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Rivian Releases R1T Update to Prevent Unintended Shifts

Rivian's latest software update is meant to prevent unintended shifts in the R1T. We experienced this problem firsthand.

  • Our-long term Rivian R1T ground to a halt on the freeway.
  • The culprit? An accidental shift into neutral.
  • Rivian released an update to make that less likely in the future.

Our long-term Rivian R1T gave us a scare when it seemingly died on the freeway with a pair of Edmunds editors on board. After getting in touch with Rivian, the cause turned out to be an inadvertent shift into neutral, which is activated using the same right-side stalk that controls the R1T's adaptive cruise control.

The adaptive cruise had been activated less than a minute before the accidental shift into neutral but was deactivated by depressing the brake. The shift to neutral apparently occurred when the driver bumped the stalk up for just 0.2 second. That's literally quicker than the blink of an eye. Check out our Long-Term Rivian R1T Stopped Working on the Freeway article for our in-depth reporting on the matter.

Rivian subsequently took a look at its software and has since issued an update. We wanted to test the update and see if the concerns that arose from our scare on the 405 freeway have been addressed.

Rivian makes it harder to shift to neutral on the freeway

Here's the relevant text from software update 2022.39.03:

  • An increased delay before the vehicle shifts to Reverse or Neutral after Highway Assist or Adaptive Cruise Control ends. This prevents unintended shifts.
  • A new chime indicates immediate cancellation of Highway Assist.
  • A chime that indicates Highway Assist isn’t available is now louder so it’s easier to hear.

So, how does it work in the real world? With the update in place, you immediately notice the chime when engaging and disengaging various Highway Assist features, even at freeway speeds. Previously, the best operational indicator for Highway Assist or adaptive cruise was a blue circle on the electronic dash.

The key question for us was whether the update would make it harder to shift into neutral after canceling adaptive cruise control. Rivian doesn't specify how long it forces the R1T to wait before allowing you to engage a gear other than drive, so we decided to hop into the driver's seat and find out.

The verdict? About 3 seconds. Shifting into neutral must be done more deliberately as a result, though it can be done at speeds in excess of 25 mph. Still, that's a lot longer than 0.2 second.

Edmunds says

There's a fine line between growing pains and red flags when it comes to brand-new vehicles, and we're glad Rivian addressed this issue promptly.