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Tesla Priorities: Refine Autopilot or Fix Everything Else?

Discussion in 'Model S: User Interface' started by brooklynrab, Jan 17, 2016.

  1. brooklynrab

    brooklynrab Member

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    Recently, in this thread, Firmware 7.1 - For Classic Model S, a number of us emotionally debated what Tesla should be spending its time on for 7.2, now that 7.1 is out. In that thread, a number of us Classic MS drivers expressed disappointment at Tesla's seeming abandonment of refinements of half completed essential and nice-to-have features, like voice commands, the all-essential NAV, UI, Favorite voice call list, the internet radio interface, and abortions like auto-condition (or whatever its called). Some of you argued that auto-pilot is the future of the company, and Tesla should be spending al of its resources on perfecting that.

    I argue that if the purpose of Tesla enhancements is to sell more cars, rather than to pump the stock price or create a revolution (debatable, I know), that Tesla should be focussing on optimizing the overall user experience with the car, and just hang in the hunt on auto pilot, since the best car companies are all doing it anyway, and this will not be a differentiator of Tesla from other cars a year from now (look at the auto shows and CES this year if you don't believe me). I believe that Tesla can make more hay and differentiate by optimizing its user experience, making it elegant and usable, turning the combination of the gorgeous 17 inch screen, voice command (which is where the entire world is going) and the steering wheel controls into the "Apple of cars", than by throwing all apparent programming resources at auto pilot, which an occasional sop to the rest of us like the garage self opener (which is great -- if I would upgrade from 6.2 -- which I won't because the UI on 7.0-7.1 sucks).

    The electric drive train is a differentiator, sure, but I think Tesla needs more than that to sell a lot of cars, especially for as long as oil prices stay low, as we approach the mass market 3's.

    What do you think Tesla should be doing with its programming dollars?
     
  2. cytranic

    cytranic Member

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    As of 7.1 Autopilot is basically useless for me in South Florida. The restrictions put in place make it useless on the roads since nobody drives the speed limit. Summon is pretty much a toy to show and impress your friends...

    With that said, I would really like to see programming dollars spent on fixing the web browser, developing the SDK for apps, and improving the aging interface.
     
  3. msnow

    msnow Active Member

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    IMHO the priorities should be:
    1. Complete and fix the most essential things such as navigation, beta range assurance/trip planner.
    2. Finish and refine the beta AP features.

    Also, I think selling more cars DOES pump the stock price. To me the new 7.1 UI is a major improvement over the old 6.2 firmware but I can understand how the non-AP car owners would not agree.
     
  4. chriSharek

    chriSharek Member

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    Just want to add that just the fact that you can post this about this car is amazing. NO other automobile manufacturer is doing OTA updates. Wicked cool. Can't wait for MS . . . 94 days.
     
  5. kort677

    kort677 Active Member

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    the restrictions are only on undivided roadways, which BTW according to the notes, you shouldn't be using AP.
     
  6. msnow

    msnow Active Member

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    Yeah your right, it is pretty cool. My guess is the OP's purpose is to influence priorities.
     
  7. cytranic

    cytranic Member

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    That is 100% not true. The restrictions are GPS based, it has NOTHING to do with a center divider. I've driven on 6 lane streets with a median so clear you'd have to be blind not to see it... Autopilot is restricted..

    In addition, if you lived in South Florida, you would know that we have highways that are schools zones during the morning. However driving on them during the day still allows the car to see the 15MPH sign, making autopilot slow the car to 20MPH.

    I understand Autopilot shouldnt be used on non-highway roads. However, Tesla does not seem to be basing those restrictions on what the camera sees. Its all GPS and the roads they choose to be "non-highway".
     
  8. msnow

    msnow Active Member

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    Getting off topic.
     
  9. LetsGoFast

    LetsGoFast Active Member

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    Or on the many divided highways where the restrictions are in place either accidentally or because the real rule is more complex than simply "divided highway."
     
  10. slevit1md

    slevit1md Member

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    Tesla has a lot of work to do on previously released features. They need to focus on that for a while and stop introducing half baked new features to get media attention.
     
  11. David_Cary

    David_Cary Member

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    Autopilot is everything. Very few people don't buy a car because the supercharger routing is messed up. Name one navigation on another OEM that routes to superchargers better.

    Just the promise of improvements OTA is not matched. So any weakness to a new buyer is temporary anyway.

    The new differentiator of 2016 and beyond is autopilot. Tesla's is the best and because of OTA, they have essentially taken over first mover advantage.

    Of course the restrictions suck. I hate the new nag. Speed limits aren't an issue for me - if I want to go over 5 over, I'm not using autopilot except on interstates and then it works. Summon is a party trick and not much else. But I do love the garage auto opening....
     
  12. BertL

    BertL Active Member

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    #12 BertL, Jan 17, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2016
    As I've said many times, and cast my recent votes for... I'd much prefer many of the non-Autopilot Beta and non-sexy basics be brought up-to-date before significant resources are expended on more of this futures stuff.

    I appreciate Autopilot and Performance improvements get Press; it's the latest thing that turns really smart and impatient people on; and it's what a number of outspoken individuals live to banter about on forums like this. IMHO, finishing what was started, and bringing basic functions that may have been OK, or even best-of-breed when MS was first introduced years ago, up-to-date to match (or even better, surpass) what the competition has would serve many more existing and future Tesla Owners with functionality many more owners can use every day.

