Auto technology has come a long way since the Model-T, but in the same way early vehicles required mechanical tune-ups, today’s modern cars—with 30 to 100 computers—need software maintenance and optimization. Using the same technology it uses to keep the software in its smartphones updated, BlackBerry is now working with car manufacturers to update vehicle software via wireless networks, known as over-the-air (OTA) communication.
Auto makers around the world are eager to adopt OTA technology as it can truly transform the vehicle experience—enabling and simplifying the delivery of new, compelling features to their customers long after the initial sale. Software updates can refresh a vehicle with new features and services as they become available, keeping the car up to date with the latest upgrades and capabilities. Drivers will also save time as system updates are delivered seamlessly and securely without the need to schedule maintenance appointments. And vehicle owners are just as enthusiastic. Last year, a Gartner survey revealed that 40 percent of owners would “definitely want to get” or were at least “likely to get” the ability for wireless software updates in a new car.
The backbone for millions of infotainment and embedded automobile computing systems is QNX Software Systems, a small but powerful operating system. It’s the dynamic combination of OTA and QNX that is making cars “smarter” and changing the way drivers interact with their vehicles. QNX-based digital instrument clusters combine virtual speedometers with navigation displays, backup cameras, and other content to provide drivers with the most appropriate information for every drive mode or road condition. The software also enables car infotainment systems to connect seamlessly to Bluetooth phones, MP3 players, USB sticks, and a variety of other devices and services.
QNX and OTA solutions that can offer a secure, cloud-based service free manufacturers from the complexity and overhead of creating and maintaining their own internal OTA infrastructure so they can focus on what they do best—enhancing the driver’s experience. It’s clear we’re entering a new era of mobile computing in which mobile end points can be connected securely to create innovative opportunities that enhance vehicle security and the driver’s experience. Whatever software systems roll out next, drivers are sure to be in for an exciting ride.
What sorts of updates would you like your car to get via OTA updates? Let us know in the comments.