Why over air updates for your BMW won't be coming soon

by Bernie McGroarty on March 12, 2014, 9:17 am

With cars being packed with more and more technology these days, problems with the software based recalls are becoming a big issue. At this point, when these software issues arise, customers are required to bring their vehicles in to dealers to have software updated to resolve problem. Automakers are working toward updating software remotely, to make the process easier and to reduce the repair costs they incur. These wireless updates do come with problems of their own though, causing the move forward to be slow one.

Many vehicles today utilize wireless connections for communication and infotainment features, and there are automakers that use wireless connections at the factory to add software to vehicles. Tesla actually already does these over the air updates to their customers vehicles now. So, technically the ability to do remote updates is there, and these remote updates could save automakers a lot of money. Why the slow move then? As with anything related to software and wireless, there are always worries about security. Hackers can find there way in to almost anything and if they get into the vehicle systems, safety issues could result. Then there are the dealers. They get quite a bit of revenue from service jobs, and if software updates can be done without a vehicle being taken to them, that's business lost for the dealers. However, this is not the case with Tesla, since they don't have independent dealers to worry about. Having customers come to the dealership is also known to help sell more cars.

While these issues are making the change to remote updates a slow one, sooner or later there will be a shift. Systems can be made secure and dealers will always have work that isn't software related. For now though, your BMW will still have to be taken to the dealer.

What are your thoughts on remote software updated for your vehicle? I know every time my phone does an auto-update, I end up with more problems.

Source MIT Technology Review

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5 responses to Why over air updates for your BMW won't be coming soon

rmjames007 commented:
March 13, 2014, 2:47 pm

I hate firmware updates that you have to pay for.
CitizenOfDreams commented:
March 13, 2014, 3:11 pm

Originally Posted by rmjames007 View Post
I hate firmware updates that you have to pay for.
As bad as they are, they are still better than "free" updates silently installed while you sleep.
dpritchett commented:
March 14, 2014, 4:44 pm

I would be happy just to have the clock update the time automatically like my cell phone does.
rmjames007 commented:
March 16, 2014, 10:05 am

I kinda don't understand that one. It's got GPS or Sat radio why not time synch from those sources?

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BMWFatherFigure commented:
March 17, 2014, 11:38 pm

Having older cars there are loads of updates I would like - free or not.
I have yet to see reliable non dealer updates. Maybe I should learn.