Rivian bricks infotainment systems in 'fat finger' fiasco

Ruh-roh, where did the aircon go?

Updated Some drivers of American electric vehicle brand Rivian found themselves on an unexpectedly silent ride at unknown speeds after infotainment and instrument systems failed this week.

The manufacturer took to Reddit to update customers on what went wrong – the hyper-technical condition prone to cause IT errors known as a "fat finger."

"We made an error with the 2023.42 OTA update – a fat finger where the wrong build with the wrong security certificates was sent out," explained Rivian.

The infotainment system and in some cases the instruments were affected on a number of R1T and R1S vehicles. The cars were still driveable, just potentially less enjoyable without climate control, music, and the assurance of adherence to speed limits.

"A vehicle reset or sleep cycle will not solve the issue," said the vehicle maker.

The manufacturer explained that it had cancelled the OTA campaign and would restart with proper software. Rivian announced that the team had developed a solution, which was expected to be ready by Wednesday.

Unfortunately, for some customers affected by the issue, updates alone may not suffice, meaning a trip to receive physical repairs.

Some Redditors offered empathy. "I once deleted shark week. True story. They had to get the site from backups," said one.

"At least they didn't blame an intern," commented another less generous observer.

A few asked for heads to roll, such as one owner questioning why there was not A/B firmware architecture, who didn't seem appeased even after Rivian booked a rental car on their behalf.

"This kind of stuff is unacceptable on a 100k car," wrote another owner.

But mostly the Redditors just wanted their vehicles fixed or came to offer advice and assist in troubleshooting.

"For those in cold/hot weather, you can at least pre-set and pre-heat/cool your vehicle even without the infotainment – at least if yours ended up in the same state that mine did," said one.

Rivian's decision to post the information to Reddit rather than on their website is curious. The company said in the post that it was contacting affected owners via email and text. The EV maker's website does include a chat feature, but in The Reg's experience, to get any details on infotainment system outages the inquirer will need to have a user account.

The Register has contacted Rivian to better understand these decisions and the corrective rollout.

Rivian is far from the only manufacturer to suffer infotainment system woes. In August, Ford warned that its SYNC 3 infotainment was susceptible to drive-by Wi-Fi hijacking. That scenario, however, was corrected by an OTA update. ®

Updated to add at 0120 UTC, November 16

Rivian has responded to our request for comment as follows:

Our customers' experience matters tremendously to us. We're making an over-the-air update available for an R1T and R1S infotainment issue that will restore full functionality to the 3 percent of Rivian vehicles that were impacted. From here, we're deeply evaluating our process and quality checks to prevent this from happening again.

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