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Over the Air (OTA) has become the new normal; updating OTA, though, is easier said than done, and there is a long way to go to achieve bi-weekly vehicle software updates. With KPIT’s deep understanding of both vehicle & software architecture and first-hand experience as a software integrator, we are well-positioned as a transformation partner to accelerate OEM’s OTA adoption.

Software is eating the world1. From being connected and elevating digital experiences to enhancing product reliability and improving performance, software today is no longer just another cog in the wheel of the automotive industry. It is a gamechanger in the way we interact with our vehicles.

Customers expect new-age vehicles to go beyond just being a means of commute and increasingly look for an enhanced experience. Autonomous vehicles will also drive the need to improve onboard software for safer mobility. As computing power replaces horsepower, millions of lines of code determine vehicle drivability, safety, comfort, efficiency, and entertainment. Increased software in the vehicle will also open new revenue opportunities for OEMs such as on-demand content and features and a pay-as-you-go model to access exciting features.

Continuous development, testing, and delivering improvements in software is critical to give consumers a safer and comfortable mobility experience, but this necessitates routine updating of the base software. Traditionally, this would happen at the dealerships, but this has implications like an inconvenience to take the car to the dealership, safety risk due to delays in addressing software fault, and issues like productivity lock-up at the dealership leading to higher recall cost. While remote vehicle updates – Over the Air (OTA) –become the new normal; updating OTA is easier said than done, and there is a long way to go to achieve bi-weekly vehicle software updates.

Complexities with OTA

Increasing In-Vehicle Software

A modern car is already estimated to have software comprising more than 100 million lines of code. The complexity and software content will only increase with the rise in connected and autonomous vehicles. While next-gen vehicle architecture aims at consolidating software into fewer ECUs, vehicles based on existing architecture will stay on the road for a considerable future. Thus, vehicles require a combination of sophisticated onboard processing power and the ability to perform secure software updates remotely.

Variant and Dependency Management

While it is much desired to keep the vehicle software updated, the reality can be quite different. OEMs face challenges and failures in software updates arising out of a range of practical issues- from the consent of vehicle owners to connectivity and operating conditions. OEMs may face a considerable number of vehicles at varying update levels in the field, making variant management an uphill task. Also, OEMs have a multiplexed ecosystem with a mix of standard and proprietary software components sourced from various suppliers across multiple vehicle models. Complex policies may be needed to roll out new software updates. Variant and software dependency management is the key to resolve complexities to execute successful OTA updates.

Software Architecture Enablement

In-vehicle software architecture combined with network architecture proves to be a limiting factor in performing vehicle-level software updates. Lack of coherent architecture across all participating ECUs makes it extremely difficult to achieve full vehicle updates spanning multiple ECUs. With the increase in software content and size of updates, existing strategies of flashing ECUs are proving to be hugely limiting – both in terms of the time it takes to perform an update and the ability to perform partial updates. Can you imagine a software update session lasting for more than an hour? An OTA update solution also needs to be customized to each nuance of the architecture.

Security

The constantly changing nature of cybersecurity breaches2 is a primary concern. A robust process does enable a better response to security issues or ‘customers’ manual updates. Every touchpoint identified in the software update process is a security concern and must be considered. Security touchpoints span’ from vehicle-side software and connectivity, users’’ devices, server-side, vehicle-side software and connectivity, users’ devices, server server-side, and security infrastructure, including authentication and authorization mechanisms.

UNECE WP.29 regulations (UN R155/R156) establish clear performance and audit requirements for vehicle manufacturers to tackle these risks further.

Segments for OTA

Despite these challenges, OTA updates for passenger cars are gaining ground. They will enable OEMs to provide a continuous refreshed experience and unlock newer revenue streams. Various other sectors3 – heavy industries, farming equipment, commercial vehicle, off-the-highway vehicles, two-wheelers4 – are queuing up, too. Omnipresent cloud technologies may overcome the physical inconveniences of updating these machines.

KPIT’s OTA Solution

With 20+ years of expertise in automotive software engineering, software integration, and an in-depth understanding of vehicle-software architecture, KPIT offers OEMs a production-proven, secure, and full-vehicle OTA software solution. Its USP lies in software integration services that help OEMs meet the goals of a tight schedule, high quality, and reliability for OTA adoption programs.

The solution encompasses:

In-Vehicle Components: With in-vehicle software components in production for more than 5+ million vehicles, from OTA update master to the bootloader, ‘KPIT’s embedded OTA client can readily perform full-vehicle as well as background updates of targeted ECU to install new firmware or a new head unit application for customers.

Cloud Backend: KPIT offers cloud-agnostic campaign management platform with production-proven backend components and variant & dependency management system. Platform features include secure package management, configurable campaign policies, a scalable campaign platform for staged update campaigns, and easy integration with OEM backend systems.

End-to-End Secure Platform: KPIT has built a highly secure OTA update solution with an industry-standard Uptane security framework adopted by leading carmakers.

Sharing KPIT’s OTA Update Experiences

KPIT has played the key role of software integrator for OEMs to make successful OTA updates for infotainment units and multiple ECUs. KPIT’s comprehensive and mature OTA update solutions, thorough understanding of stages in OTA adoption, and software integration capabilities are helping OEMs leverage new business opportunities.

With our deep understanding of both vehicle and software architecture and first-hand experience as a software integrator to deliver OTA update capability on time and with robust quality, KPIT is well-positioned as a transformation partner to accelerate OEM’s OTA adoption.

References

1. https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424053111903480904576512250915629460

2. https://stackoverflow.blog/2020/12/14/security-considerations-for-ota-software-updates-for-iot-gateway-
devices/

3. https://www.futurebridge.com/blog/over-the-air-software-updates-reaping-benefits-for-the-automotive-
industry/

4. https://kpit.com/insights/riding-into-the-future-with-safe-connected-two-wheelers/



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