Tesla 2019.16.3.2

Just after my attempt to use AutoPilot on the highway with 2019.12.1.2 utterly confused my Model X, Pensive, Tesla pushed-out 2019.16.3.2. The new version has a couple of interesting additions, the first of which is the option to request updates quicker.

Software Updates and Cellular Connectivity

I had not realized it, having been more focused on my own car and its distinct set of features and behaviour, but Tesla has nominally ended free Internet for new users; or at least they've altered their terms.1

How do the new connectivity options impact current Tesla owners?

All Tesla cars ordered on or before June 30, 2018 will continue to have access to their existing Premium Connectivity features at no cost for as long as the car is active. As additional apps and services become available in the future, owners will have the opportunity to upgrade their connectivity plan.

Will there be a trial period for Premium Connectivity?

For all Model S and Model X cars ordered on or after July 1, 2018, Premium Connectivity will be complimentary for one year after delivery, as well as all Model 3 cars with Premium Interior. After the complimentary period ends, Standard Connectivity will be available for all cars at no cost, and Premium Connectivity will be available for purchase via the in-car touchscreen. Connectivity plans for Model 3 without Premium Interior will be announced later this year.

Will cars with Standard Connectivity still receive over-the-air software updates?

Yes. All cars with Standard Connectivity will continue to receive software updates. Tesla owners will simply need to connect to a Wi-Fi network to receive the updates. Note: Important safety updates will continue to be available over the car’s cellular connection.

After Electrek published the changes, it even got picked-up by Newsweek. One of the components of the change are that standard-connectivity users will only receive updates over WiFi. Currently, Tesla vehicles connected over WiFi have preference for receiving updates, even on what is now termed premium connectivity. Since my car has never been able to connect to WiFi reliably, I'm excited about the opt-in-to-beta-test-our-software checkbox since this should get potential fixes to my car sooner.

Sentry improvements

2019.8 introduced Sentry mode, which uses the vehicle's AutoPilot cameras as security cameras, detecting movement nearby and entering an observation mode which would save the video to a USB drive if any subsequent triggering event—such as physical contact with the car—occurs. There were two annoying things about it: 1) there's no way of reviewing the events from within the vehicle (you need to take the USB drive out and connect it to a PC); and 2) enabling Sentry mode needs to be done manually after you put the vehicle into park.

2019.16.3.2 addresses the latter problem. A security system is only useful if it's enabled, so being able to enable it automatically, every time the car is parked, is a necessary feature2. Since there's an increase in power draw for Sentry, Tesla has also provided some controlling specific areas where you may not want Sentry automatically enabled. You can disable automatically enabling Sentry at your home, or at your work address, individually. Favourite locations can be disabled as well, albeit as a group, but not individually.

Software Issues with 2019.16.3.2

A couple of new issues have cropped-up. Returning to my car after work, it regularly has trouble getting an accurate GPS location. The first time it did this, it placed me somewhere off the coast of Africa (possibly 0,0); subsequently I've instead ended-up in towns to the east or states to the north. After a few minutes of driving it updates to the correct location. This isn't the first time the GPS location was wrong, but the regularity and seemingly chaotic placement is new.

Secondly, cover art is no longer being displayed when streaming over Bluetooth.

Finally, issues continue both with opening garage doors, and opening and closing those of the vehicle itself.

Driver Interface

The final two changes are fairly inconsequential to me, the driver's dash now zooms in and out to show more of what is detected around the driver or less depending on the speed of the vehicle and the type of road it is on. This makes sense, and is implemented fairly well, but is only remarkable in that it's not done poorly. Finally, Tesla has added a Swedish language localization.

  1. Tesla had been saying that existing users would eventually need to pay for connectivity, so this marks a positive change for existing owners as of the cut-over date.

  2. there is the counter-argument that Sentry is essentially a gimmick, since someone breaking-in to a Tesla needs only swipe the USB stick from the front of the car to abscond with any evidence