Tesla started the trend of software-defined vehicles and proved that over-the-air updates could significantly change a vehicle's behavior. Many issues could be corrected in software, including safety problems, which allowed Tesla to cut costs significantly. Thanks to this capability, Tesla fans (incorrectly) argued that a recall should not be named as such if the problem can be solved with a software update. The term has nothing to do with going back to a dealership, though. It just means that the carmaker needs to fix a safety issue by whatever means.
Tesla's example was followed by other carmakers and EV startups first and foremost. Rivian is one of them, and its software updates are known to bring meaningful changes to the vehicles. With every update, Rivian improves the ownership experience by offering new features or improving on existing ones. Still, no one was prepared for the groundbreaking change the 2023.34.00 software update was about to bring.
The update entered internal testing on September 6 with features like safety assist improvements, phone call optimizations, and a better trip planner. Of course, there were countless bug fixes, but this is expected. Another significant improvement was mentioned in the "handling and ride comfort" department, although Rivian did not offer more details on the change. As the first paying customers installed the update on their Rivians, we now have more information.
On September 14, the Rivian subreddit was filling with reports from owners overwhelmed by the improvements in ride comfort. The impressions unanimously confirm that the latest update has seriously refined the ride quality. Many people complained about their Rivian "bouncing" or "porpoising" while driving, especially over uneven roads. Now, this is gone, and people say their Rivian feels "like a boat."
This is the third software update that promises improvements to the ride quality, but it's the first that actually impressed people. The update softened the suspension, which made some people cheer, but others were less impressed. Die-hard truck drivers already used to a bumpier ride consider the new setup too soft.
Whether you like it or not, the fact that Rivian can change their vehicles' behavior with a line of code is impressive. Previously, if you didn't like the suspension setup, you bought new dampers and springs. Now, you can change everything for free with a software update. Isn't it great?