Over-the-Air Updates for cars without modems from smartphones, coming

Smartlink2xMovimento and Abalta Technologies announced that they are working together to enable vehicles without embedded modems receive over-the-air (OTA) software updates. This global solution,  combines the Movimento OTA Platform with Abalta’s SmartLink technology on an OEM headunits.

The car is increasingly defined by software but according to Business Insider, only 40 percent of all connected cars expected on the road in 2020 – some 220 million worldwide – will have their connected services activated.

“It’s important for OEMs to have a way to update software—even on vehicles without embedded modems—so that they can continually improve vehicle functionality, issue security patches, and avoid recalls,” said Ben Hoffman, Movimento CEO. “Otherwise too many cars will remain static throughout their functional lifetimes, which will be problematic both in terms of safety and user experience.”

A big advantage of the Movimento-Abalta solution lies in its flexibility and the cost savings it offers to OEMs. “Large scale updates can be problematic to push out due to the cost incurred by the OEM,” explained Michael O’Shea, Abalta CEO. “With our combined solution, OEMs can take advantage of multiple channels, pushing out some updates through the embedded connection and others through the phone. They can also offer uninterrupted and seamless updates since our solution can dynamically switch between multiple connectivity options.”

An additional strength of the joint solution rests in its big data capabilities. Abalta’s SmartLink contains a secure channel for phone to car data; combining this with the Movimento in-vehicle client and server-side components supports big data management of captured diagnostic data. Explains Hoffman: “With the secure channel to the car, we can push updates to solve immediate problems, and pull data to understand and improve the vehicle experience.”

Abalta SmartLink supports phone to car connectivity through WiFi, USB and Bluetooth, and works on all iOS and Android phones. Another key feature of the platform is its efficient use of the Bluetooth connection – up to 10 times faster than a standard implementation. This supports map updates over Bluetooth, something that has been considered impractical to date.

According to O’Shea, consumers can expect to do in-vehicle OTA updates from their smartphones as early as 2017.