There was a recent report of a recall of 300,000 vehicles in China for Tesla that needed autopilot updates. This sounds bad until you dig into it a little more. In reality, the change is likely just some code for Tesla to make it a little more involved to activate autopilot. Tesla can make this change and update the UI of its center console window without having to add or change any of the hardware in the vehicle.
In reality, saying that there is a "recall" is a way to use fear, uncertainty, and doubt to attract visitors and to try and reduce Tesla. It's an irresponsible way to report the news in this case. What should be said is: Tesla is pushing an over the air software update for 300,000 vehicles in China to make autopilot more difficult to turn on and avoid unintended acceleration.
Consumers: we wish cruise control was a little more difficult to turn on Tesla: ok. We will send that as an update Media: Tesla has massive recall due to autopilot issues and unintended acceleration leading to ongoing China crisis and probably bankruptcy.— Earl of FrunkPuppy (@28delayslater) June 26, 2021
Software that runs the entire vehicle
Tesla has software that runs a good portion of the vehicle. In fact, I would be hard pressed to find anything that isn't run by software.
If you want to change the temperature of the car, there isn't a knob you turn - instead, you use the screen to change the temperature. This interface can be changed and adjusted by Tesla as needed.
If you want to see your gas mileage or how many miles you've driven, that's driven by software as well. You don't need to press a button to reset your "trip" meter. It's all controlled by software.
Eventually, your car driving itself will be controlled by software without the need for human intervention. Tesla, with its vision system, is currently in the lead to have global adoption of this. In fact, the car is using software right now to make trips without human intervention with select users of the full self-driving beta software. Eventually, this will be level 5 full self-driving.
If there is any problem with the car, chances are, it can be fixed with a software update instead of having to change the hardware.
The UI can change to fit any and all updates for interaction
Like any smart phone, Tesla will function like a giant phone on wheels. Everything that is wanted to be done will be from the user interface from the center panel, and a few icons on the steering wheel. No need to have an extra arm to turn the blinker on or off. Simply press a button to turn the blinker on. Or a software button to honk the horn.
As Tesla adds functionality to the car or changes it, it will be done through software updates and the Tesla user interface. In fact, I can see Tesla changing the steering wheel more so that the center of it is like a screen and the buttons for turning, honking the horn, or anything else on the steering wheel can be customized per the driver of the car.
More and more of the car will disappear
As Tesla improves their software and full self-driving continues to evolve, I believe Tesla will begin to remove more of the car. I can see the steering wheel of robotaxis becoming obsolete.
What else might disappear from the car? We know that Tesla has removed radar from their cars to simplify using vision for full self-driving.
What do you think Tesla might remove from their cars in the future that they haven't already? How will Tesla's software change in the future?
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Jeremy Johnson is a Tesla investor and supporter. He first invested in Tesla in 2017 after years of following Elon Musk and admiring his work ethic and intelligence. Since then, he's become a Tesla bull, covering anything about Tesla he can find, while also dabbling in other electric vehicle companies. Jeremy covers Tesla developments at Torque News. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram to stay in touch and follow his Tesla news coverage on Torque News.