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Tesla's a Software Company

graiz

New Member
Sep 30, 2018
3
2
Boston, MA
I made a video on what it's been like owning a Model S. The key realization I had was that Tesla, more than any other company selling cars, is actually a software company that happens to sells computers on wheels while most others are hardware companies selling mechanics. Wondering if others agree?
 
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RDoc

S85D
Aug 24, 2012
2,755
1,706
Boston North Shore
Speaking as a software engineer and consultant, if Tesla is a software company, they've got a short future ahead. From what I can see from the outside, their software organization is a complete mess.

I suspect Elon isn't really interested in software so it has the low priority evident in its products.

They're a car company with a mediocre software department IMHO. Of course the other car companies' software departments are likely worse.
 

ucmndd

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2016
7,010
13,798
California
As much as I hate to reward random drive-by YouTube clickbait posts from members with all of two posts:

Run like a technology company =\= A Software Company

Nearly all of Tesla’s market lead and competitive advantage is in hardware and manufacturing. Nobody can touch their current battery supply chain and overall propulsion efficiency, charging infrastructure, etc.

The software is actually bordering on a distraction at this point. They’re “innovative” and “disruptive” and all those other valley terms in the sense that they’ve adopted the OTA update model that allows them to push crap on live beta testers and fix it in the next release... but they’re not particularly good or disciplined at it yet.
 

SilverGS

Active Member
Nov 3, 2016
1,656
972
Ontario
My son is a software engineer and after having driven my car and then the Jaguar I-PACE, his opinion as a user of the software interface in both cars (NOT as an owner of either cars) is that the Tesla user interface is one of the best he has seen (regardless of the fact that it's in a car or not). The Jaguar's interface on the other hand was total garbage compared to the Model S.
 

Chaserr

Hyperactive Hyperdrive
Sep 5, 2017
2,666
6,523
Logan
Well, I could say the same about Microsoft, but somehow they're still around.
I think it's safe to say software companies address software problems within a few years of becoming aware but car companies might not prioritize them that quickly or ever. Tesla falls into the car companies priorities.
 

Ande

Member
Jul 28, 2017
743
623
Norway
somewhere in the summer of 2019 they cocked up battery preheating that was working fine till then.
Now we are still suffering the winter with no fix , OVER HALF A YEAR AGO.

If Tesla is a software company, it must be like Microsoft, or some other ignorant, bloated, chaos that does not care for it's customers.
 
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MarcusMaximus

Active Member
Jan 2, 2017
3,789
16,747
Los Gatos
My son is a software engineer and after having driven my car and then the Jaguar I-PACE, his opinion as a user of the software interface in both cars (NOT as an owner of either cars) is that the Tesla user interface is one of the best he has seen (regardless of the fact that it's in a car or not). The Jaguar's interface on the other hand was total garbage compared to the Model S.

Ya, it’s a weird spot they’re in. Their software isn’t actually particularly good compared to the other big tech giants. But the rest of the industry is so completely, disastrously inept that they look like geniuses by comparison. Tesla is the minor league baseball player who barely made that, but is playing against in the local T-ball league.
 

whitex

Well-Known Member
Sep 30, 2015
6,733
8,566
Seattle area, WA
Well, I could say the same about Microsoft, but somehow they're still around.
Microsoft software quality, even though it's been going down with the "move everything to the cloud" trend, is still leagues above software software quality. I think Elon's quote from his Starship reveal says it all "best process is no process".
 
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whitex

Well-Known Member
Sep 30, 2015
6,733
8,566
Seattle area, WA
My son is a software engineer and after having driven my car and then the Jaguar I-PACE, his opinion as a user of the software interface in both cars (NOT as an owner of either cars) is that the Tesla user interface is one of the best he has seen (regardless of the fact that it's in a car or not). The Jaguar's interface on the other hand was total garbage compared to the Model S.
Do you have another son who is a professional driver maybe? Tesla software is like middle of a road tablet, but cars have different usecases than tablets, therefore the UX should be designed differently. For example, picking at tiny touchscreen buttons far away from the driver's line of sight while navigating level of menus to accomplish something driver needs to do (e.g. change suspension levels, or turn on headlights, control steering wheel heater, etc. ) is not great driver experience.

