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Why legacy automakers wrestle with OTA updates

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Why legacy automakers wrestle with OTA updates

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

To save lots of prices, Ford farmed out improvement of car management modules, which govern the operation of the whole lot 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 in opposition to 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, in response to 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 inner combustion autos lack the required software program expertise, whereas devoted software program engineers lack expertise with safety-critical automotive techniques, Farley stated, citing this as a cause for the corporate’s 2022 enterprise cut 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 fashion. For a few of the earliest clients, Ford additionally enabled its BlueCruise driver-assist system via an OTA replace after buy. However different automakers have been extra nimble with OTA updates.

Whereas some remembers nonetheless require a service middle go to, Tesla has been capable of get rid of 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 autos. Jaguar, in the meantime, confirmed the chances for legacy automakers with an OTA replace to battery power management module software program addressing battery hearth considerations.

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