    As volumes ramp up, there won't be as many perhaps forgiving early adopters. Many of these things are what new owners expect luxury brands to just have, not things they may be disappointed with after they begin to live with their new purchase and understand what's really missing. Given Tesla could send updates OTA, it makes it worse when the basics are not just there to begin with. Let's also not forget, most of what I call basics like Nav Waypoints, alternate routes, Media Player & USB deficiencies, UI tweaks, etc require only programmers behind a desk to design, test, and document with no physical engineering required. These are capabilities or changes even base model MS can utilize, where I'm sure the code could be easily reused for MX and likely M3 -- but only if Tesla prioritizes some resources to continually plunk away at these things, seeking ways to improve and deliver on what Tesla already provides. I get that Autopilot is the future, but so many of "the basics" cannot be ignored as they truly are being today.
     
  13. BozieBeMe2

    BozieBeMe2 Member

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    As a 2015 85D owner, I too appreciate the fact that Tesla has brought to the market an automobile that is second to none!
    Many have already extolled it's features and the shear joy of driving this car. But, many features that were major selling items at the time, seem to have been,( for the lack of better explanations ), dropped.
    As per OP 'brooklynrab's post, I too would like the car's previous selling points to be 'fleshed out', improved or competed.
    The voice commands should be as good or better than what you can find on any smart phone. In doing so, the NAV and sub systems, should improve greatly.
    Allot of the owners seem to want more hardware updates and or, the equipment updated just like the latest models. Me, I'd settle for more optimizing and polishing of the user experience that we ALREADY have.
    This car uses around 67 CPUs and has features that are already baked in, and are not even implemented yet! I understand the new toys sells this car and that is what drives the financial model, but how about finishing / completing, what you have already started?
     
  14. Kim.T

    Kim.T Member

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    Spend time on Nav : update the aging maps from Navigon (Navigon on my iPhone gets updated 4 times a year !) and make it possible to choose between alternative routes, and let me add way-point.
    The problem with aging maps in Navigon is that TACC/AP is depending on them. I have 11km of new highway that was opened 12 month ago. When I use TACC on this way the car is constantly slowing down because it recalculates the route - it thinks im driving on small sideroads and must make a turn. I'm surprised that the car IS solving down at all, because when I make a normal trip planner - driving on small roads where I have to make a turn - why doesn't the car slow down in this case - here it knows that I have to make a turn???
     
  15. RDoc

    RDoc S85D

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    Perhaps they should make most of the UI open to third party programmers while they get their own house in order.

    From what I see from the outside, Tesla's software development is seriously unimpressive. Since Tesla cars are so software dependent, the company really needs to be able to effectively do software development, something they seem pretty inexpert at currently.

    My guess is that the lower level (or maybe all) AP functionality may be off limits for proprietary reasons, but a lot of the other annoying and incomplete parts of the UI should be open to outside development. The result would likely be great improvements in many areas quickly and simultaneously.
     
  16. msnow

    msnow Active Member

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    Makes sense and I wonder why that isn't being done. You would think they could source something like NAV to companies like Waze/Google or even Navigon and say build me a world class system and support it. Same with other UI components where there is a resource issue.
     
  17. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    As a non-owner ...

    Emphasis should be on AutoPilot and Trip Planner (which includes anything related to Supercharger status information).
     
  18. msnow

    msnow Active Member

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    If you were an owner you would likely know why we keep saying "NAV". Also there's a dependency on it for trip planner.
     
  19. aronth5

    aronth5 Long Time Follower

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    Why is this bring presented as one or the other? It should be a combination of both and I would be surprised if Tesla did otherwise.
     
  20. BertL

    BertL Active Member

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    I agree with you. As I suggested earlier, I would be OK with a slow but sure approach to knocking some of this off with perhaps an internal team who owns the non-Autopilot/Performance capabilities -- while a majority perhaps continues work on the jazzy new stuff that is needed to attract the Press and some new buyers at the same time. There is little (note I didn't say "nothing") to demonstrate Tesla Mgmt is focused that way.

    As a software guy many years ago, I was hired out of college into the "maintenance team" who's job it was to fix code that was broken and do minor enhancements as the need arose... (I was the guy that got the call at 2AM when e.g. Payroll blew up, or there was some new terms in a negotiated union contract to integrate with Time & Attendance). The more senior "development" teams built new capabilities and new releases that once accepted by the user community, was turned back over to "maintenance". Both had to work in a coordinated manner, but it allowed future investments to move forward, at the same time what was running the business kept working 7x24x365 with any minor fixes and a few improvements were slipped in along the way. It does not appear Tesla operates like this, and I know a lot is different in the 35+ years since my programming days, but don't you agree the old concept sounds like something that is a lot more customer-centric than perhaps is being delivered today? ;)

    I'm a relatively new MS Owner, but i must say I find it a little disillusioning to find some of the problems and usability issues I've encountered are the same as have existed from Day 1, with now 100K MS on the road -- especially when resolution will be via software only and can be distributed OTA. I do love my MS. I also appreciate where Elon is likely headed into the future, but he and Tesla must have more attention to these littler details as Tesla grows and matures. The unresolved problems and little nits add up with some of us, and at least for me, my love for my MS becomes ever-so-slightly less as time goes on and nothing seems to be done to resolve issues I have every time I drive my MS. I'm sure if Tesla does not gain focus on doing more "maintenance" as well as future "development" at the same time , it will catch up with them in the longer run. "The masses" will expect more, yet pay less, than some (or is it "many") earlier enthusiasts have and will.
     

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