Now, unfortunately other auto manufacturers decided they want to join Tesla in the tablet-on-wheels game, but they don't have even tablet developers on staff - their software development teams are small embedded device software teams. They also cannot afford to take risks like Tesla (Tesla is getting away with things no other legacy auto manufacturer would), so I agree with you that their products (like the iPace) is way inferior. Heck, VW's adventure into "let's just connect everything into a computer like Tesla, then it's easy - software will do the rest" blew up a little in their faces - ID.3's are expected to sit on the lot for a year before they can be delivered to customers (because software won't be ready for a year, but production has already started): https://ww.electrek.co/2019/12/19/v...s-as-company-begins-year-of-ev-introductions/

Lastly, the tablet on wheels approach seems to be ignoring one thing, tablets don't last as long as cars. Ask anyone who drives a pre-March-2018 S or X with MCU1 how it feels to drive one. The software is getting slower almost every release, it doesn't support most of the new features, and even the features it supports, including ones which used to work before, no longer work reliably or at all. Let's not forget that historically the Tesla MCU hardware reliability is consistent with a tablet lifecycle too - so between 3-6 years, you'll need a new $3,000 Tesla tablet for them wheels due to hardware simply wearing/aging out (emmc failure). You'd think for $3,000 you'd get the latest "tablet", but no, all you're getting is a refurbished old design (MCU1), not the newer tablet (MCU2). Oh, and that tablet is a single point of failure too, so you have to fix it when it dies, as you cannot drive the car with a dead MCU - no heating/cooling, cannot charge the car, etc.
 
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DeepFrz

Member
Nov 24, 2019
35
21
Winnipeg
Do you have another son who is a professional driver maybe? Tesla software is like middle of a road tablet, but cars have different usecases than tablets, therefore the UX should be designed differently. For example, picking at tiny touchscreen buttons far away from the driver's line of sight while navigating level of menus to accomplish something driver needs to do (e.g. change suspension levels, or turn on headlights, control steering wheel heater, etc. ) is not great driver experience.

Now, unfortunately other auto manufacturers decided they want to join Tesla in the tablet-on-wheels game, but they don't have even tablet developers on staff - their software development teams are small embedded device software teams. They also cannot afford to take risks like Tesla (Tesla is getting away with things no other legacy auto manufacturer would), so I agree with you that their products (like the iPace) is way inferior. Heck, VW's adventure into "let's just connect everything into a computer like Tesla, then it's easy - software will do the rest" blew up a little in their faces - ID.3's are expected to sit on the lot for a year before they can be delivered to customers (because software won't be ready for a year, but production has already started): https://ww.electrek.co/2019/12/19/v...s-as-company-begins-year-of-ev-introductions/

Lastly, the tablet on wheels approach seems to be ignoring one thing, tablets don't last as long as cars. Ask anyone who drives a pre-March-2018 S or X with MCU1 how it feels to drive one. The software is getting slower almost every release, it doesn't support most of the new features, and even the features it supports, including ones which used to work before, no longer work reliably or at all. Let's not forget that historically the Tesla MCU hardware reliability is consistent with a tablet lifecycle too - so between 3-6 years, you'll need a new $3,000 Tesla tablet for them wheels due to hardware simply wearing/aging out (emmc failure). You'd think for $3,000 you'd get the latest "tablet", but no, all you're getting is a refurbished old design (MCU1), not the newer tablet (MCU2). Oh, and that tablet is a single point of failure too, so you have to fix it when it dies, as you cannot drive the car with a dead MCU - no heating/cooling, cannot charge the car, etc.
I agree with this. I even wonder if the driver interface is actually legal. Does it meet the distracted driver laws?
 
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ucmndd

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2016
7,010
13,798
California
Yeah, I never really understood how overengineering a simple task makes for a revolutionary experience. It is one of the reasons I did not go for the M3. I cannot stand poking at a screen to do everything.
Don’t fear, Tesla is solving the problem they created by making everything a voice command. ;)
 

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