Research analysis
Digitimes Research: Automotive OTA upgrade sees huge potential demand
Chen Yow-heng, DIGITIMES Research, Taipei
Monday 20 November 2017

There is large potential demand for OTA (over the air) upgrading of firmware/software for in-car electronic devices because car owners need not drive to maintenance shops merely for such upgrading, according to Digitimes Research.

Automotive OTA upgrade is just burgeoning, for only 10% of automakers worldwide have had cars equipped with OTA upgrade functions, Digitimes Research indicated. This is because, unlike OTA upgrade for smartphones, tablets and PCs, hardware and software architectures as well as software codes used in cars are complicated and so is automotive OTA upgrade.

Currently, automotive OTA upgrade is mostly for upgrading TCU (telematics control unit), IVI (in-vehicle infortainment), ADAS (advanced driver assistance system) and power transmission systems. Tesla has led in automotive OTA upgrade.

While smartphone-use service providers are interested in stepping into automotive OTA upgrade, OTA upgrade for cars is highly complicated. For example, there may be more than 100 models of electronic control units, and the hardware/software architectures and software codes may vary from model to model.

To address the complexity, automotive OTA upgrade providers have come up with solutions, including automotive electronic devices in conformity to architectures that enable automatic OTA upgrade, shortening OTA upgrade files and/or time, encrypting and differentiating OTA upgrade for information security, categorizing software at servers first and then delivering data corresponding to OTA to cars for upgrade.

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