GOFAR is producing a new version of the hardware.
- The new units have similar functionality but we have upgraded to newer components wherever possible.
- We've rebuilt the bluetooth stack from scratch (we were previously using a pre-compiled module).
- Older units will still work as normal and will remain fully supported. :-)
- In parallel we've been doing (and will continue to do) some major upgrades to the back end system that supports all the data in the cloud
- Alongside the hardware changes, we've made a number of other simultaneous changes such as introducing more eco-friendly packaging with 43% less packaging.
WHEN WILL I GET MY ORDER?
As of now (July 25th) all hardware and firmware testing has been completed, production is completed, and the units are in Sydney (in customs).
They should have cleared yesterday and be on their way to our warehouse but it seems to be taking a little longer so we expect them in our warehouse on Friday (26th) and we'll ship on Monday (29th) and customers should start receiving units on Tuesday (30th). We don't totally control the customs process but we shouldn't be held up too much longer and thereafter it's all within our control.
Our other main task at this point is that we are updating the back end server to handle the new version of hardware. This back end project has been underway for a couple of months and we've successfully deployed the new code to pre-staging, then to staging, then to pre-production and now we're deploying to production (today).
It shouldn't affect any customers - more of a backstage manoeuvre.
WHAT'S HAPPENED SO FAR? WHAT'S NEXT?
Below are our best estimates of what's happening when.
- Completed New Printed Circuit Board design
- Completed New components selected
- Completed Prototype created and firmware updated
- Completed Prototype and firmware successfully tested
- Completed All pre-production testing is completed
- Completed FCC EMC testing has been completed and past.
- Completed First Production Run - 60 printed circuit boards printed (7th May)
- Completed First Production Run - manufacturing assembly (10th May)
- Completed First Production Run - Each unit individually tested
Completed - New eco-friendly packaging arrives
- Completed - New back end code working on Pre Staging server
- Completed - Desk testing and in car testing in Sydney
- Completed - PCBs for full production run ordered
Completed - update multiple test jigs to ensure we can parallel process assembly making it quicker
Completed - Release new back end cloud code set to staging in preparation for new units
Completed - Produce circuit boards for full production run (1-2 days)
- Completed - New back end code working on Staging server
Completed - Hand assemble 10 units for in car testing
Completed - Full end to end in car testing in Taiwan
- Completed - New back end code working on Pre-Production server
Completed - Assemble full production run
- Completed - Each unit individually tested post assembly (as ever)
Completed - Full end to end in car testing in Australia
Completed - Package units
Completed - Shrink-wrap all units to protect them in transit (takes place off site)
Completed - Express courier from Taipei to Sydney
UNDERWAY - Release new back end code and firmware to production so that new units will send store data in cloud smoothly
UNDERWAY - Clear customs
To do - Express ship to Sydney warehouse
To do - Express ship from warehouse to customer addresses
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com any time. We nearly always respond within 24 hours (and on average in 12:37 hours).
- We'll keep this question updated too. (Last updated Friday 25th July)
If you want a refund you have only to ask and we will refund immediately.
Anyone who purchased express shipping is being automatically refunded for that - and we've turned it off for now.
We do hope you'll hold on a bit longer and if you do we'll ship in order, and whilst there should be no issues fulfilling all current outstanding orders, we do recommend that you keep your slot in the queue. All customers will receive a free upgrade to express shipping to ensure they get their units as soon as possible.
WHY HAS THIS TAKEN SO LONG?
A few reasons.
It's not a trivial task producing a new hardware product and we're not a huge team.
We're changing a lot of things at once. We're producing a new version with updated software and hardware components and an upgraded PCB design.
We have also completely overhauled the bluetooth stack from scratch. Previously we were using a bought in module that handled all bluetooth functions and it had certain limitations we wanted to avoid. (The bluetooth connection has been marvellously reliable in testing).
We wanted backward compatibility to look after existing customers.
Some of the early delay was that it just took a lot of time testing all the components we upgraded and we're a small team of 6 engineers.
Plus we do take a very cautious approach to engineering for both engineering and customer reasons.
Finally just when we thought we were on the home run after completing all the prototyping successfully and completing the first production run of 50 units we discovered a bug. We worked through that and pushed to full production and then discovered another bug. These were worrying times until we could confirm that the bugs were both just software issues (which they were!)
The first bug pushed us back about 5 weeks from May into June, and was down to finding a bug in testing after we started production of the first 50 units. Finding a bug at this stage is an issue because we had to be certain it was a software bug and not a hardware issue. After investigating we found it was indeed a software bug and we worked through a fix and have released that.
The bug interrupted the bluetooth connection at times during a drive so it was important to fix.
We've since tested this fix and both the hardware is working fine (still) and now the software is 100% too so we're good to go to full production.
Then, after full production our very in-depth testing found a second bug - but again the hardware was fine and it was just a software bug that we've also fixed. (It made the set up difficult on first attempt so it was important to fix it).
We could have taken a chance with the first bug and ordered all the components and the new circuit boards (and as it turned out we would have been fine), but for a small and new company like we are that felt too big a risk to take. Similarly with the second bug we could have pushed on and fixed the software in parallel whilst producing and shipping but again, we think it's crucial to release product when it's at the right quality level technically and from an engineering perspective.
There've been a few other minor time losses - such as finding a more efficient way to wind and pack the cable so that assembly works more smoothly - but we've just worked through all challenges and will continue to do so.
We're really sorry the new version has taken so long. We definitely know it's frustrating.
We've put thousands of hours into this because it's crucial to get it to the right level.
Looking ahead, it's going to provide a great platform for our core features (mileage logging, tax tracking, car error detection, fuel saving algorithms and road safety algorithms.
Thanks for bearing with us.
Ian, Danny, Szymon, Damian, Bikash, Artur, Al, Kat, Matt, Jeremy