Rivian Massively Improves Proximity Lock and Unlock Features in Upcoming Software Update

Phone as a Key (PaaK) has been one of the most criticized features of Rivian EVs. The EV startup decided to bring massive improvements to the proximity lock and unlock functions with the upcoming software update 2023.42. Rivian also validated all major flagship phones from Apple, Google, and Samsung released in the past three years.
Rivian Phone as a Key feature 6 photos
Photo: Rivian
Phone as a Key is not always reliableRivian R1SRivian R1TRivian R1T cabinRivian key fob
Car keys are so yesterday, as many carmakers offer the option to enroll your smartphone and use it as a key. Phone as a Key feature is very popular among car owners, providing more flexibility than a standard key fob. You can even allow other people access to your vehicle by creating a "key" for their phones. These features are so good that Tesla gave up delivering a key fob with their EVs, although owners can still purchase one from the Tesla Shop.

Rivian was among the carmakers that offered this technology to its owners, although many complained that it was poorly implemented. In a Reddit reply to an affected owner, Rivian acknowledged that Samsung phones were the most affected. Rivian's chief of software, Wassym Bensaid, said that Android phones, in general, have a larger PaaK failure rate than iOS, although Pixel phones are generally fine. Most issues affected Samsung and other Android vendors, and Rivian was working hard to fix them.

Massive improvements are heading to Rivian EVs soon, as the 2023.42 software update has been released internally. The release notes shared by RivianTracker prominently feature the improvements to vehicle access in general and proximity locking and unlocking in particular. Rivian tested the new update with all major flagships released in the past three years by Apple, Google, and Samsung.

The update includes special optimizations for Apple iPhone 15 and 15 Pro phones. This is most welcome, as many owners reported PaaK issues after upgrading their iPhones to the latest models. The iPhone 15 lineup features a second-generation Ultra-Wideband (UWB) chip, which apparently needs better software support to function correctly. The EV startup said it also reduced the number of false "Present Key to Drive" notifications and fixed a rare issue that caused the loss of the PaaK functionality on Android.

Rivian promises that its EVs unlock much faster with the new update to the proximity unlock. Besides that, the usability has been vastly improved with new granular settings. Proximity locking at home now offers a "Lock only" option in the settings, besides the "Lock and Unlock" and "Off." This has been repeatedly asked by Rivian owners, who complained that the car would often lock and unlock while moving around the house with their phones.

There are various other bug fixes and optimizations for the infotainment system, Rivian app, and the Driver+ assistance package. Highway Assist now proactively reduces speed to navigate tight curves more smoothly and safely. The system offers improved speed limit detection in Highway Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control. The 2023.42 update has been pushed to employee vehicles and is tested internally before being deployed to the broader customer fleet. This usually happens in about a week unless nasty bugs are discovered.

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About the author: Cristian Agatie
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After his childhood dream of becoming a "tractor operator" didn't pan out, Cristian turned to journalism, first in print and later moving to online media. His top interests are electric vehicles and new energy solutions.
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