HERE Technologies announced the launch of a new over-the-air (OTA) solution for automakers to use in connected vehicles. HERE OTA Connect resolves a critical problem: ensuring that data, software and firmware can be transferred between the cloud and a vehicle securely to update and enhance vehicle functions.
Because it’s designed to integrate into the automaker’s backend and uses open-source technology, OTA Connect can be offered to automotive customers globally and avoids lock-in to specific vendors. Currently available as a standalone product, HERE plans to combine OTA Connect with its suite of automotive software and services in the coming months, and make the technology available for non-automotive applications, which could include robotics and drones.
An OTA update is the wireless delivery and installation of new data or software to connected devices. Although OTA technology has been used for years by mobile carriers as a means to update settings and software on phones in their network, the technology’s potential for connected and self-driving cars is only now being realized. Just like phones, computers and apps, these cars have code that requires frequent updates—but the complexity of their systems and safety requirements make perfecting updates much harder. A significant amount of software, including millions of lines of code, will be required as connected and autonomous vehicles chart new journeys and encounter new scenarios on the road. Automakers also use connected cars as gathering tools; they provide rich sources of data and feed this information to the automaker’s central system to improve overall functioning.
As conversations about connected and autonomous cars turn to safety standards and regulations, international law commissions and government bodies are working to make OTA compliance mandatory. The U.S. Department of Transportation, U.K. Department of Transport and the German BMVI are working on national-level legislation involving OTA updates. On a global level, the UN Task Force (UNECE WP29) is expected to issue a recommendation in mid-2018, with a resolution expected in 2019.
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