Recently, Tesla officially pushed the latest OTA upgrade, which is a good thing for car owners, after all, more functions can be obtained through the upgrade. However, the content of this OTA upgrade is confusing to car owners. Not only do they need to pay for the upgrade, but the owners also learn that their cars have already installed hardware with related functions, which is the so-called paid to unlock related functions…
The OTA released by Tesla this time is upgraded to the rear seat heating function. If it is only a simple payment for the manufacturer to install it, I believe that most car owners will be able to accept it, but Tesla actually gave the hardware function in advance. Hidden, and later told users that they can “pay to unlock”. This operation is also an anecdote in the automotive industry.
Tesla officially stated that through the OTA upgrade, the owner’s rear seat heating function can be turned on remotely, thereby achieving an improvement in the configuration experience.
So the problem is that when users buy a car, all the hardware facilities are installed in the car, but the user does not actually know that there is such a function in the car. If it is not through OTA upgrade, users may never know that there is this seat heating function.
Let’s not talk about Tesla’s OTA upgrade routines for the time being, let’s first solve a very important question: Why can car companies upgrade their vehicles through OTA? What is the principle? What impact will this upgrade have on our cars?
The role of OTA function
OTA (Ovre the Air Technology) over-the-air download technology, which is what we often call cloud technology, upgrades system programs through wireless transmission. Our commonly used computer patch downloads, mobile phone system updates and upgrades, etc., all belong to a mode of OTA upgrade.
On the vehicles with OTA upgrade function, the owner does not need to go to the 4S shop to upgrade the vehicle software, just keep the vehicle connected to the Internet and download the upgrade package for installation to complete the upgrade. Currently, OTA upgrades are mostly applied to smart pure electric vehicles and models equipped with smart connected vehicle systems.
At the same time, there are two types of automotive OTA upgrade functions. One is FOTA (Firmware over the air), which refers to downloading a complete firmware image to a device or ECU memory, or repairing existing firmware and updating flash memory. .
FOTA can deeply change the vehicle control system, management system and performance, which is the so-called vehicle OTA, and the range of updates is more comprehensive. For example, it can upgrade the vehicle’s electric door pedal to make acceleration more comfortable, and upgrade the battery’s cruising range to allow the vehicle to travel further.
SOTA (Software over the air, software online upgrade), auto manufacturers can upgrade only by sending the parts of the vehicle that need to be modified. For example, the operation interface and themes, maps and other applications of the multimedia system are upgraded through SOTA.
All in all, compared with SOTA, FOTA has a higher technical gold content and is more challenging.
OTA does not just improve performance
The method of automobile OTA upgrade is generally to connect the vehicle to a network and perform an online upgrade, or download an offline data package to perform the upgrade, thereby improving the configuration function and power performance of the vehicle.
Take the power system of a new energy vehicle as an example. In order to avoid over discharge and overcharge of the battery, car companies usually reserve a certain amount of redundant power for the battery in the battery management system, and set a certain amount of redundant space. In the later stage, the vehicle can be upgraded remotely through OTA, which can compress the redundant space and redundant power of the battery, which increases the actual available capacity of the battery.
At the configuration level, like NIO’s remote upgrade through OTA, the new charging limit setting, automatic emergency braking function, etc. G3 remote upgrade through OTA, optimizes the automatic driving function, and adds ATC adaptive corners Cruise and so on. These new or optimized functions through OTA remote upgrade have effectively improved the safety performance of electric vehicles.
For automakers, auto OTA upgrades also help them solve many malfunctions and save a lot of investment costs.
Taking troubleshooting as an example, traditional manufacturers generally establish a large number of after-sales service points to ensure that users’ vehicles can be resolved in time. With the use of automotive OTA upgrades, software failures can basically be resolved through automotive OTA upgrades, saving a lot of after-sales service costs.
If the car does not have the OTA upgrade function, when a large-scale user vehicle has a system failure or software problem, if the situation is not serious, it is only a complaint at most. However, if the failure has a greater impact, the manufacturer will carry out a large-scale batch recall. A company’s brand image and cost input will have a very large impact. With the auto OTA upgrade function, system defects can be repaired remotely and quickly, which greatly avoids problems in this regard.
The car OTA upgrade function can also provide a more high-quality configuration experience, just like when Tesla Model S was in production, many configuration hardware was pre-installed in the vehicle in advance, and it appeared that at the beginning of the article, you need to pay to turn on the rear seat heating. Functional situation.
In general, the biggest benefit of remote car OTA upgrade is that it is convenient and fast, which allows car owners to obtain the optimization of the functions and performance of the updated car online, while reducing maintenance costs for car companies.
OTA upgrade has pros and cons
However, there are some drawbacks in the auto OTA upgrade function, that is, it involves users’ right to know about safety issues. For example, if a manufacturer sends a repair program to a car through an OTA upgrade, the user never knows what safety issues the car has in it, or whether the problem will cause a malfunction or accident.
Car OTA upgrades are different from computer and mobile phone system upgrades. For general computer or mobile phone software upgrades, the specific repairs and performance improvements will be explained one by one when the manufacturer pushes the upgrade. However, car OTA upgrades are selective notifications, and sometimes users do not know which functions are upgraded.
In addition, network security is also a problem that car companies have to overcome when deploying OTAs. If hackers break through the safety net, seize the loopholes and attack, then vehicles with OTAs will lose control and a large number of traffic accidents will occur.
Of course, regarding network security, there are already security companies that use end-to-end network security solutions to protect cars from hacker attacks throughout their entire life cycle. Security vulnerabilities can be safely and reliably detected and quickly repaired through software OTA upgrades.
From the beginning of Tesla’s birth, OTA has been available, and now all car companies have begun to release models with OTA upgrade functions for the entire vehicle. Until today, OTA upgrade can be said to have become the trump card in the hands of car companies, and even the only way for car companies to transform and build smart cars. With OTA upgrades, cars can continue to “evolve” and give users an upgraded car experience, which is also the current trend of smart car development.