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Published on June 27th, 2014 | by James Ayre


Tesla’s Over-The-Air Software Installation Process Explored

June 27th, 2014 by  

Image Credit: TeslaImage Credit: Tesla Motors

Not fortunate enough to own a Tesla Model S? Wish you did? Interested in reading about Tesla’s over-the-air software update process actually works? Then you’ve come to the right place.

The software update process begins — as you’d expect — with a notification appearing on the Model S’s center touchscreen that an update is available, before moving through an installation phase (that requires the car to be in park mode) that is apparently quite strange to watch (flashing lights, sounds, etc).

That’s about it, but for a detailed walkthrough of the whole process from an actual owner of a Model S, you can head on over to Teslarati where just such an offering is now available. Here’s an excerpt of one of the funnier parts:

Most people would walk away at this point, but the engineer in me couldn’t do that so I sat in the car for the entire update.

Your Model S will likely do things you didn’t know it could do. It’s going to make sounds, flash lights, spin fans, gurgle and do all sorts of other scary things. By the way, did you know your glove box button is lit?

There are a lot of components in a Model S. According to TeslaTap, there are 432 lights, 50 motors/solenoids, 52 processors and a host of other complex machinery in the Model S. Each component is controlled through software and thus paired with a test program.

The whole experience was kind of disturbing and I’m not sure I’d sit through another.


In related news, the Model X is still apparently very much on its way, according to a recent note from Elon Musk to reservation holders. And the Model X will still be featuring the much ballyhooed falcon doors — which have likely been what’s pushing the EV’s release date back.

Of course, interestingly, with Tesla’s patents now opened up, anyone who wants to is now in the position to exactly recreate the falcon doors themselves. Hmmm…. 
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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.

  • Wayne Williamson

    This is cool and I find it disturbing that an engineer would find it disturbing since this how everything should be made.

    • Just feels a lot different on a big machine versus an iPhone or computer. But I agree, its where everything is going. Waiting on OTA updates for my dishwasher!

      • Wayne Williamson

        Its not just the over the air updates(which are important), its having sensors that can be queried/updated built in to everything.

  • Since this post an in-version update was pushed over the air to me. So I went from 5.9 to 5.9 (newer build) which I didn’t think they did.

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