What's Working and What's Not After Rivian Botched the 2023.42 Software Update

Rivian owners are still in shock after their vehicles received a faulty software update on Monday. While Rivian is working on a solution that might arrive today, it's worth knowing that not all vehicle functions are impacted by the soft brick. Here's what's working and what's not on affected vehicles.
Rivian failed the 2023.42 update 12 photos
Photo: @RivianSoftware via X
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The beauty of over-the-air software updates is that you can have a fresh new car almost every time a major update is installed. It also allows carmakers to solve many vehicle issues without scheduling a service appointment for a physical recall. The downside is that, sometimes, updates can cause more harm than good in case something goes wrong. However rare, these instances do occur. In that case, you can be locked out of your vehicle, which is not a very pleasant situation.

On Monday, Rivian owners received a new software update that was supposed to improve many aspects of their ownership, as many times before. The 2023.42 software update introduced a better Phone as a Key experience and many bug fixes. Although the update did well in internal testing, it soft-bricked customers' vehicles who rushed to install it. The update would stall at 90%, leaving the cars with non-functional infotainment systems. Thankfully, most critical functions work, so the vehicles can still be driven.

Many owners complained about the lack of communication from Rivian, although the company's software chief, Wassym Bensaid, explained the situation on Reddit. Rivian also sent emails to affected owners, although it did so quite late, on Tuesday afternoon. While some owners discovered on their own that they could still drive their Rivians, they did not know whether it was safe. Since then, the communication has improved, with Rivian stating that the vehicles are safe to drive until the startup finds a solution.

The vehicles can still be shifted into gear, backup cameras show up, and various other functions work. However, many functions that are accessed via the infotainment screen are unavailable. These include climate controls and safety assistance systems like Adaptive Cruise Control and Driver+. In some cases, you can still change these settings via the Rivian app. Climate control is one of them, but you must do it before entering the vehicle. The Rivian app can also be used for other functions, such as lock and unlock, closure control, and others.

Based on the most recent communication, Rivian has identified a solution and will roll it out on Wednesday. Hopes are high that it will be offered over the air without the customers needing to go to a service center. However, Wassym Bensaid warned that, in some cases, a physical repair might be required. Since Rivian Service Centers are few and far between, some users might have to travel long distances with a partly functional vehicle and no driver assistance systems.

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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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