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What are Tesla's Software resources

NCAviator

Member
Aug 19, 2017
124
87
North Carolina
I have been a long time BMW enthusiast for the last 20 years currently have my second X3. I am strongly considering a Tesla. Did a DEMO ride in the Model X. The vehicle seems fine compared to the X3. The one thing I have not liked about BMW is their lack of software updates to their infotainment system. For example; when I got a new phone; it would not sync with the X3 software.

I like that Tesla has OTA software updates. That is probably more important to me than the electric system.

My concern after monitoring these forums for some time is that it does not appear that Tesla has enough software programmers to support autopilot development and their user interface. Many standard features in automobiles are not available in the Tesla. New features promised by Musk; take months/years to arrive.

The user interface is getting long in the tooth. web software, only two windows, limited customization of the home page, etc.

With these limited improvements over time; I was really disappointed that Tesla did not roll out their APP Store and allow others to enhance the capabilities to users. Their closed architecture means that they are the pacing item for development.

It appears that the majority of the software development resources are going in to autopilot. That is not bad, but means the user interface will always be second or third.

I also don't see Tesla having a mature developed user feedback loop.

I would like to hear from current owners. I get the green motivations, but is Tesla really leading the user interface race? They have all the capability, but seem to be lagging the other manufacturer, but charging a premium over those platforms.

Don't know if the Byton will come to market; but seems to be on a much better user interface track. Maybe Tesla started it with their large screen, but the software is getting old.

Thoughts?
 

ninefiveone

Member
Jun 7, 2017
164
216
SF Bay Area
Which company is doing more frequent and/or better updates to their user interface OTA? It sounds like you feel Tesla is being left behind. I want to know more about the company that is leaving them behind.
 
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NCAviator

Member
Aug 19, 2017
124
87
North Carolina
Which company is doing more frequent and/or better updates to their user interface OTA? It sounds like you feel Tesla is being left behind. I want to know more about the company that is leaving them behind.

I think for those in production; Tesla is leading the OTA world. But based on posts here; there are many features that are lacking. Heck; AP2 cars just got auto wipers. Still don't have auto adjusting sound. Lack many phone features. In 2017; there were not that many new features added. The good news is there were features added unlike my BMW X3. That is why I am seriously looking at Tesla and others.

This article talks about the direction of some other car companies: Audi and Volvo will use Android as the operating system in upcoming cars

I am not saying that Android Auto is the right or best direction. I actually like what Byton is doing. Of course they are not in the market yet. Tesla has all the hardware to do what Byton is doing and much more.

What I am asking the folks here is whether Tesla have the resources to develop and enhance the user experience? If not; then they should develop a model to allow third parties to add capabilities.

Tesla might be in front today, but it looks like the rest of the pack is closing fast. I am wondering if they are the right company to buy from if you are going to keep the car for 5+ years.

That is why I am asking the owners here.
 
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TexasEV

Well-Known Member
Jun 5, 2013
7,642
8,471
Austin, TX
How often the interface is updated seems to be a very narrow view of the user experience. The user experience includes not going through the auto dealer cartel to buy the car, not using gasoline, the ease of long distance travel using the supercharger network, OTA updates, etc.
 
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GoCanes

Member
Aug 1, 2015
217
217
Miami, Florida
I think for those in production; Tesla is leading the OTA world. But based on posts here; there are many features that are lacking. Heck; AP2 cars just got auto wipers. Still don't have auto adjusting sound. Lack many phone features. In 2017; there were not that many new features added. The good news is there were features added unlike my BMW X3. That is why I am seriously looking at Tesla and others.

This article talks about the direction of some other car companies: Audi and Volvo will use Android as the operating system in upcoming cars

I am not saying that Android Auto is the right or best direction. I actually like what Byton is doing. Of course they are not in the market yet. Tesla has all the hardware to do what Byton is doing and much more.

What I am asking the folks here is whether Tesla have the resources to develop and enhance the user experience? If not; then they should develop a model to allow third parties to add capabilities.

Tesla might be in front today, but it looks like the rest of the pack is closing fast. I am wondering if they are the right company to buy from if you are going to keep the car for 5+ years.

That is why I am asking the owners here.
Based on my 20 months with my X, I receive OTA updates about every 2 or 3 months. Some are safety/convenience updates (autopilot updates, map capabilities) and other are just fun (Chill mode and new Easter eggs!). These updates have definitely refreshed my X - it's a different vehicle than the one I took possession of back in June 2016! Is there another manufacturer that offers this capability? I'm not sure - but I do know that my old Highlander Hybrid NAV system worked off a DVD that had to be updated at the dealership for a cost of several hundred dollars. I never did buy an update, so there were many times that NAV system got lost on newer highways!
 

Dirk

Member
May 8, 2017
35
59
Sunnyvale, CA
I don't work for Tesla but have worked with them on hardware-in-the-loop testing and battery test software and I'm currently working on radar and lidar test software for a bunch of different companies.

