Although there are numerous factors driving this growth, the largest catalysts appear to be an evolving consumer base, eco-friendly government interventions and technological advancements making the production of EV’s more economically viable. In response to these market developments, pure-EV and legacy car manufacturers are pushing forward ambitious initiatives to make electrification a core component of their long-term growth strategy.
Over-the-air (OTA) technology is critical to both facilitating and maximizing the rewards of electrification. This is because the modern electric car runs on central computing systems powered by millions of lines of code. OTA solutions can seamlessly, securely, and cost-effectively manage these software components through wireless monitoring.
Now, you might be wondering, “how does it work?” The OTA cloud service communicates with enabled vehicles through a secure network infrastructure, utilizing a content delivery network (CDN) to ensure that every vehicle is running the latest software version, together with the optimal settings and configurations. Within the remote server, a wide range of repositories and services can be stored (firmware, software and application packages, device settings and configurations, profiles and more) providing the car manufacturer’s developers a workspace for all software updates.
This form of management is particularly valuable for electric vehicles (EVs), where software is omnipresent in nearly every element of the vehicle. The bidirectional communication between the cloud and the vehicle results in important vehicle data that can be securely forwarded from the cars to the cloud. Such data streams can be used to analyze the overall health of the vehicle, to trigger real-time alerts, and in other offline use cases. The well-established OTA data pipeline has been integrated into connected cars for years and is also leveraged by automakers for some types of secured data collection, for example battery consumption historical data.
Studies have shown that consumers identify battery range as a prominent concern with EV adoption. OTA solutions address this through precision data collection. Upon various onboard events (e.g., on every ignition-on or crossing mileage threshold), or on a per-request from the backend (ad-hoc or recurring), data regarding battery consumption can be collected and sent to a central cloud server. This information can then be processed and made available for a manual analysis by data scientists. It can also used for automatic analysis via dedicated artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) algorithms, to derive actionable insights that inform software and configuration adjustments. These are meant to optimize battery performance and catch potential failures preemptively, as well as improve parts acquisition and service scheduling processes. In the longer term, the gathering of real-world data can feed critical processes by providing car manufacturers and battery suppliers with a roadmap for research and development, sales strategies, and broader initiatives to enhance the customer experience.
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Senior Manager, Product Management at HARMAN International
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