A Data Pipeline for Effective Automotive OTA: Five Key Aspects of the eSync System

January 11, 2018 // By Shrikant Acharya, Excelfore
Automobiles coming into the market today contain many millions of lines of software. Therefore, regular updates are unavoidable. Given the sensitivity of the automotive environment in technological as well as in societal terms, such updates must be secure. This article describes how the necessary degree of security can be achieved.

OTA (Over-The-Air) updating is attractive to carmakers as a way to update the software in a car. The traditional auto industry mechanism of warranty recalls or service advisories are expensive for carmakers and inconvenient for car owners. OTA updates can allow a carmaker to fix software problems remotely at minimal cost and time.  OTA also can be used as a mechanism for new revenues through subscription-based OTA service plans, or sale and delivery of after-market performance improvements. OTA updating can also allow carmakers to initiate the manufacturing of new models sooner, with fewer delays, as the latest software can be installed after the vehicles roll off the production line.

But to achieve these benefits, carmakers need an OTA solution that meets the particular needs of the automotive market.  Automotive OTA is more complex than OTA used for other markets like computers, set-top-boxes or smartphones.  It may start with a head unit that appears similar to a PC or smartphone. But within a car there are also dozens of other processors in the various ECUs (Electronic Control Units) and sensors, with different capabilities, running a variety of operating systems, on several different types of automotive networks.

To address the unique requirements of the automotive market, Excelfore has developed the eSync™ System, a unified system for vehicle-to-cloud networking. The eSync System provides a secure and robust solution for managing both OTA data push to, and diagnostic data pull from, any number of processors in a single vehicle.This article discusses five key aspects of the eSync System, and how these aspects address the needs of automotive OTA updating.

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