back to article Tesla 'API crashes' after update, angry rich bods complain

Over the past few days Tesla punters from different corners of the globe have claimed an update borked their acess to the iOS app, preventing them from connecting to their electric dream wagons. The thread of complaints first started on Tesla’s online forum on Monday and had continued into today, with customers based in North …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Electric Cars and Cloudy Apps...

    And you still have to turn them off and on again to make them work.

    Welcome to the bleeding edge of 2017.

    1. Ogi

      Re: Electric Cars and Cloudy Apps...

      > And you still have to turn them off and on again to make them work.

      > Welcome to the bleeding edge of 2017.

      I know!

      It is like people looked at the state of their computers and mobile phones, and said "You know, I would really like my watch, my car, my fridge, my TV and everything else to be just as much an insecure, buggy, spyware infused, headache inducing PITA as this is".

      I for one try to keep the amount of technology I use to a bare minimum to get the job done efficiently, but apparently I am an outlier, and people want their lives to be really complicated and unreliable (which they then moan at me about, because I am a "Tech guy" who can fix it all with a magic wand)

    2. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Electric Cars and Cloudy Apps...

      Umm, closer than you think. I was told to make sure that both my phone and the car were 100% charged, switch both off and then wait 10 minutes.

      12 hours later, It did actually did work.

  2. Chris Miller

    Remember that nervous feeling when applying software updates to your $600 phone? How much more buttock clenching is the thought of bricking a $60,000 motor?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      IoT - Internet of Transport.

      Secure and reliable as the rest of the Internet of Twattery

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Chris

      You are forgetting that Tesla's are bought by people with more money than brains. So they undoubtedly worry more about their phone.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @Chris

        You are forgetting that Tesla's are bought by people with more money than brains. So they undoubtedly worry more about their phone.

        You appear to suffer from the same envy as the author of the story. It's a car. It's innovative. It's not perfect, on account of being a new approach. No, I can't afford a Tesla either but I would buy one if I had the money, as a second car. Tesla were the first to prove to the Prius socks and sandals brigade that you could go electric without becoming the equivalent of a slow cyclist in the bus lane to traffic around you and actually have fun doing so (that said, I'm no fan of both its interior and exterior design, but that's a matter of taste).

        Will it have problems? Sure, still. As long as important stuff such as safety is done properly, and AFAIK it ranks well above most other cars in that aspect.

        1. Mike 125

          Re: @Chris

          @AC

          >>Tesla were the first to prove to the Prius socks and sandals brigade that you could go electric without becoming the equivalent of a slow cyclist in the bus lane to traffic around you and actually have fun doing so <<

          I agree with all that. Tesla proved 'buttock clenching' could go electric, and beat petrol at its own game, and hats off.

          But the craziness is not about that. It's about the guaranteed insecurity and unreliability of the equivalent of a smart phone. This is a f'kin car, not Angry Birds. Why didn't Tesla stop with the buttock clenching thing? Why have they spoiled it with all the kiddy app/smart phone garbage?

          They pushed too far and now are in danger of wrecking the whole thing, which is a shame. It also distracts from what really matters - the drivetrain, battery, etc etc. Just focus the f'k on that.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      How much more buttock clenching is the thought of bricking a $60,000 motor?

      There's talk on the Tesla forums that suggest the average selling price is more like $90k, so presumably that difference is 50% more buttock clenching than whatever premium owners put on a bricked car over a bricked phone.

      Moral of the story: Buy the cheapest in the range, and no options.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        50% more buttock clenching

        If an average person were dumb enough to invest his entire net worth into one of those electric hypercars like the Vanda Dendrobium that will undoubtedly sell for 7 digits, the buttock clenching during an update might reach the "turn coal into diamonds" threshold allowing him to afford a replacement if he bricked it.

  3. Bob Dole (tm)
    Flame

    "reignited the Wi-Fi router" ?

    From the article: "...reignited the Wi-Fi router..."

    He had to set his router on fire? That's a new twist.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "reignited the Wi-Fi router" ?

      No, the fire went out, that was the problem.

    2. kain preacher

      Re: "reignited the Wi-Fi router" ?

      Must be a netgear router.

  4. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Joke

    but it is a Tesla

    Elon took SJ's crown as the new Messiah. Elon can do no wrong ever, as he walks on water.

    Nothing ever goes wrong with a Tesla.

    They don't crash, catch fire or anything else uncool do they????

    See Icon as I'd like to get one but even the M3 is far too expensive.

  5. Jeroen Braamhaar
    Big Brother

    Connected vehicles:

    "I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you drive that."

  6. Rich 11 Silver badge

    I feel their pain

    ...Not.

  7. RosslynDad

    Both cars?

    I'm surprised about the chap 'Made in CA' having problems with BOTH his cars. Surely you do it first in the Test car and only rolling it out to production after you've checked? I know I do that with my fleet of Teslas.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Re: Both cars?

