Rivian's Latest Update Bricks Users' Infotainment Systems, And The Fix May Not Be Easy

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Rivian truck in parking lot at the dealership

A representative of the EV manufacturer Rivian has announced on Reddit that a recent software update it shipped out was defective. Rivian's Vice President of Software Engineering, Wassim Bensaid, told the Rivian subreddit that the flawed 2023.42 over-the-air (OTA) update was delivered due to "a fat finger where the wrong build with the wrong security certificates was sent out."

The spokesperson returned to the thread later to specify that the error affected the infotainment system. Many users confirmed this in the comments, reporting that their infotainment system was not turning on at all. Electrek contacted the company and confirmed that the issue affected Rivian R1S and R1T model vehicles. This means Rivian's feature-rich Amazon delivery vans were in the clear.

However, according to the company, the fix isn't simple, as even a complete system reboot would not remedy the error. As a result, the company decided to cancel "the campaign and will restart it with the proper software that went through the different campaigns of beta testing." The spokesperson added that it would contact those impacted by the error and assist them, which may require an affected owner to bring the car in for a physical repair. Some commenters speculated that the fix would need to be deployed in person because the infotainment system may be unable to read or receive data after receiving the faulty update.

An inconvenient situation for Rivian owners

Rivian trucks in a parking lot

Rivian owners in the thread reported that the vehicle was still drivable despite the bricked infotainment system, noting that the brake lights, blinkers, headlights, and blind spot monitoring were still working. One user even found a way to adjust the climate control settings without the screen.

Still, not everyone will find it safe to drive the vehicle without the infotainment system functioning, especially since the speedometer is built into the interface. So, without the screen functioning, drivers can't tell how fast they are going. It also means that quality-of-life features such as HVAC, Nav, and listening to media are unavailable. This would undoubtedly affect one user in the thread who stated that they had to drive 300 miles the next day. 

Many Rivian owners in the thread criticized the company for only posting on Reddit, arguing that emailing the affected customers would be more appropriate. This makes sense, as not all Rivian owners may know the company's Reddit community. They also felt that the company should have expressed what customers should do with their vehicles while they wait or told them when they are expected to hear back from the support team.

As of this writing, it has been over twelve hours since the initial announcement, and there has been no further update from the EV company.

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