Facepalm: Internet-connected autos are increasingly more common, affording owners amenities that would otherwise be impossible to enjoy on the road. They also come with their fair share of headaches as one BMW owner recently discovered.

Clare Eliza recently posted on Twitter that she was unable to complete a remote software upgrade on her BMW i4 because, according to an on-screen notification, the road was too steep to start the installation process. The infotainment system recommended parking the vehicle on level ground before trying again.

There doesn't seem to be a way to manually override the feature, say if you were using wheel chocks to prevent accidental rollaway.

A BMW spokesperson told The Drive that the i4 has all sorts of sensors so it can understand its orientation, which allows it to know when it is on an incline. "It's likely a catchall, every-worst-case-no-matter-how-unlikely scenario safety precaution to try to prevent any chance of the vehicle moving should the programming be interrupted or go wrong," the rep added.

BMW further noted the following prerequisites that must be met to complete an update on the vehicle:

  • The vehicle needs to be in an active remote software upgrade campaign
  • The download needs to be completed, which is fully automatic when connected to the internet via cellular or BMW Connected App
  • It must have sufficient battery charge level
  • The vehicle cannot be parked on an incline
  • The transmission must be in Park
  • The engine, if it has one, must be turned off

In fairness, similar requirements for creating a safe software updating environment likely also exist for other connected EVs. Still, it sounds a bit inconvenient, especially if you live or regularly park on a hill.

It also brings up a valid question that many no doubt grapple with: are new vehicles too advanced for their own good? By that I mean, do the benefits of Internet connectivity for your car outweigh the inconveniences brought about by situations like this? Were vehicles better off before they became rolling computers that can be bricked or hacked?

Have you experienced similar limitations when trying to install an OTA update in your vehicle?