      I took my standard update path (it was not forced on me) and like all software updates sat back to see what it did for all the mugs early adopters adopters

      But if I did have a fleet then I might try your approach (we do it with our dev machines - one sacrificial machine has new releases - in a VM)

    2. haggy

      Re: Both cars?

      He had problems with neither of his cars. The problem was between his phone and Tesla's network, and didn't affect the cars themselves at all. This had nothing to do with rolling out software to any car, or even rolling out a new app.

  8. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Trollface

    Ah, to have the problems of the 1%

    Let us sympathize for a second with these poor rich people whose super-expensive status symbol is on the blink.

    Okay, enough of that, you may return to snickering.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ah, to have the problems of the 1%

      "Let us sympathize for a second with these poor rich people whose super-expensive status symbol is on the blink."

      You could also sympathise with the people who bought the Lamborghinis (I think) in which a rather obvious design fault was causing the exhaust to set fire to part of the bodywork.

      We have got used to amazing reliability with low maintenance from cars, but that's because of high volumes, 6 sigma defect levels and relentless quality management. Low volume luxury vehicles simply don't have the income stream to provide that sort of assurance. It's something owners of exotica need to accept.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ah, to have the problems of the 1%

        It's something owners of exotica need to accept expect

        FIFY. That it may be an issue still doesn't make it acceptable :).

        1. kain preacher

          Re: Ah, to have the problems of the 1%

          In 2012, Ferrari recalled certain 2011 and 2012 cars because the engine can seize suddenly and possibly cause a crash.he F136 engines have crankshafts that were machined incorrectly.

          Um thats basic engine tech

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ah, to have the problems of the 1%

        "Lamborghinis (I think) in which a rather obvious design fault was causing the exhaust to set fire to part of the bodywork."

        Close enough, it was the venerable Ferrari 458. The problem is documented here:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferrari_458#Wheel-arch_adhesive_fires

        How about that moron in Texas who drove his Bugatti Veryon into a lake?! Good times!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ah, to have the problems of the 1%

          "Close enough, it was the venerable Ferrari 458. The problem is documented here:"

          That as well. The Lamborghini recall is from February this year, though I admit I did confuse the fault with the Ferrari one - in the latest Lambo fault it's fuel spilling on the exhaust that causes the fires.

          The point remains the same despite the poster above who says it should not happen - to design a defect free supercar would cost more than it would to design a defect free supermini - and these are so expensive to design that the result is often shared among multiple badges. Engineering is a real world discipline and the best engineering in the world is no good if nobody can afford it.

        2. David 132 Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Ah, to have the problems of the 1%

          How about that moron in Texas who drove his Bugatti Veryon into a lake?!

          Pretty sure that was a Lambo, dude.

  9. Preston Crow

    Annoying but not unexpected

    We've seen issues like this several times over the past few years. Every Tesla owner should be aware that relying on the app to unlock and start the car isn't safe. If the car is in a spot that doesn't have coverage, you're out of luck. If the backend servers have problems, you're out of luck. If AT&T messes things up, you're out of luck. All of those have happened.

    What most owners agree on is that the app should be able to use Bluetooth to talk to the car directly if you're right outside it.

    Yes, it is annoying when you have software glitches, and doubly so when they are from a very expensive purchase. Tesla has had more than its share of glitches, but on the other hand, Tesla is much more aggressive about rolling out updates that benefit owners, so taken as a whole, they're still doing it right.

  10. Orv

    GM got there first

    Just to show the Big 3 are way ahead of the curve, the Android app for my 2011 Chevrolet Volt has *never* worked properly. Every so often it'll connect if I wait long enough, but usually my phone goes to sleep first.

  11. Frank Bitterlich
    Terminator

    Well, who would have guessed that?

    Today: "... advice to reboot the driver console..."

    Tomorrow: "Try installing new drivers for the driver console interface."

    Next: "... go to the registry and look for HKEY_LOCAL_VEHICLE, ..."

    Then: "... Could not connect to the license server. To make sure you have the Tesla Genuine Advantage, upgrade to the newest Tesla model. [OK] [Cancel]" -- (Clicks "Cancel") -- "Thank you, your order for the 2018 Tesla Model S has been recorded. Decommissioning your current vehicle now..." -- (Shuts down)....

  12. Mage Silver badge
    Happy

    Security

    This makes sense. Having iOS access is insecure.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: iOS

      The issue isn't iOS.

      It's just stupidity with ANY OS having other than status reports of a car or house etc. Control of car via any app on any OS of a car is just like one of those 1960s/1970s Ford cars that could be opened with any key or a screwdriver once the lock was a few years old.

  13. Mark 85 Silver badge

    So one needs an app to use the car?

    Really? I'll pass thank you.

    1. haggy

      Re: So one needs an app to use the car?

