge change in the UI, almost none of which was welcome nor did it add any value to my driving experience, quite the reverse. Over time, Tesla back-tracked on several of V11’s “improvements” and those too were advantages to the OTA updating process….mistakes (in my opinion) could be easily corrected
I remember after V11 was released a UI designer was talking about it online (I forget who though). They made a point that really hit home for me: It is totally fine to release a big change that makes you re-learn muscle memory things and change how you use your device, HOWEVER there needs to be a reward at the end of that process. The overall experience of using the device is improved or you have some expanded capability you did not have before. V11 provide absolutely no reward. After re-learning how to use the car you just had a car that was still more annoying to use then before. Unfortunately this seems to be the experience for many Tesla updates in the last few years, even non-UI ones.
 

Battpower

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Oct 10, 2019
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Do I regret buying the car? Not at all, it is still a blast.

Same here. In fact the good points are what makes me so frustrated with OTA updates. If the whole ownership deal had nothing good about it, sure, I'd just put it down to experience, pick the right time, sell and move on.

Usually I keep cars for several years. Longer if they have something worth hanging on to. I feel my MS had the potential to be a keeper, but much less so given how Tesla handle development and OTA updates.
 
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Battpower

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I've read several statements that it would be too difficult to have owners pick and choose what updates to accept. I don't see why it would be so difficult given that cars do selectively activate features based on car spec.

I also think it would make the process far better if at least critical updates were handled separately from the more cosmetic fluff stuff.
 
I've read several statements that it would be too difficult to have owners pick and choose what updates to accept. I don't see why it would be so difficult given that cars do selectively activate features based on car spec.

I also think it would make the process far better if at least critical updates were handled separately from the more cosmetic fluff stuff.
This is not a build a bear. They continually improve and make changes to the software platform and push these changes out to the cars. You as the end user get to choose to install them right away or wait for a major fix that is a required update.
 

Battpower

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continually improve

Obviously not a universally held view, although I'm sure that's an objective.

make changes to the software

Yes.

choose to install them right away or wait

but without a statement in advance confirming what the intended outcome of the update is 'for a particular car located in a particular country'.

Now you've mentioned Build A Bear, that is rather how Tesla seem to treat adding and removing features at will.

Do you really see every update as an improvement, or may be as a necessary step towards a given end goal? While I can't see the former, I could possibly accept the latter.
 

Battpower

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There is this thing called "Release notes"....
Which are car and territory specific and also displayed after you install the update, right?

Sure, I can trawl through pages of what release notes show other owners, and read predictions and guesses about undocumented features. But to the best of my knowledge Tesla do not disclose full release info to each owner prior to installation of update.

Some behaviours resulting from updates only become clearer in depth some time after owners have driven their updated cars in a range of situations.
 
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