A sunny day in OTA is pretty straight forward, however, when it rains, it pours. Automotive OEMs take extra precaution and care to ensure that their updates are “rain proof” by staying ahead of potential cyber security threats, mitigating re-updates of already updated vehicles and other harmful scenarios. However, the most rain proof OTA solution is one that has faced the rain and test of time.
Isn’t Over-the-Air software update easy? I mean, really… what does it take? All you need is some place on the cloud you can load your new software version on, right? Then you need a piece of software on your phone, or on your connected car, or on any other connected device… and off you go, right? Right?
Well… yes, right… assuming that the “Sun Always Shine” on your OTA, as the famous 80’s song by Norwegian pop rock music band A-ha. When the sun shines, everything is possible, everything works flawlessly.
A sunny day scenario in over-the-air update technology is indeed pretty straight forward. After all, how complicated can a download of a file from a server can be? And indeed, over the last few years the Smartphone market is witnessing a wave of “sunny day” OTA solutions, causing the upgrade experience to be really bad. How many of you have tried to upgrade the operating system on their smartphone causing it to simply stop working? How many of you tried downloading an update package, and then waited tens of precious minutes in which you couldn’t do anything? Well, I know many, including myself.
However, while Smartphone manufacturers can get by with a “sunny day” OTA solution, since the worst case scenario is that their customer won’t buy from them again in 3 years, Automotive OEMs simply don’t have that luxury. For Automotive OEMs the “sunny day” scenario is nothing more than a good reading materials. Automotive OEMs are used to build their cars for the “Rainy Day”, and are used to expect their suppliers to supply them with “Rain Proofed” solutions.
And the rain in OTA can come every day, and it can hit everywhere, and it can hit hard. It can come in the shape of cyber security attacks in each and every step of the way, at the point of generating the new version, through loading the update package to the cloud, to downloading it over the cellular network to installing it in the vehicle. It can come in the shape of slow network, causing a large update files to take ages to download, and potentially even not to ever be downloaded. It can come in the shape of corrupted update files, from whatever reason, and with no proper roll-back mechanism. It can come in the shape of attempting an update on an already updated vehicle, since the “sunny day” solution is not aware of the correct, most up-to-date software inventory. It can come in the shape of huge cellular bills, resulted in downloading huge amount of data. And there are so many other “rainy days” scenario that I come to think that maybe there is another song that better represents the OTA technology – “It’s raining, man!”… or something like that.
Rain proofed OTA solution is one that is ready to handle a large variety of rainy scenarios… no no… let me rephrase… Rain proofed OTA solution is one that have ALREADY handled all these rainy scenarios in the past. And not only once, but millions of times. Only when implementing such “rain proofed” solution can automotive OEMs trust that they are getting what they always expected from any other supplier.