It wasn't long ago that the software in your car was merely an afterthought; something that rarely affected a purchasing decision much less the vehicle's driving dynamics. Those days are gone.
Software has become such an integral part of just about every facet of today's vehicles that the term "software-defined vehicle" has emerged and is currently used throughout the industry.
Rivian is one of the companies that operate on the cutting edge of software development as the electric vehicle startup has developed its own in-house software stack, enabling it to push out over-the-air (OTA) updates more frequently than most automakers can.
Today, the Irvine-based automaker released 2023.38.0 by an OTA update just weeks after pushing out 2023.34.0, and both updates included impressive feature updates. I spoke to Wassym Bensaid, VP of Software Development at Rivian, to get the latest on what's going on.
Update 2023.34.0 was released in mid-September and made noticeable improvements to the ride quality and comfort across all drive modes and ride heights in both R1T and R1S vehicles. I know this first hand, as I own an R1S and immediately felt the improvement.
The ride quality is one of the few complaints I have with my R1S, and the update definitely improved the on-road driving experience in normal driving mode. However, I haven't had the opportunity to test the new suspension tuning in more challenging off-road situations.
Gallery: Rivian Software Updates
Software version 2023.38.0 started going out to customers today and includes quite a few upgrades. The first change Rivian owners will notice is a completely redesigned drive mode screen. The new layout not only looks cleaner than the previous screen, but it includes much more information.
Owners will now be able to see the temperature of the vehicle's high-voltage battery as well as individual temperature readouts for each drive motor. There's also a compass, a gauge showing the vehicle's current elevation and the highest and lowest points it traveled with the ability to reset the gauge. There's also the tire pressure and two resettable trip gauges, and all that information is neatly arranged on the right side of the screen.
The left side of the screen allows the driver to set the drive mode, the ride height and regenerative braking strength, the stability control, and the suspension stiffness. There's also a new feature that allows the owner to create up to three different trailer profiles, a feature that those that tow will greatly appreciate. R1T owners also get a new rear-facing camera view for a better look out of the rear when towing.
Rivian R1T trailer camera view
Two major OTA updates in about a month is quite an accomplishment and something it sounds like Rivian hopes to do more of in the coming years. I learned that in my exclusive interview with Bensaid, which you can watch up above.
Bensaid explained how critical it was for the startup to control its own software, and how that enables the company to push out updates faster than most automakers. He also promised (at my request) that an update is coming in the first quarter of 2024 that will improve the information the vehicle shows when DC fast charging, including a display of the charging curve, which I look forward to seeing (and analyzing) in my R1S.
So check out the video and leave your comments and questions in the comment section below.
Rivian software update includes a new trailer profile section and promises to improve the overall trailering experience.