Patrick Olsen, for Consumer Reports:
The software update came a week after Consumer Reports published test results that showed stopping distances for the Model 3 that were significantly longer than any other contemporary car. That braking performance, along with issues with the Model 3’s controls and ride comfort, initially prevented the car from getting a CR recommendation.
Last week, after CR’s road test was published, Tesla CEO Elon Musk vowed that the automaker would get a fix out within days.
Until now, that type of remote improvement to a car’s basic functionality had been unheard of. “I’ve been at CR for 19 years and tested more than 1,000 cars,” says Jake Fisher, director of auto testing at Consumer Reports, “and I’ve never seen a car that could improve its track performance with an over-the-air update.”
Remote firmware updates for a car, which can directly impact key features such as braking systems is one thing which Tesla excels at. Other automakers rely on software updates when a car comes in for service, which is roughly once a year, or when you buy a new one.
I test drove a Tesla Model S P90D (my article in Polish) in Poland in 2016. There are a few Teslas in Poland but since we don’t have a dealership, service centres, or a wide Supercharger network, their Autopilot barely knew any of the roads here. The guys from Tesla Berlin came down a day or two early and rode up and down the country roads, we would be using for the day. Since this was their second trip, I assume the Teslas had already previously gathered a lot of data along the way. When it was my turn, I turned on Autopilot and it acted as if it knew these its surroundings perfectly, even on 2nd tier twisty side streets with barely any markings on them. This “learning” capability is amazing in theory and practice — just imagine what we could accomplish if every single car in the world, whatever their manufacturer, had access to a database of this sort.