Tesla 2019.32.12: V10

Almost two weeks ago, Version 10 of Tesla's firmware began to roll-out, although I was having some trouble getting the update because my Model X, Pensive, wasn't able to stay on WiFi long-enough to fetch the update (and wasn't pulling it via the cellular connection despite being grandfathered into cellular updates having been weighed as part of my decision not to lemon law the car), eventually the car was able to retrieve the update. Yesterday (October 10th), I updated to 2019.32.12.1; and today a new point release rolled-out (2019.32.12.2).

Audio/Video Updates

With V10, I was excited about having Spotify integrated into the car. The Volvo XC90 we originally planned to get also had Spotify integrated, but the Model X had free cellular for streaming audio. Both Volvo and Tesla require you to bring your own premium account in the United States1.

Hulu and Netflix integration, while currently supporting streaming over cellular, are planned to eventually work only over WiFi. Unlike Spotify, we have account with both services already (Netflix was great on the Amazon Fire during our family trip to Canada, where we were able to stream Paw Patrol, even though the US version of Netflix doesn't support the show). The effectiveness on the vertical screen is underwhelming though, as it results in a very small picture which may keep you entertained on a solo trip, is unlikely to satisfy children in the back of the vehicle.

Bluetooth

Since Slacker doesn't provide direct control over the songs it plays, I've tended to stream from the iOS device we got to connect to the vehicle. V10 brings a number of improvements on this front, adding support for higher-quality (48kHz sampling) media along with new support for iOS13 to communicate the current playlist and relevant album art.

No longer will the Tesla back-fill album art with seemingly random suggestions.(place-holder for legacy album art)

User Interface Changes

Tesla again has fiddled with its interface, but not to the extent that happened with V9, where it switched to a less-flexible fixed-window system. They replaced the Tesla Arcade with a more general Tesla Entertainment to include the new Spotify and Netflix apps, which makes sense; they re-organized the application launcher, to which I'm indifferent. What I find annoying is the addition of more options to the navigation panel—specifically the useless lucky option2. Previously, this bar had only two options: Home and Work which allowed for quickly selecting two known locations. The addition of a generic hungry option seems questionable given the lack of input it allows (none beyond your current location), and the lucky option is less than worthless. With two items, they were both easy touch-targets; now it's harder (especially while operating the vehicle) to hit any of the buttons, but those in the middle are particularly difficult: one of those is the work button, while lucky gets a prime spot at the end. Hopefully the lucky option gets eliminated in a future update.

One of the complaints3 I had about our road trip to Niagara Falls, was that accidentally triggering the rainbow road Easter egg was noisy. A lot of the alerts are noisy. Apparently "Joe" had the same problem, and Tesla has added a Joe mode to apparently address this.

Rainbow Road

Hopefully "Joe Mode" will make for a more peaceful family trip.

Improved Notifications

One of the things which the Tesla has done well, is the now-standard feature for upscale cars to have user-profiles for things like seat position, mirrors, and the like. While there's a non-complete list of things which are saved if you read through the on-screen information, V10 has added notifications which gives visual feedback when a change you've made is actively saved. There appears to be a few bugs though, as modifying some features don't always trigger the notification4; and unexpectedly, the modifying the map-view (e.g. to show the full route) is one of the settings which sometimes triggers a profile save.

More important, V10 brings improvements to the driving and automatic lane change visualizations. In addition to now having more specific sprites for objects the vehicle detects and improved lane detection and visualization, the lane change visualization will provide and indication of where the vehicle intends to merge into the adjoining lane—no more wondering when your Tesla will make its suicidal move.

Sentry Mode

When sentry mode was released with 2019.8.5, I through in a spare 16GiB USB drive. Like most users of Sentry Mode I'd presume, I don't review every event, but leave Sentry mode on in case something significant were to happen to the vehicle. Unfortunately, that would mean that saved video files would accumulate until I removed the USB drive, connected it to a computer, and deleted the old files.

V10 now stores sentry mode clips in their own directories, and will delete old clips if it runs low on space, assuming Sentry Mode recordings are taking-up at least 5GB of disk space.

Unrelated to Sentry mode, but the dashcam now stores rear-camera video as well as front-and-side video (in case you wanted to record a tailgater).

Driving Dynamics

The Tesla display now indicates in the central display when lane-keeping and crash avoidance takes effect. This is helpful in knowing why the vehicle swerves unexpectedly, but it also seems to trigger more regularly—and spuriously—such as when I was going around a bend with a wide lane and appeared to still be well within the lane. At the same time, it did not alert at all when there was a car coming at me in my own lane.


  1. Tesla may not require that for European models, where Spotify has existed in place of North America's Slacker streaming service integration

  2. almost certainly a reference to Google's old "I'm feeling lucky" option

  3. aside from the hotel at which our family stayed

  4. it's unclear if the bug is that preferences don't always save, or if the notification is buggy