September 29, 2023


Only Automotive

Why legacy automakers battle with OTA updates

2 min read

Tesla pioneered over-the-air (OTA) software program updates as a handy method so as to add new options and repair points. Legacy automakers have been gradual to catch up—and there is a motive for that, says Ford CEO Jim Farley.

To avoid wasting prices, Ford farmed out improvement of car management modules, which govern the operation of all the pieces from engines to seat adjusters, to suppliers like Bosch, Farley explains on a current episode of the Absolutely Charged Present podcast, beginning across the 25-minute mark. This permits Ford to pit suppliers towards every in aggressive bidding, saving about $500 per car produced, however means Ford should use a provider’s software program for a given module.

2023 Ford F-150 Lightning

2023 Ford F-150 Lightning


“They do not speak to one another,” Farley stated. “So regardless that it says ‘Ford’ on the entrance, I’ve to go to Bosch and get permission to alter their seat-control software program.”

The suppliers personal the software program in modules they provide to Ford, and the sheer variety of suppliers—about 150, based on Farley—makes managing car software program tough.

Ford is making an attempt to deal with this by fully in-sourcing its next-generation electrical structure, Farley stated, and writing extra software program in-house. However that presents its personal problem. Engineers used to engaged on earlier generations of inside combustion automobiles lack the mandatory software program expertise, whereas devoted software program engineers lack expertise with safety-critical automotive programs, Farley stated, citing this as a motive for the corporate’s 2022 enterprise break up into EV and non-EV passenger-car items. 

Ford started a shift to OTA updates with the Mustang Mach-E electrical crossover, and has added options like enhanced Amazon Alexa voice controls this manner. For a few of the earliest clients, Ford additionally enabled its BlueCruise driver-assist system by way of an OTA replace after buy. However different automakers have been extra nimble with OTA updates.

Whereas some remembers nonetheless require a service heart go to, Tesla has been in a position to remove the necessity for a lot of by importing new software program. Lucid even narrowed a recall pool with a bit of software program pushed to its automobiles. Jaguar, in the meantime, confirmed the chances for legacy automakers with an OTA replace to battery vitality management module software program addressing battery fireplace issues.

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