You know how you receive notifications that an update is ready for your mobile phone’s operating system? Today, some cars have the same capability — receiving feature updates over the air (OTA) — and eSIM orchestration enables OTA updates in vehicles.
Over-the-Air (OTA) Updates for Vehicles
Cars typically have multiple computer modules like the engine control module (ECM), powertrain control module (PCM), and transmission control module (TCM). All these things control many facets of a car’s operation and enable the features and conveniences that car owners enjoy and expect from their vehicles.
Like other software, however, the modules onboard automobiles can become out-of-date. When this happened in the past, vehicle owners needed to go back to their car dealer to get a computer program update. However, when this happens today, a dealer visit may no longer be required.
Some modern cars have OTA capabilities. These cars can receive computer module patches and configuration and service updates over the air through cellular networks.
Two Types of OTA Automotive Updates
There are two types of OTA updates: feature updates and critical electronic control unit updates.
Car feature updates
Includes patches and configuration updates to maps, Bluetooth, user interfaces, music streaming apps, and global positioning systems. A constantly updated telemetric system is one of the ways third-party logistics or 3PL companies can improve their business, providing robust asset tracking and monitoring capabilities.
Electronic control unit (ECU) updates (Pertain to driving-critical behaviours)
They affect things like powertrain response, steering, and gear shifting, among others.
Car manufacturers commonly provide OTA updates for non-mission critical features. However, a few manufacturers (e.g., Tesla) deliver ECU updates over the air.
The Benefits of OTA Automotive Updates
Once OTA updates become standard among vehicles for both feature and ECU updates, the automotive industry (car manufacturers and owners both) can fully realise the benefits of OTA updates. The following are some of these benefits:
- Lower Service Recall Incidence Rates
In 2021, Hyundai recalled 82,000 electric cars at an average per-vehicle cost of $11,000. Of course, such a high cost per recalled vehicle is rare. Recalls typically cost $500 per vehicle. Nonetheless, whether the price is $500 or $11,000 per car, the fact remains that recalls are expensive.
Car manufacturers can mitigate recall costs through OTA automotive updates. When they discover vulnerabilities in their computer modules, they can resolve them through patches sent over cellular networks instead of physically recalling and transporting units back to their shop floors.
- Superior After-Sales Service
OTA automotive updates can help manufacturers ensure their vehicles have the latest features. This will help slow down depreciation and deliver a stellar customer experience.
- Additional Revenue
OTA updates can help car manufacturers activate an additional revenue stream. Someone can buy a car with basic features and then, through OTA updates, obtain feature upgrades. Car manufacturers can charge for such upgrades.
- Better Safety and Security Compliance
Viruses and malware are ever-evolving. As new vulnerabilities are discovered, computer systems onboard vehicles must be kept current to ensure they can withstand these risks. Through OTA updates, car manufacturers can easily send security patches over cellular networks.
- Time and Cost Savings
Car owners don’t need to queue up in dealerships for updates, while car dealers won’t have to spend resources (time and money) to accommodate them.
eSIM Orchestration and Its Role in Automotive OTA Updates
For the automotive industry to fully benefit from and implement OTA updates, two things are required: platform standards and a robust wireless connectivity structure. eSIM orchestration can provide both of these things.
The eSIM onboard vehicles allow them to seamlessly connect to cellular networks wherever they are. Meanwhile, eSIM management platforms like Workz’s Multi-tenant eSIM Hub (MeSH) that integrate multiple vendors, platforms, and channels in one interface allow telecommunications companies to make eSIM services universally available to consumer, machine-to-machine, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
Ensures Network Access
Cellular network access is foundational to OTA updates. eSIM provides this necessary network connection. eSIM orchestration ascertains that the car remains connected to the best mobile network based on location, coverage, service quality, and cost considerations.
Guarantees Secure Delivery
eSIM orchestration platforms meticulously manage, update and monitor the security credentials of connecting devices. They play a critical role in minimising the risk of potential cyberattacks that could jeopardise the delivery and installation of software updates.
Effectively Manages Subscriptions
eSIM orchestration platforms provide telecommunication companies with a way to manage eSIM subscriptions. By facilitating network provider changes or profile updates, eSIM management servers ensure connected vehicles have the requisite data services essential for downloading and installing OTA updates.
Ensures Global Connectivity
eSIM, unlike physical SIM cards, does not lock a subscriber to a network. Remote provisioning means car manufacturers can put an eSIM on vehicles and allow them to connect to a convenient network in any location. Car manufacturers can ship their vehicles anywhere in the world, and these cars will receive the manufacturers’ OTA updates wherever they are.
eSIM orchestration platforms enable telcos to provide eSIM connectivity to vehicles on the fly and support modern cars’ ability to connect to any network, wherever they may be.
eSIM: A New Era of Connectivity for the Automotive Industry
OTA updates are the future for the automotive industry, and eSIM orchestration services enable them. Through eSIM orchestration providers, telecommunication companies can provide eSIM connectivity services to automobiles, allowing them to receive software updates and upgrades over the air.