Tesla has a large software development group, trust me! Probably much larger than any other company as Tesla's are so much software driven. Other car companies buy software from a bunch of different vendors (ECU, entertainment, navigation) and have so many hard-wired buttons whose functions will never change once you buy the car. Nearly every car I've driven in has an atrocious user interface. As Tesla owners we're complaining we can't do "multi-destination" navigation, add waypoints on the fly etc. But what other car comes even close to what we have? $500 for a map update anyone?:( Our other car is a Prius and in 10 years, the navigation has not changed at all. Horrible user interface. Want to cancel your trip? On the Tesla, one button push and the button is on the screen already. On the Prius? Go up, go down, go left, go right, find the button, acknowledge that you want to cancel. Horrible. And display of the map itself? It does not label cross streets but shows the labels of some small streets 10 blocks away. Very annoying. And yes, smartphones have better capabilities. But they're sold in the 100 of millions.
What most people do not understand is that the amount of software in a car like Tesla is much larger than you imagine but the only part you see is the user interface. Oh, yes, it's easy to add a button on a UI. But after that, it's not just making a driver call to turn some other item red. No, you're going to have to send a CAN bus message to the Engine Control Unit to actually do something. And you have to design and test it so your CAN bus message does not interfere with any other operation of the car. Everything needs to be regression tested. Everything is real-time with sub-msec timing requirements. There are groups writing the embedded software for the battery management, the inverters, health of the car, etc. And the group working on the UI is working on things we'll see next year or a couple of years from now and also on the stuff we'll see next week. And it all has to be written in a way that the software can be remotely updated. For example, your car has to store all your preferences. Any new update has to read the old preferences file and convert it to a new one as values might have been added or deleted. And this has to work no matter what version you're on and what version you're going to! The more possible interactions the harder it is to develop/test/estimate software. And cars are some of the most complex systems around.

I saw the Byton video. Impressive. I've seen the Faraday Future cars. Impressive. I saw the Lucid car. Impressive. Can you please tell me where I can buy one??:D

Honestly, I'm getting sick and tired of all these "concept" cars and announcements about what they're "going to do next year". Show me their super charger network building permits, the organizational changes required to make ICE development take a back seat to real future car development and I might change my mind. Show me how they're changing their contributions to politicians to lobby for cleaner air and acceleration of electrical car development instead of stone walling on car efficiency requirements and break down of EPA regulations. Then I might change my mind.

I'm also convinced that the real "Tesla killers" will not come from the US. Or Europe. Or Japan. They will come from China. I was recently in the Foxconn factories in Shenzhen. I was there 4 years ago and the change blew me away. I did not see even one ICE motorcycle. Every single motor cycle was electrical. About 30% of all the taxis I was in where BYD electrical cars. Not hybrid. Fully electrical. Not quite like Tesla but then the car accelerated quite nicely and had a 400 km range. And probably cost ⅓ of an S. Our government here is trying to do everything they can to go back to coal and decrease air pollution standard. China is going exactly the other way. Guess who will win in the end...:mad:
 

Gpa9504

Member
Jan 27, 2018
161
113
USA
I don't work for Tesla but have worked with them on hardware-in-the-loop testing and battery test software and I'm currently working on radar and lidar test software for a bunch of different companies.

Tesla has a large software development group, trust me! Probably much larger than any other company as Tesla's are so much software driven. Other car companies buy software from a bunch of different vendors (ECU, entertainment, navigation) and have so many hard-wired buttons whose functions will never change once you buy the car. Nearly every car I've driven in has an atrocious user interface. As Tesla owners we're complaining we can't do "multi-destination" navigation, add waypoints on the fly etc. But what other car comes even close to what we have? $500 for a map update anyone?:( Our other car is a Prius and in 10 years, the navigation has not changed at all. Horrible user interface. Want to cancel your trip? On the Tesla, one button push and the button is on the screen already. On the Prius? Go up, go down, go left, go right, find the button, acknowledge that you want to cancel. Horrible. And display of the map itself? It does not label cross streets but shows the labels of some small streets 10 blocks away. Very annoying. And yes, smartphones have better capabilities. But they're sold in the 100 of millions.
What most people do not understand is that the amount of software in a car like Tesla is much larger than you imagine but the only part you see is the user interface. Oh, yes, it's easy to add a button on a UI. But after that, it's not just making a driver call to turn some other item red. No, you're going to have to send a CAN bus message to the Engine Control Unit to actually do something. And you have to design and test it so your CAN bus message does not interfere with any other operation of the car. Everything needs to be regression tested. Everything is real-time with sub-msec timing requirements. There are groups writing the embedded software for the battery management, the inverters, health of the car, etc. And the group working on the UI is working on things we'll see next year or a couple of years from now and also on the stuff we'll see next week. And it all has to be written in a way that the software can be remotely updated. For example, your car has to store all your preferences. Any new update has to read the old preferences file and convert it to a new one as values might have been added or deleted. And this has to work no matter what version you're on and what version you're going to! The more possible interactions the harder it is to develop/test/estimate software. And cars are some of the most complex systems around.

I saw the Byton video. Impressive. I've seen the Faraday Future cars. Impressive. I saw the Lucid car. Impressive. Can you please tell me where I can buy one??:D

Honestly, I'm getting sick and tired of all these "concept" cars and announcements about what they're "going to do next year". Show me their super charger network building permits, the organizational changes required to make ICE development take a back seat to real future car development and I might change my mind. Show me how they're changing their contributions to politicians to lobby for cleaner air and acceleration of electrical car development instead of stone walling on car efficiency requirements and break down of EPA regulations. Then I might change my mind.

I'm also convinced that the real "Tesla killers" will not come from the US. Or Europe. Or Japan. They will come from China. I was recently in the Foxconn factories in Shenzhen. I was there 4 years ago and the change blew me away. I did not see even one ICE motorcycle. Every single motor cycle was electrical. About 30% of all the taxis I was in where BYD electrical cars. Not hybrid. Fully electrical. Not quite like Tesla but then the car accelerated quite nicely and had a 400 km range. And probably cost ⅓ of an S. Our government here is trying to do everything they can to go back to coal and decrease air pollution standard. China is going exactly the other way. Guess who will win in the end...:mad:

This is a phenomenal post Dirk. Very, very useful and just pure common sense with a side of FACTS. Thank you!
 

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