General Motors plans to begin over-the-air software updates on its products by 2020, according to CEO Mary Barra. Meanwhile, companies such as Tesla have been pushing out software updates directly to its cars since 2015.
Traditional automakers have lagged behind in this arena, largely because of legacy electrical architectures that make OTA updates difficult. In recent years GM has pushed updates to its OnStar platform via the airwaves, but updates such as infotainment software have still required a dealership visit or a download to a USB drive.
Months ago GM had “OTA updates” listed as a feature change on some of the 2018 Cadillac model listed on its internal order guide. That feature has sense been removed.
Nonetheless, Automotive News is reporting that Barra has drawn the line in the sand that their products will have OTA updates by 2020.
Not only do OTA software updates eliminate customer hassle, but they are considered imperative for semi-autonomous vehicles. For example, Cadillac’s own Super Cruise system utilizes a LiDar mapping database (versus a LiDar on the car). OTA updates will be required to update this critical database routinely.
Barra did not elaborate on which products GM would roll OTA updates out on first.