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A Car That's Signaling the End to Recalls

Software will update your airbags on-the-go.


What do we want from the next-generation of connected car? How about it fixes itself? It may sound far-fetched, but advancements are being made to enable just that.

For example, Harman, a company that engineers connected products for automotive companies, recently introduced its Software Update Gateway with go-to-market partner NXP Semiconductors. The NXP secured gateway processors, embedded with the Harman update management technology will enable every electronic control unit (ECU), regardless of memory, CPU or network resource to receive secure over the air (OTA) updates.

In the past, updating ECUs in the car required a recall. And, today, OTA updates are delivered only to the infotainment and telematics systems. Now, all ECUs, such as those running advanced driver assisted systems (ADAS), brakes and airbags, can be updated--eliminating the need for OEMs to issue a physical recall, the companies said in a press release.

In addition, the software gateway can be installed on any car network gateway using NXP’s secured gateway processors eliminating direct contact with the Internet-connected telematics unit – a feature that greatly enhances the security of all OTA updates.

So, what does this mean? Well, you know how your computer or gaming console is automatically updated when a software upgrade is needed. In the future, the connected car will know when it’s in need of a “tune-up,” and, if a fault comes up, it may be delivered to a big data center where information is delivered to the dealer—before you even know what’s going on.

According to an article in Digital Trends, which references research from IHS Automotive, OTA could greatly reduce warranty costs, increase overall completion rates for software-related recalls, and improve overall customer satisfaction by decreasing trips to the dealership. In addition, OTA updates could save automakers up to $35 billion by 2022.

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