Aside from the occasional map, infotainment, or telematics control unit update, most vehicles are frozen in time beyond their first manufacture. In addition, most of the software updates that are available need to be performed by a service center or through a at home computer with a thumb drive or SD card, which reduces the success rate of the update across the fleet. This is where over-the-air (OTA) updates come into play.
OTA updates have significant economic advantages owing to large cost savings compared with existing manual approaches. Since our last report in 2017, there has been mainstream market emergence of OTA updates in cars, particularly in the telematics and infotainment space. A major mainstream automaker, General Motors (GM) and Ford have announced that some of their vehicles will implement OTA core electronic control units (ECUs) updates within the next year, for instance. Along with these cutting-edge capabilities, dozens of automakers have adopted OTA updates for: maps, infotainment operating system, telematics firmware, and media applications, which are outlined throughout the report.
Colin Bird-Martinez is a senior analyst with IHS Markit, primarily focused on Software, Apps, and Services (SAS). Along with being a subject matter expert on SAS solutions – such as over-the-air (OTA) updates, cybersecurity and automotive software platforms — Bird-Martinez also manages IHS Markit’s consumer market research as it pertains to automotive technology behaviors and attitudes for new car intenders, with a specific focus on connected car, autonomous car, premium audio, and in-car user experience insights.
Prior to joining IHS Markit, Colin worked for Mintel, a market research firm, as an automotive analyst focusing on consumer behaviors and attitudes as it related to light-vehicle retailing, hybrids & EVs, motorcycles, vehicle financing, and auto service care, among other subjects. In addition to Mintel, he previously worked for Cars.com as an automotive editor in automotive research/media publishing.
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