Stung by a fatal crash that has raised serious concerns about its semi-autonomous Autopilot system, Tesla plans to announce a major update for the technology in the coming weeks.
But unlike a traditional upgrade, Tesla owners won’t be required to visit one of the battery-carmaker’s showrooms. Instead, they’ll have the revised software beamed to their vehicles, much as smartphone makers like Apple use so-called over-the-air, or OTA, technology when it’s time to update their operating systems.
“Tesla is changing the game,” said Roger Ordman, the marketing director at RedBend, and Israeli subsidiary of Harman International, that has become a leader in the development of over-the-air update technology. “The need for OTA is as big as the need for advanced driver technologies.”
Wireless updates are commonplace in the computer and smartphone world. It’s the method of choice for distributing everything from anti-virus updates to the latest operating system revisions. But the technology is just beginning to be accepted by automotive manufacturers.