      No, you don't need an app to use the car. Without the app, you have to live with the dreaded inconvenience of having to do things such as telling your navigator where you want to go instead of it getting the information from the calendar on your phone, and you have to carry your fob with you to get into the car. If you can't live with that, you probably can't live with any car.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: So one needs an app to use the car?

        telling your navigator where you want to go instead of it getting the information from the calendar on your phone

        Probably just as well. I plan on driving home to attend today's California meeting by phone. I'd not be too happy if the car headed for the coast all by itself. I suppose it would make a change from blaming the Satnav, though.

  14. haggy

    First of all this has nothing to do with any updates to the car. The cars are working fine and this doesn't affect the car's software at all. That would have been clear to anybody with a tech background who would know that the concept of an API being down made no sense, but for the rest of you, NOTHING HAPPENED TO THE CAR OR ITS SOFTWARE.

    There was a network issue for the phone app, leaving owners in the unfortunate position of being like 100% (in rounded terms) of other car owners who have to make due without an app to talk to their cars. The issue has been fixed. It didn't keep anybody from using the cars. It didn't affect the car itself at all. It affected the ability to get information about the car from Tesla's servers, but anybody could have used the car as one normally would have. There might have been a tiny portion of the population that couldn't enable keyless driving when they forgot their fob or left it home, in which case they were almost as inconvenienced as any other car owner who left a fob home -- except they could still call Tesla toll free and have Tesla let them in. The car was communicating with Tesla just fine. It was people's phones not talking to Tesla's servers that was the issue.

    People may have tried to reboot their cars to get around the problem, but it didn't work because there was no problem with the car's software in the first place. One of the biggest advantages of owning a Tesla is that if there ever is a problem with the software, it can be fixed easily and automatically over the air.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @haggy: First of all this has nothing to do with any updates to the car.

      Sssh, we don't let facts get in the way of a good old fashioned green-eyed-monster-driven sneering at people who are perceived to be the undeserving rich. Carry on as you were, commenters. Nothing to see here. Look over there! A toff in a nice car! GET HIM!!

    2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      One of the biggest advantages of owning a Tesla is that if there ever is a problem with the software, it can be fixed easily and automatically over the air.

      .. Unless the OTA update bricks the car instead of just locking you out. I think I'll stick with a good'ol fashioned key. That's a traditional way to get in and start the car, and most motorists are conditioned to that. Not driving somewhere, and then standing forlornly in a car park mashing a phone button and hoping it'll let you in. At least it helps highlight the problems with 'smart' car technology.

  15. OneTrickPony

    I smell envy here

    Let the envy flow through you. The butthurt of trying to tailgate a model s 60 will fade over time, don't worry!

  16. Sureo

    "Unknown Error"

    To me this is characteristic of poorly written software. Error exception handling is hard. Many developers are in a hurry to code the main function and leave error handling to later, or never. I have seen this message so many times, it's a slap in the user's face. As a developer it makes me ashamed. /rant

    1. FlossyThePig
      Facepalm

      Re: "Unknown Error"

      One system I tested had an error message something like "the series is not monotonically increasing"

      !00% accurate but also 100% useless for the intended end user.

  17. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    He followed advice to reboot the driver console but that only deleted the speedo and the pedal cluster.

    Two further reboots resulted in the loss of the MP3 player but the gain of no less than four battery condition meters, all showing different (and incorrect) levels of remaining charge.

    A fourth reboot resulted in the doors locking permanently while a seemingly endless series of seating configurations were installed one after another. After three hours the body shell suddenly became that of a Volkswagen Beetle and all four wheels were deleted.

    The owner professed himself "disappointed" by the situation, but said Tesla were shipping a bootable USB Stick to address the problem.

    "Only thing is, there isn't anywhere to insert the stick" he said. "I lost the USB port about the time the unwanted nodding dog was installed on the rear parcel shelf. I must've missed one of the umpteen 'recommended partner product' checkboxes littering the confirmation page when I tapped 'OK' I guess".

  18. Ivan Headache
    Headmaster

    "punters from different corners of the globe"

    Where I come from globes don't have corners.

    At least they didn't have when I went to school.

  19. Cuddles Silver badge

    Security feature

    Presumably if the owners of Teslas couldn't use their phone to control the car, neither could anyone else. Given the endless stream of reports about how hilariously insecure pretty much everything is (not everything Tesla, literally everything involving the internet or computers in general), I'd say that's a net benefit.

  20. Alistair
    Windows

    @ Stevie

    I find your driving report highly improbable.

  21. GregoireLeGros

    Flying machine??

    I cant wait until they create a flying machine. Neeeeeeoooooooooooww!!! Bang!

  22. Down not across Silver badge

    Pissed in CA

    “I get concerned when there are server-side problems like this that go on for multiple days. I would be really pissed if I were on a road trip,” Made in CA added.

    Why? AFAIK the car functions normally. Do you really need the app to use the car?

    I'd be pissed off if the car depended on some flaky phone app to work.

    <ObBritishEnglish>

    I think highway patrol would be bit miffed is he was pissed while driving

    </ObBritishEnglish>

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