New information found that Tesla and co-owned brands Jaguar and Land Rovers had more software glitches than any other automakers.
The world of software that drives the automotive industry (pun totally intended) has faced a lot of negative press. From the emissions cheating scandal that put millions of cars on the road that violated acceptable pollution standards to a Formula E race car shutting off in the middle of a race earlier this month to the repeated safety recalls of everyday consumers’ cars due to safety and security concerns, the onboard tech in our vehicles isn’t making the grade.
But perhaps no company knows that better than Tesla Motors. New information found that Tesla and co-owned brands Jaguar and Land Rovers had more software glitches than any other automakers.
Before pointing any fingers, it’s important to know that a study by JD Power and Associates found a 22% year-over-year jump in driver software complaints in 2015, and software issues that led to manufacturer recalls increased 45% in that same amount of time. And this isn’t just a matter of your windshield wipers incorrectly relaying the amount of washer fluid; of the nearly 200 recalls due to software defects in the past five years, 141 of them involved issues that could cause a crash.
The unfortunate reality behind the software concerns and the auto recalls isn’t just the overall expense to the industry–and therefore, passed on to consumers and taxpayers–but lies in the trustworthiness of the automotive industry as a whole, regardless of manufacturer.
“Software-related problems have become much more prevalent and, if not addressed, could begin to erode consumer trust in new automotive technology,” said Renee Stephens, vice president of U.S. automotive at J.D. Power, in a press release on the software study. “Using this information from owner complaints, automakers can quickly identify whether the problem crosses model lines, components or even other companies with similar components/suppliers, and can begin to address the breadth of the concerns. Not every complaint registered by consumers becomes a recall, but they are all very important to manufacturers.”
So how does Tesla figure in? Unfortunately, that answer could be in the mechanism by which Tesla motors upgrades or updates its vehicles’ software. With the cloud-based updates, the automaker can issue more instant software updates than other manufacturers (like ones who require the owner to bring the car in to be serviced in order to update the computer). The very fact that Tesla has streamlined the update process in order to avoid potentially life-threatening delays could not only save lives, but could be skewing the numbers when it comes to the total record of glitches.