Unlike Tesla Motors, General Motors will not use ‘over-the-air’ to update software on its vehicles, for safety-critical vehicle systems.
The “over-the-air” method for distributing new software updates and configuration settings is widely used across almost all industries, being adopted for some time now by automakers also, to bring improvements to their cars’ software. Nevertheless, there are some areas where such a method is not quite indicated to be adopted. General Motor’s product development chief said the automaker would not use “over-the-air’ upgrades”, for safety-critical vehicle systems such as brakes. Tesla is one of the automakers which has used over-the-air upgrades to bring significant new features to its cars, including the Autopilot system that allows Tesla Model S to steer itself on the highway. The electric maker wanted to point out it developed vehicles “with the highest standards of safety in every respect.” It added that its over-the-air software updates not only add new features, but can also quickly correct problems when necessary.
Mark Reuss, head of GM’s global product development, said the company planned to expand the use of over-the-air upgrades as it adopted a new electrical architecture for its vehicles over the next several years. However, “we would never use over-the-air upgrades for vehicle systems such as braking or steering,” Reuss said. Speaking at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, he added that GM’s new electrical architecture would be “ever more safe” from a data security standpoint and allow for additional upgrades.