Coming Soon: Regular Software Updates For Your Car

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Just like your smartphone, your car may soon be able to get regular software updates to fix problems, improve performance, and to add new features. According to The Detroit Free Press, by 2022, more than 200 million vehicles around the world will be able to get over-the-air software updates according to ABI Research, a company which studies technology trends.

Nearly one-third of the defects that lead to recalls might be fixed with an over-the-air software update, resolving problems without having to make a trip to the dealership, which saves the car owner money, while also saving automakers up to $6 billion a year. “Streaming updates to cars is going to be a big play for the auto industry,” said Scott Frank, marketing vice president of Airbiquity, a Seattle-based company specializing in connected-car services. “It’s central to a lot of new things we’re working on. Phones and TVs are already updateable. Your car will be, too.”

The number of features that could possibly be affected are suprising. According to The Detroit Free Press, the first steps will include connecting to the cloud for entertainment and security functions, but Frank says nearly every aspect of how vehicles operate will be affected. Many updates that now require a trip to the dealer for a software flash, like the addition of Apple CarPlay in a car that was originally sold without it, will be handled by beaming new software to the vehicle. Software-only recalls, which would be the perfect candidates for streaming updates, affected 3.3 million vehicles in the U.S. last year. That’s nearly 5 times the number of vehicles that were affected in 2014, which is a trend that is likely to continue as vehicles add more software and electronics. Updates will include fixes, new security to keep up with would-be hackers, and adding new features.

“Adding features and improving performance post-purchase is a game-changer for the industry,” Frank said. Potential examples include new transmission programming to increase fuel economy, updated navigation information, and new infotainment apps."
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The service will also make new levels of service and repairs possible. A good example would be how to deal with going over a nail or something sharp in the road. This of course would be seen as a negative inconvenience to any driver, but Frank sees an opportunity to build customer loyalty. “First, the car sends a warning message that you’re losing tire pressure,” he said. “The car could look for nearby service dealers and centers, download coupons, make an appointment and tell you that service is waiting for you 20 minutes down the road. The car is made intelligent by the data and analytics we can offer through the cloud. It improves your experience as an owner.” Frank says that vehicles capable of all these functions should be available by 2020.

These software updates could help prevent many accidents by fixing issues and bugs that could prevent your vehicle from not working properly. However, just as software can be updated, it can also malfunction or be hacked. Have you or anyone you know has been injured in a car accident due to faulty car software? If so, call The Michigan Law Firm today. Our attorneys are highly experienced in dealing with all types of motor vehicle accidents. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM, for a free consultation.